All posts by dlesser


CoCoCo is a web application designed to increase public engagement through the crowdsourcing of collection content. The application was developed by RunCoCo, a program of Academic IT Services at Oxford University in the UK as a means of collecting and digitizing historic artifact. CoCoCo is now available as open source software, free and easily downloadable from RunCoCo’s website.

CoCoCo brings together face-to-face engagement and online collection, enabling members of the public to partner with traditionally-based museum experts in building vibrant, easily accessible collections. These ‘living’ collections encompass a vast array of historic artifacts, personal objects, photos, film, letters and writings, stories and poetry, and recorded memories.

CoCoCo has been used successfully as a digital crowdsourcing tool by museums and archival collections throughout the UK and Europe. The public has been invited to contribute content online, as well as through live interviews and photographic documentation. Since 2008, CoCoCo has engaged over 2100 members of the public in the UK and Europe, capturing over 30,000 images of personally-owned memorabilia.

Excellent examples can be found in projects undertaken by the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford, and the Age Exchange, a UK-based center for reminiscence arts. The Age Exchange project, in particular, illustrates CoCoCo’s unique capability to capture and make accessible a wide range of material, both visual and recordedArts institutions interested in crowdsourcing collection content and deepening public engagement with collection material should look closely at CoCoCo. As its developer, RunCoCo has made freely available via its website a large library of resources, including software documentation and case study materials. No need to reinvent the wheel – RunCoCo offers advice, training, and technical support, along with access to the CoCoCo software.

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, UK. Community Collection Day Poster
Reminiscence Day Poster.” 17 March 2016. Museum of the History of Science. 

Using Digital Technology to Broaden Arts Audiences

50% of U.S. adults do not participate in key arts activities. A shocking statistic for those committed to bringing the arts to the public. Today’s digital technology offers arts managers an effective avenue for reaching broader audiences, especially in light of the fact that for those who do engage with the arts, more than half do so through digital media, some relying solely on digital media.

Engagement takes sustained effort, a renewed commitment to reaching out and listening to underengaged communities, and translating that knowledge into innovative programming. Digital communication and marketing tools can help foster and grow these connections, as well as deliver more relevant programming to broader arts audiences.