Are you a user?

I’m doing a little study into high quality, but non-academic, and non-institutional web resources. The type of “virtual museums” or online communities created by enthusiasts, producing varied and exhaustive documentation of ephemera. How and why are these created? How do they link to existing institutional resources? and does anyone use – or will admit to using – resources created by amateur enthusiasts in academic research?

There is a wide community that glance at this blog, so if you fancy pausing for a minute do drop me a line with your opinions (m.terras AT, or post your comments below. Any comments made will be anonymised if/when I write this up properly (it depends on what I find out – this is very much preliminary research at the moment).

I really is a fascinating area – more and more virtual communities are emerging that are using platforms such as flickr to host their “virtual archives”, producing exhaustive documentation about topics hitherto ignored by many memory institutions. But I could rant on for ages… here are some questions to think about, if you have a minute. Thanks!

Part A. About you and your research
1. Can you describe your area of academic interest?
2. At what stage of your academic career are you? (student, postgraduate student, research assistant, lecturer, professor, etc)
3. Do you commonly use digital resources (of any nature) in your research? If so, can you provide a few examples of commonly consulted resources?
4. Do you use social networking and Web 2.0 resources, such as Flickr or Wikipedia, outside of your academic work?

Part B. Non-Institutional Digital Resources

5. Have you ever used amateur or non-institutional digital resources to aid you in your research? (This may include wikis, blogs, online collections, virtual museums, Flickr groups, etc).
6. Can you think of any examples where consulting such material has provided information you could not find elsewhere? Or been more efficient than looking for the research in a traditional “memory institution”?
7. Would you trust digital resources that do not come with the imprimatur of an established institution? What are your reactions to such resources?

Part C. Any Further Comments?

8. Is there anything else you would like to add regarding your attitude, views, impressions, concerns, use, interest (or disinterest) in digital resources created by amateurs and enthusiasts?

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