Empowering users and their institutions: A risks and opportunities framework for exploiting the potential of the social web

Brian Kelly, Charles Oppenheim

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    Following the initial excitement generated by Web 2.0 we are now seeing Web 2.0 concepts being adopted across the cultural heritage sector. Libraries, with their responsibilities for facilitating access to information resources and engaging with their user communities, have been early adopters of Web 2.0, and the term 'Library 2.0' is now becoming accepted. Similar approaches are happening in the museums and archives sectors, with the terms 'Museum 2.0' and 'Archives 2.0' gaining currency.

    But how should we ensure that the initial enthusiasms for use of Web 2.0 services and approaches become embedded within the organisation? And are cultural heritage organisations aware of the potential risks associated with making use of externally-provided services such as Facebook, YouTube and del.icio.us, including misuse of such services, associated legal concerns as well as the dangers of making use of services for which there may be no formal contractual agreements?

    In this paper the authors argue that the cultural heritage sector needs to recognise that use of Web 2.0 providers does not necessarily provide an environment in which safe, secure and reliable delivery of services to the user community can be guaranteed. But rather than seeking to replicate successful Web 2.0 services in-house, we feel that we are in an environment in which cultural heritage organisations need to take a risk management approach to the use of networked services.

    The paper describes a framework which is being developed which aims to ensure that institutions have considered the risks associated with use of Web 2.0 technologies and services and have identified strategies for dealing with potential risks in order to achieve the goal of balancing the risks and benefits in order to maximise the dividends to be gained by use of Web 2.0.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalUKOLN Web site
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2009


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