We have some discovery work going at the moment, looking at upgrading a local digital humanities archive. For me, this meant a crash course in Dublin Core metadata (which I hadn't touched since 2001), Fedora Commons (digital content management), Islandora, MODS and MAPS and FOAF and other fun acronyms. Hanging out with librarians and archivists and such must have been rubbing off, because I seemed to be able to pick up a lot of concepts and use cases very quickly. By the end of the day my head felt FULL of new things - both exhausting and satisfying. We'll see how much of it has percolated through and bedded down during the night, and how much needs to be re-examined in the morning :-)
Last night I also signed up for GovHack: a weekend-long event where they release a bunch of data sources to the public, and groups of us attempt to build new things to explore and build on that data, for a variety of public sector uses. I'm not really so fussed on the "compete and win valuable prizes" side of things, but I'm hoping that I get to meet interesting people, collaborate on good things, and make a positive difference somewhere along the line. It's going to start the day after my PhD thesis defence, so I don't know quite how frazzled I'll be for it, but I'm hoping it'll be worth putting in an appearance all the same.
So, as it happens, we ended up talking to a guy from council this evening, too. Sign-up numbers for Christchurch have gone up massively. I get the feeling there's a lot of latent desire to do something to help our local communities, and hope that this event will provide a vehicle for doing it. Fingers crossed for us all.