The major focus for the development team over the last month has been the community functions of the system. With eHive, all content is stored in a giant database running on parallel servers. Individual account holders (e.g. a museum or private collector) can manage their collection in their own private area just like they would in a traditional package installed on their computer. However, having all of the information stored in one place makes it very easy for users to present new groups of information that cut across institutional or collection boundaries.
To facilitate this we created the concept of a community. User can create new communities that represent any thematic or geographical groupings of collection information. Users can then join communities and mark particular objects from their collection that should be part of that community. Website visitors will be able to see who the members of the community are, browse the objects in the community, see common tags of members and objects in the community and see random selections of content.
This area of development is now largely complete. NZ Museums will be one example of the future communities on eHive.com. Museums in New Zealand can join the NZ Museums community and mark highlights of their collection from their individual accounts as being part of the community.