“A bunch of folks (myself included) took up the task of building software to let people easily publish, describe, share, find (and hopefully use) digital assets or learning objects (assets with a bunch of metadata tacked on the side). I think it’s fair to say that the experiments failed pretty dramatically. The only content that was added to CAREO was done under the auspices of Large Projects and/or Institutions. Individuals, by and large, didn’t spend much time with it, or its ilk. Why is that?” – D’Arcy Norman
Well, how much time do you have… actually, D’Arcy comes up with three pretty good reasons around sharing, API and social aspects, but if I could pick one reason why these toppled (I got to watch some Uni ones topple up close, ’twas fun) it would be this: WHY WOULD I (OR ANYONE ELSE FOR THAT MATTER) BOTHER.
Honestly, forget the good of humanity, helping others and all that jazz, we’re essentially pretty selfish beings, and it’s important to respect that because this stuff isn’t really going to work as long as we ignore that or look for fanciful tech-based solutions.
Sure, we may have great tools and be a lot more advanced in our understanding of how we can socially create sites, but I don’t reckon we’re any closer – or really ever will be – to a crowd / tech driven solution – it’s just too hard.
And let’s remember that we tag spam in gmail not because we want to help the community, but because we don’t want spam.
We use social bookmarking services not because we want top be social, but because we want to access our links from anywhere, tag them ‘n stuff.
And we add content to sites like fOUnd it because… oh hang on, we don’t, because IT DOES NOTHING FOR US.
I reckon there are really only two solutions:
Institutionally you can look into providing employees (be they academics, teachers or so on) with tools which they really want to use to help them teach, research and so on (easy, huh!) which you can then aggregate in various ways. Alas, simply sucking up Word & PowerPoint docs might be the way to go. Incidentally, this one is tricky to a. get right & b. do without turning into a police state.
Globally I’m afraid that there might be a harsh truth here… you may, actually, shudder, need to employ a genuine human bean of sorts! Yes, that’s right, a real person, equipped of course with mucho understanding of how one finds appropriate stuff, but very real nonetheless who can tag, file, link to, archive and generally organise stuff. Heck, you might even need a few of them, put them in a building together and get them to…
… hang on, isn’t that called a, library :)