Return to ECHO Homepage
Below The Surface

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

WebWise 2009, or, What I did on my spring vacation.

I awoke this morning to one of those sure signs I was in Vermont - visible breath in my bedroom. It was hard not to miss that lovely 60 degree spring-like weather of Washington DC, just under a week ago. Perhaps this would be a good time to introduce myself. Hi, I'm Travis Cook, Information Technology Coordinator here at ECHO. I'm the T in our tasty BLT team. That's me in the tomatoish red. Bacon, err, Bridget is the one in the green, ruining the acronym metaphor. My role on our team is to coordinate all of the fun technical aspects of this project, identifiable by their use of other acronyms, like API or PHP.

So, you might be wondering, why did Mr. Tomato go to Washington? You might also be wondering what exactly is going on in the picture up above. I'll let you figure out that second one on your own, but if you need a hint, think "3 second self-timer." The first question is what I'm actually here to write about. Besides the nice weather, we went to Washington DC to participate and demonstrate our Voices for the Lake project at the IMLS Conference, WebWise 2009: Digital Debates.

While I'll let Bridget get to the real, umm, "meat" of the debates, I wanted to drop in and offer my perspective as well, and try and lay down a bit of a roadmap for some upcoming posts. It was nice meeting a number of you in the Museum and Library fields. The next time Bridget sends me a link to the latest blog posting on Museum 2.0 (Who is already talking about one of the interesting things we both observed - the use of the technology-facilitated backchannel), I've got a face to put with it. I also enjoyed Michael R. Nelson's Keynote Speech, The Cloud, the Crowd, and the 3-D Internet - Implications for Cultural Organizations, and left wondering how we should balance the use of the cloud - YouTube - vs. storing our videos on traditional servers here at ECHO. Look for a post on that at somepoint in the future.

Touring the project demonstrations, it didn't take long to pick up on one phrase making a repeated appearance - "Google Maps". I'm not just talking about what Bridget was saying, either. Everywhere I went, someone was finding a new use for the API or even the interface, ranging from the Civil Rights Digital Library - who have tied it into the search results to give a graphic sense of where events occure - to Developing Advanced Technologies for the Imaging of Cultural Heritage Objects - which allows you to navigate historical objects and artifacts in 3D, using an interface very similar to Google Earth.

When we were presenting, I had a number of people interested in how we were able to use our Kiosk to automatically upload videos to YouTube. I've taken note, and will be devoting a whole post to that soon, so if that interests you, keep an eye out for it. If you watched our demonstration and didn't have a chance to get your question in, by all means, embrace that backchannel again and drop us a comment or email!

Finally, while in DC, we got a tip that the Newseum - located just blocks away from our hotel - had something we should check out. While it's temping to think they might have meant the section of the Berlin Wall, the awesome view of the city from the 6th floor balcony, or the emotionally moving wall of front-page headlines from around the world following 9/11... what they really thought we should see was located on the 2nd floor, in the center of a fogged glass room. Check back later this week to find out what it is!

~ Travis Cook, Information Technology Coordinator

No comments: