I thought I’d post my notes for the Chair’s Welcome to UK Museums on the Web: UKMW12 ‘Strategically Digital’, partly because it gives me a chance to re-thank everyone who helped make UKMW12 such a fantastic event. In the same spirit of sharing and transparency we’ll also post reports from the AGM.

“Hi, I’m Mia Ridge, I’m the Chair of the Museums Computer Group and I’d like to welcome you all to Museums on the Web 2012.

It takes a lot to put on an event like this so I’d like to start by thanking the MCG Committee, particularly Oonagh, Gemma, Rhiannon, Angus, John, David and Denise, the Programme Committee – Ross Parry, Melissa Terras, Stuart Dunn, Carolyn Royston – the speakers and our generous sponsors – Deeson Online, Adlib and Wellcome Collection. We also have a free copy of Museum ID magazine and vouchers for Ashgate publications in the reception area so make sure you pick one up.

I would like to congratulate the winners of the Association for Computers and the Humanities Ticket Bursaries – Lorna Richardson, Joy Hooper, Dominic Walker, Warren Posner and Alexandra Reynolds.

The tea breaks and lunch are an important part of the day so take the opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new people. We also have tours at lunchtime – sign up sheets at registration desk.

This is the 30th year of MCG events and conversations. We’ll hear in the AGM about how we used this anniversary as an opportunity to reflect on how best to serve the MCG community, but it’s summed up in two strands – inspiring and connecting peers, and supporting members by helping the wider sector understand digital.

The ‘strategically digital’ theme of today’s conference reflect both an international conversation at conferences and on social media, and local conversations on the MCG list and in the UK sector.
For me, being ‘strategically digital’ means the best solution for a project might not involve technology. It offers some solutions to the organisational change issues raised by the mismatch between web speed and museum speed, and it means digital decisions should always refer back to a museum’s public engagement strategy (or infrastructure plans for background ICT services) – it’s not about technology for the sake of it.

An important part of digital strategies seems to be the conversations the process of writing one starts in museums. Creating a digital strategy is a chance to listen to colleagues and understand their perspective, and to share your excitement about the possibilities and together come up with solutions for the challenges your museum faces.

Today is part of the same process – blog and tweet with #ukmw12 but also share your notes and talk with your colleagues.

And with that, let’s get on with it! I’d like to introduce Rosie Tooby from the Wellcome Collection…”