Thursday, April 9, 2009

More about Deki

Since my last post you may be asking yourself, "Why this Deki tool, and what does it have to do with me and museums?" I'm glad you asked. I have recently been exploring the connection between Web 2.0 technology and museums (especially natural history museums, of course) and have discovered a whole area dedicated to this topic. (Check out Nina Simon's excellent blog "Museum 2.0".) Many museums, especially natural history museums, are currently trying to transition from the old way of doing things, to a new, more technological, collaborative, and open way of doing business. From working in a natural history museum I frequently witness firsthand the need for more integration of new technologies, as well as the difficulties involved with getting staff and partners to learn and use new technology. Many museum projects involve dozens of people across the country, around the world, and in several different companies. These projects--and even the smaller scale projects and communications that occur every day--require a better way to collaborate. This is where a high function, customizable, and easy to use wiki like Deki comes into the picture. As I began exploring Deki, I felt a thrill of excitement imagining what it would be like if everyone at my museum used Deki, rather than the endless stream of emails. Deki, if it was instituted throughout the museum and used with partners, could really change the way we operate.

Another use I see for Deki is amongst us bloggers and collectors, all of us who are interested in this topic of natural history and its museums, as well as those of us who want to share our collections with each other. With Deki we could compile our information and images and collaborate on various research and projects. Deki has so many features and so much potential, it's hard to think of anything it couldn't do when it comes to online collaboration.

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