As an editor of archival websites, I’m interested in the tools available for historical publishing, research and interpretation. And the advent of Web 2.0 means that such tools are proliferating and becoming easier and more fun to use. Social software is making search interfaces more intuitive and clever; it is making publishing dialogic – readers can also be writers; and it is enabling many new kinds of collaborations to occur in interpreting collections.
Last month I addressed a small group at the Australian Historical Association conference in Canberra on this topic of How Web 2.0 will change history – possible futures for websites of the National Archives of Australia (PDF 312kb). The paper was framed by this mindmap I made
(inspired by other mindmaps on Web 2.0, like the one on Wikipedia).
There are plenty of exciting things the National Archives of Australia could do with these technologies, and it is starting to happen, but the path is long, resources are limited, and in some ways a cultural shift is necessary – it does not come naturally for a cultural institution to radically trust its audience.* So the paper is a bit imagin-ary. But didn’t Einstein say that imagination is more important than knowledge?