I gave my talk on Thursday 11th September, immediately after Nick Poole, CEO of the Collections Trust gave the opening talk of the day on “Technology and the Future: the Crystal Ball“. In his talk Nick described how the Web of the future will be a world in which organisational Web sites are likely to be little used and will have a low profile – rather organisations will make their information available in the places users visit. This may be a tool used by the individual (similar to the PLEs – Personal Learning Environments – or PREs – Personal Research Environment – which are of such interest in the educational sector) or the popular services users visit (perhaps Flickr for photographs, YouTube for videos or the popular social networks).
Following Nick’s presentation my talk described how national Music Information Centres could make use of Web 2.0 and the Social Web to support their organisational aims and to support the IAMIC member organisations, located at over 40 countries worldwide.
When I prepared my talk I had come across a number of examples of use of Web 2.0 by the national centres. The CMC (Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland) were making use of YouTube to provide easy access to video clips of interviews with contemporary composers (as illustrated) and were also making use of iTunes in a similar fashion. It was interesting to note that CMC managed the resources on their own organisational Web site in addition to providing access via popular video and music sharing sites. It was pleasing to see this approach to the management of resources complemented by use of a diversity of access mechanisms. It seems that the vision of the future which Nick described has already arrived, in some places at least.
There were, however, some instances of failures within the IAMIC community; I was told over coffee of the problems with the international IAMIC Web site (which had been unavailable for quite some time) and of attempts to provide cross-searching across the European sites which seems to have been closed down after live up to its promises.
But the conference participants did seem to be prepared to learn from such mistakes and there did appear to be a willingness to engage with new developments including the social Web. I provided an example of the potential of Twitter by posting a tweet asking for “examples of Web 2.0 music services for talk I’m about to give to IAMIC members“. Responses I received a few minutes after my post included several from Pete Johnston on “Last.fm, rateyourmusic.com“, “For sharing own works, MySpace (obv), GarageBand.com, jamendo.com, kompoz.com + prob loads more“, “Internet Archive also has lots of “2.0”-ness” and “Plus zillions of music weblogs, many sharing mp3s, aggregators like Hype Machine” together with a note that we “Mustn’t forget MusicBrainz“.
I also received several other responses within a few minutes of my initial post from several other of my Twitter followers including suggestions from marydeeo, t1mmyb, MintyVanilla, MrJ1197, georgeroberts, ianibbo, gavinmitchel and egrommet, as illustrated.
Perhaps in response to my question “what can Web 2.0 offer to the IAMIC community?” one answer might be Twitter. Rather than the perhaps time-consuming process of evaluating social networking tools, maybe a simple approach would be for a group of professionals with a similar set of interests to simple write the occasional 140 character summary about what they’re doing and ask the occassional question. This works for me, I’m pleased to say.