Two unrelated posts I've liked recently, on Navigators, Explorers, and Engaged Participants as user models; and going back to basics for digital museum content:

We don't need new technologies to attract teen audiences, we need, if anything, to revisit how we (and others) interpret our collections and ideas and then decide what new technologies can best convey the information

In a post titled, What is Web 3.0?, Nicholas Carr said:

"Web 3.0 involves the disintegration of digital data and software into modular components that, through the use of simple tools, can be reintegrated into new applications or functions on the fly by either machines or people."

And recently I went to a London Geek Girl Dinner, where Paul Amery from Skype (who hosted the event) said
"the next big step forward in software is going to be providing the plumbing, to provide people what they want, where they want …start thinking about plumbing all this software together, joining solutions together… mashups are just the tip of the iceberg".

So why does that matter to us in the cultural heritage sector? Without stretching the analogy too far, we have two possible roles – one, to provide the content that flows through the pipes, ensuring we use plumbing-compatible tubes so that other people can plumb our content into new applications; the second is to build applications ourselves, using our data and others. I think we're are brilliant content producers, and we're getting better at providing re-usable data sources – but we often don't have the resources to do cool things with them ourselves.

Maybe what I'm advocating is giving geeks in the cultural heritage sector the time to spend playing with technology and supplying the tools for agile development. Or maybe it's just the perennial cry of the backend geek who never gets to play with the shiny pretty things. I'm still thinking about this one.

File under 'fabulous resources that I doubt I'll ever get time to read properly': the Journal of Universal Computer Science, D-Lib Magazine ('digital library research and development, including but not limited to new technologies, applications, and contextual social and economic issues') and transcripts from the Research Library in the 21st Century symposium.

On the other hand, Introduction to Abject-Oriented Programming is a very quick read, and laugh-out-loud funny (if you're a tragic geek like me).

Interesting BBC article on the philosophy behind Craig's List:

"Initially it was mostly coming in via email which we would reply to, but we've grown so much that now the more common thing is you set up a series of discussion forums in which users bring up various things that they think are important to change or modify in some way.

Users talk amongst themselves about things we're doing poorly or could be doing better, and then we're able to observe that interaction. It proves to be a very kind of efficient and interesting and useful way, nowadays, of digesting that feedback.

The other important aspect that you might not imagine initially is that all of the feedback is coming in as 'voting with their feet'. We just watch how people are using particular categories.

If we see that, 'oh users want to do this and we're not currently enabling this', then we try to code up some changes to better enable them to do whatever that is."