The Social Side of Minnesota Reflections
Minnesota Reflections, the public collections project of the Minnesota Digital Library, has gone 2.0 with the introduction of “the social side of Minnesota Reflections.” I love the MDL–just look at the link to my museum’s collection on the front page!–particularly as an example of how small repositories can participate in successful digital collections projects: in consortiums, collaborating for higher public access to information and for economies of scale.
The new social functionality is very simple. Each item (photograph, document, map) has a little red button that says ‘comment on this item,’ which leads to a comment form (IIRC, there’s a wiki backend). This could be useful for items with unclear stories, unidentified people, etc.
It was just rolled out, so there’s not much commenting activity yet. (I considered commenting on some of our photos, but since I wrote the descriptions myself, I don’t have much to add. ) Since there hasn’t been much commenting, I can’t tell if items will be marked as commented on, which would be useful, along with a list of most commented items. What I think would be the absolute best 2.0 tool to add to Reflections, though, is tagging. Right now you can search by keyword, but the keywords are provided by each repository, so there’s on the one hand no consistent taxonomy and on the other hand some solipsism and too-specific or too-vague keywords. Crowdsourcing the tagging could make the collection easier to navigate, and we might see some emergent stories about how the public views Minnesota history.