Tuesday, February 24, 2009

F.W.I.W. (Part II)


Archives*Open, open or closed?: Russell D. James has been asking me if the Archives*Open blog is still open since I have not posted anything new in quite some time. Sometimes the best ideas run into unplanned obstacles.

The Archives*Open idea is still one with potential. Writing about what other archivists are doing with Web 2.0 tools and technologies to enhance and improve access to their archival materials and in turn inspiring other archivists to follow suit is encouraging and energizing. As I mentioned in the previous post, I'm really excited with what archivists are doing with these new tools and technologies. It has the power to change things, to change attitudes.

But still what I will do with the Archives*Open blog remains unknown. For lack of a better explanation, the Archives*Open blog is resting for a while.

The Archives*Open Twitter feed remains open and active, however, sending out tweets of interests to archivists. Additionally, the Archives*Open LinkedIn network, which has almost 40 members from around the world, is ripe for further growth. Feel free to join one or both of these networks.

Transit Nightmares: In mid-January, the local commuter rail service, Agence Metropolitaine de Montreal (AMT), which provides rail service between Montreal and the surrounding area, launched its "new and improved" service to encourage people to use public transit. With extra trains and better scheduling, the new and improved service was something most if not all commuters embraced. But the plan fell off the tracks no sooner had the so-called "new and improved" service began. Trains were late, trains never showed up, and trains stalled in the middle of no where, while commuters were either stranded on station platforms or packed like sardines in trains. Commuters were pissed. It got so bad that even the laid-back Quebec government cried foul.

From a Web 2.0 perspective, the AMT website is sorely lacking. It provides very little useful information to commuters, and offers little or no means to communicate with the transit agency. Where's the two-way communication, where's the always available information when we need it, heck, where are the GPS-enabled locomotives? Meanwhile, the local bus and metro transit agency, Society de Transport de Montreal (STM) does not fare much better. The STM website holds promise, but its valuable content is static, its stuck on web pages that deserve a bottom-up re-design.

Quebercers pay notoriously high taxes, which partly funds transit services. Let's build a transit service that works, more importantly, that responds to the public's needs. A good website is part of the solution. Take a look at the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) websites with their real-time schedules and email alerts and SMS services pushing out transit alerts to riders.

Photo credit: kevincrumbs


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about the author

I am an information professional, researcher, and writer with over eight years experience in the information services field with experience in information and communication technology.

I have a B.A. in History and a Master's in Library and Information Studies and working on a Web and Multimedia Design certificate.

I believe that empowering people with information can enrich lives and transform the world.