Thursday, 24 April 2008

Notes from 'MCG Futures' at MCG's Spring Conference

These are my notes from 'MCG Futures' Jon Pratty and Ross Parry (presented by Jon Pratty) at the Museums Computer Group (MCG) Spring Conference. There's some background to my notes about the conference in a previous post. If I've made any comments below they're in [square brackets]. The slides for MCG Futures are online.

Jon: in this presentation will outline the evaluation process, present some of the feedback to date and the timescales.

We've got our work cut out getting level and quality of feedback we need.

Disclaimer: he's not presenting the personal views of Jon or Ross; but presenting what the membership think so far.

The MCG has an 'astonishing heritage' of meetings and discussions held across the country and throughout the year [slide 2 is a list of all the meetings - this is the 51st]. There's a rich archive of content, proceedings, papers, etc. The MCG has a valuable archive, culture, way of working and communal history.

As the web starts to move faster than the organisation, what do you do? What does the momentum of technology mean. Are we keeping up with changes?

Slide 3 is the timetable for consultation, formulation and action - changes to be agreed at the AGM in autumn 2008. Slides 5 - 10 present some of the feedback so far.

Are we reaching out far and hard enough? They've had 20 - 25 specific feedback emails, fewer from the online form. They will be asking other organisations how they do it to so can get more feedback. The big steps that might be coming require feedback from bigger sample of membership. [So if you want to see change, you have to send comments! It's ok to be critical, and it's ok to write about what you like already.]

The Autumn meeting will be crucial - if there are going to be changes, information has to go out before the Annual General Meeting so the membership have time and notice to consider those changes.

It's going to happen relatively quickly - it's 'not a long period of navel-gazing'.

Some thoughts based on comments so far:
Is MCG a collection of voices or a unified voice?
Do we set agendas or reflect them?
Are we as technologists [doers] disenfranchised from the people who make decisions?
Web or print?
What's the role of newsletter?
Would you want a blog? (As this asks more of a group of people or MCG committee if so, how would that work?)
What about membership fees.

Questions - what about the:
Function: advocacy, research, collaboration?
Governance: structure, responsibility, size?
Interactions: frequency, location, focus?
Membership: composition, benefits, cost?
Outputs: newsletter, reports, web?
Affiliations: professional, governmental, commercial?

[If you missed the first call for feedback, you can email Debbie Richards, use the feedback form, or discuss it on the MCG list. It doesn't matter if you're not a member, or not in IT/a technologist or not a web person - your opinion is valuable.]

The UK Museums and the Web Conference will be at the University of Leicester on June 19, 2008.

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