As part of its development, the Pre-Raphaelite Resource digitisation project recently commissioned an audience research study to consult users about whether the inclusion of Web 2.0 features on a resource of this type would be useful or important to the education community. The report indicated that:
“there is some readiness among the education community for Web 2.0 technologies but only in the context of academia as a status-conscious, competitive environment. Whilst there are clear benefits to be achieved from providing teachers and students with the opportunity to share ideas in the context of stimulus artefacts, many hold reservations about ‘giving away’ their intellectual property.”
Some interesting points to note:
• Social networking features are perceived by both HE students and lecturers as primarily for pleasure rather than for work, although for younger students, the boundaries between work and life are increasingly blurred
• Content is still king: to be a truly useful research tool, students and lecturers need to know that a resource has been created for them and has scholarly merit, and reliable and relevant content
• Wikipedia was singled out by both FE and HE interviewees as being particularly unreliable, and yet highly popular;
• The features most associated with a Web 2.0 approach (rate, comment, upload, blog and send to friend) were commonly described with reference to social networking or e-commerce sites and were largely considered non-academic and therefore inappropriate for the Pre-Raphaelite online resource.
The study was carried out by Illumina Digital.