Monthly Archives: May 2015

LibraryLabs Pop Up at Central

MG games1Following on from the success of our Pop Up Library Metadata Games sessions during Innovative Learning Week, this week we took Metadata Games to the City of Edinburgh Council’s Central Library, the first time the game has been taken off campus since its initial pilot back in August. We battled through the inclement weather and set up stall in the library’s ground floor foyer area then, poised with laptops and lollypops, set about recruiting people to take part in our tagging game.

We were keen to spread awareness of our work – and the university’s collections – beyond the confines of campus and we were also interested in to see if there was any noticeable difference between the sorts of tags that members of the public contributed in comparison to those provided by students, academics and staff (that analysis is yet to be done!). Over the course of the two hour session, 15 players provided us with 776 tags (more than 50 per person) – an impressive total considering there was no free coffee on offer for participants on this occasion!

MG games2

These tags will now be moderated and then uploaded to our image database, ultimately helping to make our collections more discoverable online. You can see an example of how the tags we have harvested from the game have directly contributed to the improved description of one of our iconic items, Rashid al-Din’s History of the World ( The crowdsourced tags ‘horses’ and ‘knights’, which were harvested from the game, complement the existing formal descriptive metadata showing author, date shelfmark etc.

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We enjoyed taking the game on tour: many thanks to Bronwen Brown, Fiona Myles and all the staff at Central Library for all their help with the event, and to all players who contributed their time to help us improve the description of our images.

Keep on playing at (EASE login required)!

Gavin, Claire, Charlie and Paul

‘Innovation’: the Emperor’s new clothes?

Scott and I travelled down to Cambridge last week to speak at the Museum Computer Group’s Spring Meeting, ‘Innovation’: the Emperor’s new clothes? It was a very informative day that began with Peter Pavement, SurfaceImpression, giving us a history of digital innovation in museums. Including the first audio guides and the Senster, which was the first robotic sculpture to be controlled by a computer.

First Museum Audio Guides from Loic Tallon Flickr

First Museum Audio Guides

Peter discussing the Hype Cycle, where would you place new technological innovations?

The Hype Cycle

Sejul Malde, Culture 24, followed on from Peter. He discussed using existing assets and content, as well as small ‘process focused’ innovation rather than innovation through giant leaps. His emphasis on creating a rhythm for change made me reflect on how short sprints enabled us to get Collections.ed online. (Looking at our Github commit history highlights sprint deadlines.)

Scott and I then discussed the work we have being doing at Edinburgh to get our collections online through Collections.ed, which has been an iterative process starting off with four online collections launched May 2014, we now have eight collections online following the recent launch of our Iconics collection. We have also recently made a first import into Collections.ed of  776 unique crowdsourced tags we have obtained through Library Labs Metadata Games and those entered into Tiltfactor‘s metadata games.

The tags can been seen online in these two examples:
Charles Darwin’s Class Card
Bond M., White House in Warm Perthshire Valley

The slides from our presentation are available on ERA and have a film theme running through them.

The new Iconics home page (I think it is my favourite so far):


In the afternoon Lizzie Edwards, Samsung Digital Discovery Centre, British Museum, lead a practical session where we had to think about how we could use new technologies in Museums. Jessica Suess, Oxford University Museums, spoke about their ‘Innovation Fund’ programme and how it had led to new ways of working and new collaborations with colleagues. She mentioned one project using Ipads as Art Sketchbooks which was also showcased in a lightning talk.

Lightning talks and a Q&A session with HLF and Nesta finished off the day, you can find out more from Liz Hide’s storify of the day:

Claire Knowles and Scott Renton, Library Digital Development Team