Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The Wine, the Glass and the Drinking

During my keynote at the DCDC2015 Conference I challenged the audience to consider whether the value that exists in a digital resource reflected the analogy of: is the value in the wine, the glass or the drinking?

It is obvious all three are needed (and you could add other features), but maybe to a greater or lesser degree. If Wine = Content, the Glass = Infrastructure and the Drinking = Access then which one has precedence?

So we voted via Twitter and the results are in.
Wine/Content = #dcdc15wine
Glass/Infrastructure = #dcdc15glass
Drinking/Access = #dcdc15drink

And the votes went thus:

Wine/Content = 18
Glass/Infrastructure = 13
Drinking/Access = 26

So Access/Drinking has it by quite a distance!


The "glass/wine/drinking" question is designed to be unanswerable in any absolutist fashion and thus acts as a thought experiment to reveal our internalised values and priorities. All digital resources, and the organisations who host them, have differing motivations and priorities that can be reflected in the question of whether the value is in the glass (infrastructure), the wine (content) or the drinking (access).
Consider that the British Library probably has a core interest in fine wine as the library of last resort for Britain. Drinking is key to justifying its importance and the glass is essential to the achievement of its objectives but I surmise that the collecting of wine holds primacy. As I said before, there is not one without the others.
But if you look at Twitter in comparison you can see that the drinking is in the primacy. The standard or nature of the wine (content) is irrelevant to Twitters existence - there just needs to be lots of it to facilitate massive amounts of drinking. Drinking is the name of the game for Twitter. The glass is not particularly sophisticated (for instance it's not designed to hold wine for any significant length of time) and the functions of the glass are relatively basic (compared to Facebook for instance). But it is fast, full of all sorts of wine and very committed to getting you drunk!

At the conference there was an active and interesting debate around these terms and I augment this blog with those comments below in a Storify.

My favourite Tweet so far though is:
    Adrian Legg ‏@memenow
    "Im for the Father Jack values...
     #dcdc15Drink & #dcdc15Feck & #dcdc15Girls"

Thanks to everyone for participating - I hope you found it as interesting as I did!

Here is the link to my Keynote on Slideshare

Here is the link to the full video of the Keynote

Added 15th October:

Here is a Storify of all the voting and the discussion that ensued.

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