Fresh & New(er)

discussion of issues around digital media and museums by Seb Chan

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Attempts at quantifying social behaviour in the Commons

February 22nd, 2009 by Seb Chan

Over at the fantastic Indicommons blog there has been a flurry of activity around generating data from the various collections in the Commons on Flickr.

Patrick Peccatte initially posted on his blog a set of figures extracted using the Flickr API across the institutions in the Commons. Patrick has reworked these figures a little and they’ve been re-blogged on Indicommons.

The Powerhouse Museum figures work out like this – (as on Feb 7/8)

Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia

Launched on 7 April 2008, currently has 1,101 photos in 27 sets.
1,464 comments,for an average of 1.33 per photo. Max = 97
4,619 tags, for an average of 4.20 per photo. Max = 34
305 notes, for an average of 0.28 per photo. Max = 19
Images with no social behaviour (identified in a separate post) – 336 out of 1,101 (30%)

(source: Patrick Peccatte)

Incidentally these images have been viewed just over 600,000 times at the time Patrick generated the data – which gives some indication of the participation rate (0.2% comment/view rate).

Now as with any quantitative measures these figures have problems. For some institutions the way the Flickr API extracts and reports data has been an issue. But for us these figures are useful given the very Australian and Sydney-centric content of images we’ve been uploading.

Anecdotally we’ve seen a huge increase in viewing as our relatively geographically-specific images have been exposed more widely by Indicommons and others.

Some questions worth exploring further –

– Who is doing the commenting, tagging and note additions?
– Are the repeat viewers?
– How diverse are they? Is it a lot of people doing a little, or, a few people doing a lot?
– Do those who ‘participate’ become ‘contacts’ (do they want to stay notified of future uploads?)

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