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Sessions: Open-Participatory [clear filter]
Friday, November 6


HEIR: The Historic Environment Image Resource Project
HEIR is a crowdsourcing project developed by Keepthinking for the Department of Archaeology of the University of Oxford. Historic photographic images are vital for understanding some of the most pressing current research issues and HEIR is an important new resource for a wide range of studies, from tracking environmental and climate change to understanding human impact on the planet; from identifying endangered landscapes and endangered archaeology to reconstructing lost buildings and habitats. http://www.heirtagger.ox.ac.uk

Over 40,000 images from 1890 to 1930 need to be tagged and elements in them identified. HEIR asks people that are passionate about history and archaeology to help unlock the potential of these photographs, by keywording or 'tagging' them to gather as much information about them as possible. We are tapping into the Zooniverse user-base.The project includes a website where people are asked to Tag images, based on pre-defined categories as well as a mobile app with which the worldwide community can rephotograph sites and show how they are today.This presentation will explain the ideas behind HEIR and show how its model can be reproduced to classify any type of visual resource.

avatar for Cristiano Bianchi

Cristiano Bianchi

Managing Director, Keepthinking

Friday November 6, 2015 9:00am - 9:15am
Nokomis Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403


Planning an Audience-Centered Digital Collection
Looking to build a digital archive based on user needs?

For the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Ford’s Theatre launched Remembering Lincoln, a digital collection connecting end users with digitized personal, institutional, and public responses to that monumental event from around the United States and world. Building the collection involved working with over two dozen institutions that contributed seldom-displayed materials.

Meanwhile, the functionality of the website housing the primary source materials—including the ultimate choice of Drupal as the content management system—was determined through a six-month audience evaluation and planning process. The process led to an engaging digital interface for audiences to connect with collection items from a wide range of institutions.

This presentation will cover an audience research process we hope will help other institutions looking to create audience-friendly digital archives, including:

A two-day planning meeting with advisors and partners, with definition of preliminary outcomes and user personas for four primary user groups (teachers, students, scholars, enthusiasts); Logic models that plotted steps to achieve those preliminary outcomes; Focus groups and surveys to test those outcomes and learn more about both what content and what functionality would interest each audience group; Formulation of a Product Definition Document based on the data from the focus groups and surveys; A RFP process for a web developer using the Product Definition Document as a checklist of specifications.

In this presentation, we will share detail about what worked—and didn’t—in the process, and lessons learned for future projects of a similar nature. We also hope that other institutions will share what worked for them so that everyone can learn about creating an audience-friendly digital archive collaboratively.

avatar for David McKenzie

David McKenzie

Associate Director for Digital Resources, Ford's Theatre

Friday November 6, 2015 9:15am - 9:30am
Minnetonka Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403


Simply Mobile: (Working on) Simplifying the Mobile User Experience
This case study will focus on how we at The Broad are focusing on making a museum app that offers the user exactly what they need. Instead of replicating the mobile web experience, we are attempting to use context and location awareness to present the user with both a beautiful and useful mobile experience. Tying closely together with our ticketing system, we surface tickets just when the user needs them, then shift the focus to digital tour and other collections-related content when in the galleries. Where should we go from here? How can we improve this experience further?

avatar for Heather Hart

Heather Hart

Director of IT, The Broad

Friday November 6, 2015 9:15am - 9:30am
Nokomis Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403


Student Collaborations and the Museum of the Future
Interactive exhibit design for museums is expensive. In a field where budgets are increasingly tight, the pressure is also mounting to innovate new, more effective interpretations. It’s becoming ever more challenging to balance visitor engagement, educational outreach, patron interest, and budgets. At the same time, students are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain the real-world experience necessary to compete effectively for design positions following graduation.

In this case study, we present the results of an ongoing program at The College of New Jersey, where students in the Interactive Multimedia Department are developing interactive exhibit prototypes in partnership with local museums. The goal of the program is to give hands-on interactive exhibit design experience to students, while allowing museums to inexpensively explore alternative exhibition approaches and enhance collection interpretation through emerging technologies.

The program is entering its third year, and, after two successful iterations with TCNJ's own Sarnoff Collection in 2013 and 2014, we are piloting the program with the New Jersey State Museum in fall 2015. The program consists of an advanced level, one-semester interactive exhibit design course during the fall followed by a winter on-site student project showcase. Following the showcase, students who have created exceptional projects are invited to continue development for inclusion in long-term exhibitions.

Experts from the local museum and exhibit design community also participate in the process as guest lecturers, field trip hosts, and critique jurors. The student showcase is open to the community at large, with the general public, museum professional and patrons, college administrators, faculty, students, friends, and family all provided the opportunity to experience the projects in the museum setting.

