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					   http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/conferences/mw-2008/


What Does Openness Mean To
 The Museum Community?
Brian Kelly                     Mike Ellis
UKOLN                           Eduserv
University of Bath
                                Bath, UK
Bath, UK
                                Mike.Ellis@eduserv.org.uk
B.Kelly@ukoln.ac.uk

Co-Author: Ross Gardler, JISC OSS Watch, University of Oxford
                Resources bookmarked using ‘mw2008' tag

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                                  (but note caveat)
BK

     Introduction   About The Facilitators
                    Brian Kelly:
                        • UK Web Focus – a national Web advisory post
                        • Based at UKOLN, a national centre of expertise
                          in digital information management, located at
                          University of Bath, UK
                        • Advisor to HE and cultural heritage sectors
                    Mike Ellis:
                       • Head of Web for the National Museum of Science and
                         Industry for 7 years
                       • Now working at Eduserv, Bath
                       • Interests include user generated content, Web 2.0,
                         ubiquitous computing and innovation and how to
                         exploit these to gain maximum benefit
                         for cultural institutions

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BK

     Introduction   About This Professional Forum
                    Openness:
                       • A positive term
                       • Covers open standards, open source, open
                         content, open services and open culture
                    But:
                       • What are the limitations of openness?
                       • To what extent do we wish to embrace the
                         concept of openness?
                       • How do we respond if we feel that openness
                         concepts may (a) be flawed (b) endanger our
                         business models or
                         (c) not be sustainable?

 3
BK

     Introduction   About You
                    What responsibilities do you have?

                    Why have you chosen to attend this
                    professional forum?

                    What do you hope to get out of the session?




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BK

     Benefits Of Openness   Benefits Of Open Standards
                            Open standards can:
                               • Provide device- and application-independence
                               • Avoid vendor lock-in
                               • Provide an open marketplace for development
                               • Maximise access to resources
                               • Enhance interoperability
                               • Provide architectural integrity
                               • Provide long-term access to resources
                            Benefits are widely accepted by the development
                            community:
                               • Mandation of open standards in procurement
                               • Lists of recommended open standards
                                 for digital library development
                                 programmes
 5
BK

     Benefits Of Openness   Benefits Of Open Source
                            Open source software can:
                              • Provide freedom to use, modify and redistribute
                                software
                              • Encourage competition which can increase the
                                quality, satisfaction and flexibility of software
                              • Help to ensure that software remains valuable to
                                an organisation regardless of changing strategic
                                objectives of any single software development
                                organisation
                              • Ensure there is no incentive to attempt to lock-in
                                a customer by using proprietary extensions to file
                                formats or data standards


 6
ME

     Benefits Of Openness   Benefits Of Open APIs
                            Open APIs...
                              • ..are systems which allow free sharing of data,
                                programmatically
                              • Typically have open standards at their core, or
                                at least an open framework
                              • Examples include RSS, REST, SOAP, OAI-PMH,
                                for data sharing
                              • Usually have XML or JSON as interchange
                                format




 7
ME

     Benefits Of Openness   Benefits Of Open APIs
                            Why is this good?
                             • Fundamental to the web now is user-centricity.
                                RSS etc. allow users to get what they want and
                                how they want it
                             • Shared data inspires creativity: “we is better than
                                me” – see the Frankie & Seb show...
                             • It frees us (and others) to use tools like the MIT
                                timeline, Yahoo Maps, Google charts, etc –
                                usually for no or low cost.
                             • Additional benefits like mobile version are “easy”
                             • The more data the better!
                             • Also – if we don’t do it, services like Google
                                images, Dapper etc will do it for us!
 8
ME

     Benefits Of Openness   Benefits Of Open Content
                            Open Content:
                              • Is content which can “got at” and shared
                              • A hidden API or RSS feed isn’t “open”..
                              • Word/PDF/Fax/email (etc.) isn’t “open”
                              • Is often associated with CC licences
                              • ...which means it is usually free
                              • As per Open APIs, if you provide access
                                then you can see blossoming creativity
                              • Throws up issues around income...


