We are constantly trying to improve service to our patrons. Since the people we serve are varied and far-flung, it makes sense to consider the latest technologies in order to try and provide the best possible access to information we host.
A current trend in the computer world is the use of "social media," which is loosely defined as technology allowing people to communicate, or socialize with each other, via the internet. This class of technology includes services such as Facebook, Twitter and blogging in general.
One of the ideas behind social media is that people with similar interests can congregate online and share thoughts, ideas and content (such as photos). In the context of an archive, that idea begs the question:
It's an important question. Chief Shingwauk envisioned the Shingwauk School as a:
"crucible for cross-cultural understanding and for synthesis of traditional Anishnabek and modern European knowledge and learning systems."
It's interesting to compare that idea with the vision Tim Berners-Lee had of the World Wide Web when he created it:
"In general, I hope that we as humanity can learn to use this information space to understand each other..."
Mating Chief Shingwauk's idea of the perfect school with social media technology seemed like a natural step.
In order to make community building tools available to the archive, we needed to change our archival software to one that was designed from the bottom up with social networking in mind. In the end we chose to use the Drupal open source content management framework. There were several reasons for this: