One of the things that has had us thinking hard is the question of how communities of interest would ‘curate’ (i.e. sort and make sense of) the information on resources that was posted to the Engine by helpful members of the general Long-term Conditions community.
Of course curation is done now, by individuals who provide an information service for their group or organisation. But the Engine offers the opportunity to give this a collective help. That’s a bit new and unfamiliar.
So we ran a small technical workshop in mid February, to explore what needed to be in the design. We involved a selection of directory owners, and other individuals who have a lot of experience of sorting and classifying things. Thanks to the generosity of our friends in LTCAS, we were able to host this in the Hub – food and welcome as excellent as ever!
Here’s how the day went:
- First we shared brief presentations on the general design principles on which the Engine is based, and on what sort of information we’re focused on in general. So we all caught up with where we’re at.
- Then we started working together in small groups. First we sifted a mass of assorted materials for their suitability to be included in the Engine at all. What would people regard as a scam? Would there be differences of opinion over what should be included otherwise? Andy had assembled a fairly amazing mix of resources, including tweets, CDs, books, stories, pamphlets of all shapes and sizes, notes on research findings, as well as the more expected examples of clubs and groups. The one that triggered the most energetic discussion was a pamphlet on Tennis Elbow…don’t ask!
- Then we ‘tagged’ selected items within the set that we’d OK’d for Engine inclusion, applying labels with a rainbow of coloured post-it notes. Different people took very varied approaches to tagging – some tagged almost every word on the resource, others just identified a few general concepts. Neither approach is ‘wrong’ – the important design point is to cater for both. Meantime we are also considering the use the machine’s capability to help with text scanning, to see if suggested tags can be offered automatically. We also realised that it would be important to include the identity of curators’ identities as tags. This would enable potential ‘tag teams’ to co-operate and share effort. This also opened up the potential for a form of peer-group QA.
- Finally, we turned to the task of considering how curation should be processed, and fairly unsurprisingly took to the concept of a form of ‘shareable in-box’.
A few days later the project team met to debrief, along with John, our chosen lead designer/coder for this application, and he is now very busy coding a prototype for airing on the 11th. April. Fingers tightly X’d.
Meantime, very many thanks to all who participated on February 16th. Here’s very much hoping that you see the fruits of your labours in the design of the actual product.