The next UCS heritage seminar will be on Thursday 27th (note the change of day for this event!). Lorna Richardson, researcher at University College London, will be presenting: Public Archaeology and the internet – the impact of social networking technologies on communicating heritage
Summary: This paper will examine the impact of Internet technologies on the practice of public archaeology, within professional archaeological communities working in commercial archaeology, higher education, local authority planning departments and community settings, as well the voluntary archaeology sector in the UK. To explore this issue, the paper will briefly examine the role and activities of archaeological organisations using Internet platforms for public engagement; audiences, participation and communities in online archaeology, and the impact of digital inequalities on the audience for archaeological information. It will discuss relationships within archaeological social networks that are theoretically linked with social capital and weak ties, and uses the social media platform of Twitter as a testing ground, as well as the online public archaeology blogging project, the Day of Archaeology .
The talk will be held in the Waterfront Building, UCS Ipswich, at 4.30pm. Please email Julie Barber if you’d like to come along: email@example.com
I had to reflect on audience. One of the things that I gained from my Swansea undergraduate and postgraduate students was that however good the technology was, if they could not see the value, then they would not be keen to use it. So we need to be pragmatic about how we use technology. My Swansea postgraduate students on my “Digital Antiquity” module made me realise that we have to anticipate changes in the technology. We need to learn how to evaluate and to apply to our research and our projects.
Mobile computing has changed. How many people at the conference would have had an iPad (or smartphone) a year (or two) ago? How did the virtual interactions enhance the papers? Did those tweets lead to (unexpected) face to face interactions? For example, I had a helpful discussion about authority and reliability of Twitter. Do we expect Twitter to be “reliable” – or does it point us to reliable Web 2.0 sites?
Open Access was a major theme with a very positive presentation from Ubiquity Press who publish Papers from the Institute of Archaeology. Will future REF exercises insist on Open Access? There was related discussion about IPR, not least over the publication of e-offprints on personal websites.
There were great insights into the use of social media, in particular Facebook, to engage with archaeological projects. Those interested in crowdsourcing and crowdfunding should look at the DigVentures project at Flag Fen.
On a final note I was struck with the inspirational quality of the “Adopt-a-Monument” scheme from Archaeology Scotland. It brought the best of Web 2.0 and community archaeology together.
Are archaeologists creating digital environments and engaging with new audiences? The workshop clearly showed that they are.