The Smithsonian Commons: Vast, Findable, Shareable, Free

Logo, Smithsonian
Mon 12 2010

The Smithsonian Institution needs your opinion! In 2009, the Smithsonian adopted a Web & New Media Strategy, aimed at increasing the Smithsonian's presence and accessibility on the web. Core to this strategy is a vision of the Smithsonian Commons, a central portal through which web users will access and share the Smithsonian's resources across all of its museums and units.

Check out the recently-released Commons beta website to watch four videos envisioning how several types of users—tourists, plugged-in youth, enthusiasts, and educators—will interact with and benefit from the Commons. In the future, you may be able to easily search, navigate, save, share, export, cite, and comment on artifacts and resources drawn from the Smithsonian's vast collections. The project will model itself on successful Web 2.0 communities like Flickr Commons and the Internet Archive, and hopes to make materials available across platforms (including on mobile phones) with minimal copyright restrictions.

After you've watched the videos, take the time to vote on whether you like or dislike the prototype ideas and to submit your comments via the Vote and Comment form. You may also want to read the Smithsonian 2.0 blog entry on visions for the Commons, and leave your comments there, as well.

About the Author

Lara Harmon is a Senior Research Associate for She received her BA from George Mason University.