How useful can you make a micro-collection online?

18 Oct


Badges by Ellen Munro, on Flickr

This term I’m not at Birkbeck, I’m at UEL. The MA Museum Cultures has a module-swap arrangement with UEL’s MA in Heritage Studies, and so I’m going to Cyprus every week to study the Heritage and Visual Culture module with the artist and photographer Roshini Kempadoo.

The second coursework option has a ‘creative’ path, for which I’m going to attempt to create a very small online archive of my own, of (mostly political) badges that I wore during the 1980s and 1990s. Each badge will be accompanied by two stories/narratives: one about the campaign that the badge represents; and one about why I wore it, and what I was doing at the time I wore it. I’m planning to host the images of the badges and the campaign stories on Flickr, and then embed the images together with the personal stories on a hosted blog.

Now I’m not expecting a call from Europeana or the Culture Grid anytime soon. But one of the things I’d like to use this project to explore is how useful/usable to others a micro-collection like this might be. Should I be trying to make it possible for others to search and access my tiny collection alongside other collections large and small? In my professional milieu there are lots of debates about the pros and cons of aggregation — but if I were serious about making this available for others to use in the context of cultural heritage, what should I do?

In particular, I’m thinking about:

Licensing: What’s the most useful licence to apply to both images and text? I’d like to be credited for the texts I’ve written if they’re used elsewhere.

Linked data? Does this have any application here, or is that a thing for big institutions? How would I even start?

Specialist aggregators? Is this a Community Archive?

Other repositories? I’m planning to create quite nice hi-res images of the badges. Should I also put them somewhere like the Wikimedia Commons (where they’ll be divorced from the stories I’ve attached to them)?

I’d be really interested in your thoughts and comments about this, from whatever angle they come. Thanks.


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