Previous iterations of the program have yielded the following results:
- Students gain hands-on experience working with museum collections and creating interactive exhibits with emerging technologies
- Students gain familiarity with the functions and processes of a real-world design studio
- Students receive guidance and feedback from museum professionals, as well as museum patrons
- The museum acquires knowledge about the latest interactive multimedia technologies through collaboration with college faculty and design professionals
- The museum inexpensively explores new approaches to interpreting its collections and exhibitions, with the option of developing the best solutions further
- The museum develops a new talent pool from which it can hire
-The museum gains new forms of community engagement and extends its educational outreach
- The community gains increased knowledge and awareness of the museum, its collections, and the college
- Potential museum benefits we will explore in fall 2015 include using student prototypes to more clearly specify planned exhibits for vendors, possibly streamlining vendor selection and production cycles.

avatar for Emily Croll

Emily Croll

Director, TCNJ Art Gallery & Sarnoff Collection, The College of New Jersey
avatar for Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson

Term Assistant Professor, The College of New Jersey

Friday November 6, 2015 9:45am - 10:00am
Nokomis Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403


Taking Citizen History Seriously
Museums and archives have experimented with crowdsourcing and citizen history for almost a decade. While much creative and productive work has been accomplished, we ask - do these projects truly involve making meaning with people, collections, and information? Much of the focus of existing projects - including some of our work at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum - has been on the collections themselves. Our starting point has been: how do we better describe and make accessible these unique objects from our collections?

While better describing and making accessible artifacts is important and appropriate in an archival context, we hold museums have a greater charge to keep to their visitors. Museums are places about and for people, and exist for the shared experience of the audience with the content of the museum as well as with one another. At their best, citizen history projects unite museum staff and our audiences in a common goal of meaning-making by not only bringing them into direct contact with our collections but also by asking them to take part in conversation on the ideas and questions at the heart of our institutions.

But to live up to this potential is not easy. Institution-led citizen history projects that are authentic and meet the needs of their audiences demand the commitment of valuable resources and staff. To make our investment worthwhile, citizen history needs to be taken more seriously. The institution must place the value of working collaboratively with the public at the center of our mission - breaking down the walls between public and private, internal and external, staff and visitor. This move does not deny the museum staff their expertise but instead repositions the audience as an integral part of the meaning-making process.

As part of our endeavor to take citizen history seriously, staff at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum has undertaken a new pilot process. During the last year, twelve staff members produced six crowdsourcing prototypes with zero budget as part of our effort to better understand the possibilities of citizen history. Through these prototypes and early pilot projects, we have improved staff understanding of the practical and conceptual practices of creating a citizen history project. But more importantly, we have begun to see how these activities can achieve our larger institutional goals around co-creation and meaning-making. What activities best lend themselves to true engagement not only with materials, but with one another? What goes into creating and co-creating an authentic experience? How do we create environments that move participants beyond interfacing with collections and into a sense of shared humanity?

While we don’t have all the answers to these questions, we seek to broaden our discussion with the Museum community by offering the results or our exploration.

avatar for Rosanna Flouty

Rosanna Flouty

New York University

avatar for Elissa Frankle

Elissa Frankle

Senior UX Researcher, Ad Hoc LLC
Citizen history, online communities, making excellent experiences for visitors. Looking for fellow wayfinding and signage geeks who love the IA of places.
avatar for Michael Haley Goldman

Michael Haley Goldman

Future Projects, USHMM

Friday November 6, 2015 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Great Lakes A2 Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403


Scaffolding User-Centered Digital Public History for Small Cultural Heritage Institutions
The work of public history calls for taking good history scholarship into the world to meet the needs and interests of a non-academic audience. While much of that work has traditionally happened in face to face encounters and at physical sites, increasingly public historians are encountering their audiences through digital means, such as social media, blogs, exhibit sites, collection and archives sites, mobile applications, and digital simulations.

The possibilities for doing sophisticated digital public history work have expanded significantly since the first cultural heritage organizations began to create web presences in the mid-1990s. At the same time, the core elements and challenges of doing rigorous public history work have not changed all that much. As a result, the best digital public history work requires a blend of applied technical skills, targeted engagement strategies, disciplinary ways of knowing, and content knowledge.

Unfortunately much of the existing work on digital public history fails to take the necessary blend of concerns into consideration. A proliferation of work on digital humanities, and museum and archive computing issues have flooded the publishing landscape in recent years. By dwelling in necessarily interdisciplinary spaces, these collections cannot speak to the disciplinary distinctions that separate history from the other humanities, to say nothing of the ways that the work that takes place within public history institutions is different than that which occurs in art museums, children's museums, and science centers. This work mostly fails to provide the practitioner with a comprehensive overview of what is required to plan and execute rigorous digital public history work. Public historians in cultural heritage institutions need a practical introduction to doing digital public history that speaks to their theoretical and methodological commitments while offering clear guidance on preparing for, executing, and sustaining vibrant projects.

