Collection databases Young people & museums

Light reading – two totally different audiences: researchers and young people

Two interesting pieces of reading for those of you who have to spend time on public transport.

First from the Research Information Network in the UK comes a report that looks at the need of academic researchers in discovering the content of museum collections using online databases. Not surprisingly “their most important wish is that online access to museum databases to be provided as quickly as possible, even if the records are imperfect or incomplete”. Read the report.

Second, and covering a totally different audience, is the long awaited report from the Macarthur Foundation on Digital Youth. This was a major piece of research involving a lot of different research teams and the final report is really quite excellent. If you are time poor then skip straight to the summary white paper (PDF).

Otherwise take the time and read the full report. I’d direct F&N readers immediately to the chapter entitled Media Ecologies. This chapter is particularly important because it reminds us that even the same young person can use different digital media in widely differing ways, and with different proficiencies. This chapter proposes that there is a distinct difference between use of digital media that are friendship-based versus those that are interest-based (in the minority). Often in the cultural sector we conflate these two groups or expect that the friendship-based users are actually interested in our interest-based content.