Earlier today I ran a half-day workshop entitled “Introduction To Blogs And Social Networks For Heritage Organisations“. This workshop was commissioned by ASVA (Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions, following a seminar I gave on “Exploiting The Potential Of Blogs And Social Networks” at the Museums and Heritage Show.

The workshop made use of a series of briefing documents which have been developed to support the cultural heritage sector. As well as the documents which have been published the workshop also provided an opportunity to receive feedback on a number of additional documents we have produced, including An Introduction to Twitter and An Introduction to Seesmic (the video micro-blogging tool).

A number of other briefing document were used in two day-long workshops which were commissioned by CyMAL to support staff working in museums, libraries and archives in Wales. These events, entitled Sharing Made Simple: A Practical Approach To Social Software, provided a broader overview of the potential of Web 2.0 in cultural heritage organisations, and also addressed barriers to the take-up of Web 2.0 and strategies for addressing such barriers.

The feedback we receive on the documents (and on the need for additional documents) is an important part of the quality assurance processes for the resources. It should also be noted that we are making these documents available under a Creative Commons licence and encourage their reuse.

This approach to use of Creative Commons for resources I’ve created over the past few years has been taken primarily in order to maximise the impact of the content of the resources. And I would encourage others to do likewise. However, as Scott Leslie has recently described in a blog post on “Planning to Share versus Just Sharing” there is a real danger of encountering “frustration with ineffective institutional collaborations“. The summary of Scott’s post exhorts readers to “grow your network by sharing, not planning to share or deciding who to share with“.

This approach reflects the views expressed by Mike Ellis and myself in a paper entitled “Web 2.0: How to Stop Thinking and Start Doing: Addressing Organisational Barriers” presented at the Museums and the Web 2007 conference. As I described in blog post back in July 2007 back then the cry was “Just do it!“. A year on, despite the economic problems we’re facing, the recent US election result seems to have resulted in a more positive approach to the world and a willingness to makes changes. So perhaps our cry should now be “Set up a blog? Use Creative Commons for our resources? Yes, we can!