Digital Collections and Web 2.0: Investigating Adoption & Participation
This study explores how cultural heritage institutions (CHIs) have adopted Web 2.0 principles and applications for their digital collections and how users are responding to the Web 2.0-enabled environment in digital collections. The research aims to contribute discussion on whether CHIs have adapted well to the “democratic” nature of Web 2.0. It also aims to contribute discussion on how CHIs can improve their digital collections to better engage with users online. The research used quantitative content analysis to compare the adoption of Web 2.0 applications and principles across archives, libraries and museums and between Australasian and North American CHIs. It also used quantitative content analysis to explore the types of participatory activities offered in Web 2.0-enabled digital collections and the extent to which users have taken advantage of these forms of participation. One particular form of participation, commenting, was investigated using qualitative content analysis, to gain an understanding of how users respond to digital content. The research suggests that libraries are currently leading the adoption of Web 2.0 principles and applications for digital collections. It also appears that Australasian CHIs have been more proactive, compared to their North American counterparts, in making available Web 2.0-enabled digital collections. The research found that CHIs supported a range of different activities in their digital collections but activities encouraging multivocality and user-driven ranking of content were the most popular among both digital collections and their users.