Lori Byrd Phillips is the Digital Marketing Coordinator and Wikipedian-in-Residence at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. She is also highly involved in the GLAM-Wiki initiative, an international group of Wikipedians who assist cultural institutions in collaborating with Wikipedia in order to share multimedia content and cultural expertise.
Lori talked with us about open authority, Wikipedia and the benefits of openness.
In her thesis The Temple and the Bazaar: Wikipedia as a Platform for Open Authority in Museums, she proposes the working model of Open Authority and defines it as the coming together of curatorial expertise with contributions from broad audiences. It provides the opportunity for the institution to contribute information they possess to an open dialogue on the Web, and be an active participant and not on the sidelines, while at the same time validating and clarifying user generated content. Millennials are used to sharing everything online, therefore to establish a dialogue with them it would be counterproductive to hide or not share information; they have a better understanding of what can be done with shared information. We also discuss how the Rijksstudio at the Rijksmuseum is a great example of the Open Authority model where the museum shares its collection with the audience and invites them to let others know how they are using the information. This way they establish a dialogue between the public and the institution, where the temple then becomes a bazaar for all.
The GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) Wiki is an opportunity for cultural institutions to share their resources with a larger community through a collaborative effort with Wikipedians. Through structured projects that draw from the museum’s knowledge and resources, together with Wikipedians, museums can reach a wider audience and have an active voice in the content available through the Web.
QRpedia is an example of how The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in adopting the Open Authority model and taking it a step further. Through a Quick Response code, gallery visitors can access an extended article in Wikipedia about the object on display in the language of their mobile device. When there is a limited word count the institution has to adhere to, QRpedia codes are an excellent tool to provide added content to an exhibition and also have that information available to a wider audience through Wikipedia.
What is the next big thing?
QRcodes are only one way museums are connecting with the visitors. Lori let us in on the upcoming trends for museum technology and visitor engagement: augmented reality and location-based apps. What other technology would like to see used in the future?
As Lori said when discussing the Open Authority model and the engagement dynamics it creates between the museum and the public: “It’s not that the museum is always right or that the crowd is always right, it’s that we can make it even better together.”