Magic Sauce for the Future: Community, Collection, Collaboration #InternetLibrarian

Jeanne Holm, Senior Tech Advisor to Mayor of Los Angeles

220 languages spoken in the city. They’re hiring (age bubble: baby boomers retiring?)
A smart city uses tech to connect its citizens.
Efficient, effective, safe, equitable, resilient, innovative.
Los Angeles open data. Call 311 to get something fixed or a question answered. Publish that data in a knowledge base.

Open data site:

Citizen ideas, twice weekly citizen hacking nights using the open data.

Dara science federation: 14 colleges and universities. Students, some of whom get jobs.

Homeless: Every night 30,000 homeless. Many more “housing insecure.”

Sustainability: environment, economy, equity. Using behavioral data to reduce air pollution.

Earthquake early warning system. Has API and can connect to fire depts., hospitals, ports, etc.

Internet access: Big wifi signals near libraries, free wifi on Skid Row. Map of broadband: better in north and west, less in South Central. Public-private partnerships. Libraries check out computers and wifi hotspots. People with internet access at home find a job seven weeks faster and make $5K more.

First day of kindergarten, kids get a library card.

Also at libraries: hackathons, makerspaces.

Cross-departmental open data projects, Internet of Things (sensors). Temperature data to provide cooling centers. Gunshot detectors. Air quality to figure out where to plant trees.

Citizen science: people can use their smartphones to participate and provide data.

Federal crowdsourcing:

Tweeting to help locate earthquakes. Kids can count butterflies.

Holm teaches kids in poor communities, some of them homeless. She has them come up with ideas to improve their communities and subtly teaches them data science. They have to map things, do demographics, project plans, budgeting. Five days of class time.

Did an anti-corruption project for the World Bank in Africa. People in Uganda can use NASA satellite data to find water. Also use data to detect banana blight. Pay at market using cellphones (safer).

Releasing data and information is about empowering people to make better decisions.


Keynote: Radical Transformation and Co-Created Magic at a Museum #internetlibrarian #il2014

Keynote: Nina Simon, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History

Feels museums are behind libraries and zoos in connecting with people. Museums seem to think “we know what the good stuff is, let us give it to you.”

More people knew that the museum used to be the county jail than knew what it was currently.

Also, no money.

Web 2.0 is software that gets better the more people participate. — Tim O’Reilly. How can museums do that?

Art and history are something you do, not just something you learn about.

Comment board. Asked people to contribute “memory jars.” Exhibit of “People see me as … but really I am …”

“Social bridging.” People criticize participation as the narcissism of the “selfie generation.” But it’s about building social capital with people who aren’t like you (“bridging” in the term of Robert Putnam). Not trying to be hip or have a target audience. Put together the knitter and the graffiti artist. Don’t have family day anymore, because they want all kinds of people and ages to come in.

Experimentation: “Glow,” two-night festival of fire and light. “Fire artists” only get to do their thing at Burning Man.

Idea that things have to be perfect before it goes on display. They believe in prototyping, the “minimally viable product.”

1. Revolution is not an exercise in concentric circles. Sometimes change is about shifting. You may get a bigger circle (i.e., more visitors, fans), but lose some of the people in the smaller circle (i.e., the former group of users).

Pop-up museums in other places.

The museum is for everyone. There should be something for everyone, but that does not mean you will like everything there.

2. Invite meaningful action at all levels.

They include a wish list in e-mails (e.g., we need cardboard boxes or CDs).

People like to help. Simon was putting dollar bills in her library books. She didn’t know what the friends of the library group did.

3. Be rigorous.

Think about communities they want to reach and ask what are their assets and needs, then develop a project and look for collaborators.

Funders want to know what resulted from what you did.

Think about bridging and empowering.

4. Think platforms.

How can we invite everyone to participate?

One million giraffes: Scandinavian teenager got people to make pictures of giraffes and send photos of them.

Pop-up museums: Supposed to serve the whole county, so they go to other towns. (

5. Make space.

A risk-taker needs a space-maker to allow them to take risks.

Part of her job is running the cemetery. Homeless people help dig up historic artifacts at cemetery and work with retired history docents. It’s become a “bridging” project.

Richard Hamming on “the average scientist” not working on important problems.

“The Pocket Museum” in bathroom. Share something from your pocket and write a post-it note about it.

Small museums shouldn’t try to be like the big ones. They can be more creative and aim their work at the community rather than tourists.

Participation isn’t about “make and take,” but “make and share.”

Museum is about contemplation and participation, but the participation events get more press.

Edited to add links.