 9
ME

     Benefits Of Openness   Benefits Of Open Content
                            Open Content:




                                 ...is   reusable content.




10
ME

     Benefits Of Openness   Benefits Of An Open Culture
                             • Openness is a core component of web 2.0
                             • If we can’t use the web to connect with our
                               users, then why use the web at all...?
                             • Web 2.0 (actually, the web) is becoming
                               more and more about people and
                               relationships
                             • A lot of what we’ve talked about this week is
                               about or around Open Culture!
                             • e.g. “Web 2.0: where do we go from here?”



11
BK

     Limitations Of Openness   Problems With Open Culture
                               Problems with user generated content:
                                  • Not all users are nice!
                                  • Users may prefer to listen to voice of
                                    authority
                                  • Automated spam is an increasing
                                    annoyance (email, blog comments, …)
                                  • Discussion often degenerates into flam
                                    wars
                                  • May be legal implications
                                  • It’s expensive to monitor
                               Open culture – great in theory;
                               flawed in practice 
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BK

     Limitations Of Openness   Problems With Open APIs
                               Problems with making use of 3rd party APIs
                               and services:
                                  • They don’t do this for our benefit, but to
                                    make money
                                  • The long-term business models are
                                    unproven
                                  • They can change their T&C at any time
                                  • They can withdraw services cf Amazon
                                    withdrawing their SOAP interface




13
BK

     Limitations Of Openness   Problems With Open Standards
                               Open standards:
                                 • Can be too complex
                                 • Can be difficult to implement
                                 • May fail to be accepted in the market
                                   place
                                 • Take long time to reach agreement
                                 • What is an open standard: PDF, RSS or
                                   MS Word?
                                 • We can seek to deploy too soon, before
                                   limitations, costs, etc. are understood
                                   (RDF?)
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BK

     Limitations Of Openness   Problems With Open Source
                               Open source software:
                                 • Has been over-hyped
                                 • Didn’t bring long the demise of western
                                   capitalism!
                                 • May be issues related to:
                                    • documentation   • support
                                    • SLA             • sustainability
                                 • Source Forge as a dumping ground for
                                   failed Open Source projects
                               The discussion now is more about
                               sustainability & fitness for purpose,
15                             whether OSS or proprietary
BK

      Addressing The Limitations   Contextual Approach
                                         Contextual approach to open
                                         standards:
                                          • Developed to support
                                            JISC’s development
                                            programmes
                                          • Described at MW 2007
                                          • Based on annotated
                                            descriptions: ownership,
                                            purpose, maturity, risks, …
                                          • Decisions on policies and
                                            compliance delegated to
     See “Addressing The Limitations Of     appropriate level
     Open Standards” and “Openness in     • Extended to include
     Higher Education: Open Source, Open    policies on open source
     Standards, Open Access”                software
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BK

     Limitations Of Openness   Problems With Open Content
                               Problems with allowing others to reuse content:
                                   • Undermines one’s business
                                   • Duplication of popular services but
                                     neglecting of minority interests
                                   • This isn’t liberal; it’s privatisation (similar to
                                     deregulation of public services)
                                   • The content owners are likely to be
                                     unhappy
                                   • Why should Facebook, MySpace, … make
                                     money from our content?
                               Open content – like socialism great
                               in theory; doesn’t work in practice!
17
ME

     Benefits Of Openness   Open Content - Think About:
                             • Scarcity vs Scale...which for us?
                             • The Long Tail and the Niche
                             • How do we address notions of intention?
                               Answer: we can’t!
                             • Power of marketing vs power of
                               commerce without marketing
                             • Pirate Coelho. It worked for him!
                             • Freemium, try before you buy?




18
     Any Conclusions...?




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