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George Oates: Assumptions, attention, articulation

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Published on Oct 17, 2015

Day 2 of NDF 2015, 3.30pm Wednesday 14 October 2015

George first presented at National Digital Forum in 2008, talking about Flickr Commons and folksonomy (remember that?). We’ve come so far since then in terms of access, preservation, digital techniques and general approach to openness. Our work is (finally) actually transforming, and we’re no longer just pushing bits and bytes from one computer to another. In this talk, George will explore how our tastes have changed, how digital has streamlined us but also created huge gluts of bad metadata, and how emerging techniques around tool-making and exploration are starting to resolve into robust and shared practice.

Director of Good, Form & Spectacle and previously Lead Designer at Flickr Commons. Designs interfaces people love, demystifies complex systems, asks why a lot, and makes people feel excited about change.

George has been working on the web since 1996 in roles like designer, producer, product manager, project lead, and art director. Her particular skills lie in designing interfaces people love, quickly understanding complex systems, analyzing workflows, challenging status quo by asking why a lot, and making people feel comfortable with and excited about change.

George was the lead designer of Flickr from its inception until she changed gears in 2007 to invent the Flickr Commons program, created to help public institutions share their photography collections on Flickr, and in which the Library of Congress was the launch partner. She’s worked at the non-profit Internet Archive, as project lead for a remarkable editable library catalogue called Open Library. She designed the system to allow people to borrow eBooks, one of the first of its kind online. As art director at Stamen Design, George worked with clients like Facebook, Google, the Parks Conservancy and MTV/Viacom on various data visualization and mapping projects.

George serves on the board of Sol Design Lab, a company making solar energy installations, and on the advisory board of the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, a progressive organisation exploring the interconnections between art and technology. And finally, she is a research associate of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries.

George is currently the Director of Good, Form & Spectacle, a London design firm focussed on the cultural heritage sector. George's homepage is a bit of george, and she's been blogging since 2003. @goodformand

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