This presentation will offer a formulation of support structures, tools, and frameworks to support the creation of user-centered digital public history work in small organizations. Bringing together the core areas of expertise in applied technical skills, targeted engagement strategies, disciplinary-specific ways of knowing, and historical content knowledge, the presentation will introduce the concept of user-centered digital public history, and then offer an outline of support materials for planning (research, strategy, and infrastructure creation), executing (building digital collections, creating rich interpretive content, and creating engaged communities around that work), and sustaining (frequent evaluation, ongoing outreach campaigns, and attention to issues of digital preservation) digital public history projects.

avatar for Sharon Leon

Sharon Leon

Director of Public Projects, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media
Sharon M. Leon is the Director of Public Projects at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and Associate Professor of History at George Mason University. Leon received her bachelors of arts degree in American Studies from Georgetown University in 1997, and her doctorate... Read More →

Friday November 6, 2015 2:30pm - 3:00pm
Great Lakes A2 Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403
Saturday, November 7


Making Digital Loss Less Painful: Lessons Learned from the Removal of Historypin’s Mobile Application
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, has made significant strides over the past few years in using various web and mobile platforms to make the museum’s Fine Art, Digital Assets, Library, and Archives Collections mores accessible to our on-site and online audiences.

Instead of investing time and resources into creating our own mobile application, in late 2012, the Albright-Knox leveraged Historypin—a free, simple, and effective web and mobile platform—to create several self-guided walking tours exploring objects in the museum’s Collections, including the outdoor sculpture on the museum’s campus. The Historypin platform offers a unique way to showcase digital and physical materials and gives our audiences—who may not have the time, money, or desire to visit the interior of our museum—the ability to interact with these interesting resources for free using a computer, smartphone, or tablet, wherever they are.Unfortunately, even the most effective digital tools don’t last forever. Like all software, Historypin’s mobile application required constant maintenance to keep it working well on the most current versions of smartphones and tablets. On April 22, 2015, Historypin made the disappointing decision to remove its mobile application from the Apple and Google Play Stores. This abrupt loss of a valued resource and key digital tool has left Albright-Knox staff members wondering what steps we can take moving forward to make a digital loss less difficult.

I know members of the Albright-Knox staff are not alone. Digital loss is happening to cultural institutions all of the time and it is an important issue to discuss with fellow MCN attendees in this age of technology.

Although I don’t have all of the answers at this time, I hope to be able to address the following questions in my case study presentation, this fall:
- What does this loss of a valued resource mean for our content?
- How will our on-site and online audiences be affected?
- How is hard work justified after a loss?
- Moving forward, should we invest in and develop our own technology instead of taking on the risk of relying on someone else’s technology, even if it is free?
- What tools can we utilize in order to make this content available elsewhere for our on-site and online visitors?
- How can we adapt to make a loss like this less painful in the future?

avatar for Kelly Carpenter

Kelly Carpenter

Digital Assets Manager, Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Saturday November 7, 2015 9:00am - 9:15am
Minnetonka Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403


Rewriting Art History with Art Detective
Art Detective was launched in June 2014 to help UK collections uncover mysteries in their works of art. Art Detective aims to improve knowledge of the UK’s public art collection. It is an award-winning, free-to-use online network that connects public art collections with members of the public and providers of specialist knowledge.

Through BBC Your Paintings, any member of the public can start a discussion that involves a work of art - challenging attributions, subjects, places or events depicted or more. The website promotes active and lively discussions among people that are expert in their field - although not necessarily traditionally trained art historian. Everyone can contribute knowlegde and help uncover important facts.

This is a different form of crowdsourcing - one which aims at scientific and founded precision in the field of art history. Within less that nine months, over 40 discoveries have been made, changing painting attributions, naming sitters and more. The website was overall winner of Best of the Web at Museums and the Web 2015 and recipient of a Silver MUSE award at AAM 2015. This presentation will explain the concepts behind Art Detective, how it works and how it could potentually be adapted and reproduced in different contexts to help museums professionals in their curatorial efforts. http://www.thepcf.org.uk/artdetective

avatar for Cristiano Bianchi

Cristiano Bianchi

Managing Director, Keepthinking

Saturday November 7, 2015 9:15am - 9:30am
Minnetonka Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403


When You’ve Got It, Flaunt It: Enhancing Discoverability through Wikipedia
Thomas J. Watson Library, the central research library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, has been collaborating with Wikipedia for three years to enhance access to our Digital Collections. In this time we’ve added citations to over 2,000 relevant Wikipedia articles that link to items in our Digital Collections. While this number sounds large, it has not been a particularly labor intensive project, distributed amongst both staff, graduate assistants, and interns. The impact, though, has been huge. In March 2012, we had just over 6,000 pageviews; by March 2015, we had over 118,000. This represents more than a 1,800 percent increase in pageviews. As a result, 2014 was the first year we had over one million pageviews. Perhaps most impressive of all, Wikipedia now drives over 50% of the traffic to our Digital Collections, which is an increase from literally 0% four years earlier. The project now has its own GLAM-WIKI page, which can be viewed here. This case study provides an easily replicable model for other institutions to adopt.


William Blueher

Metadata and Collections Librarian, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metadata & Collections Librarian, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Saturday November 7, 2015 9:30am - 9:45am
Minnetonka Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403


Let's Talk about Open Images and Your Museum
Sponsored by the Intellectual Property SIG and Digital Media SIG

How can you lead your museum to offer truly open access images of collection objects in the public domain? Sharing open images enables people to make new kinds of meaning from museum collections by freely using images as accurate representations of physical objects, or digital raw material to be transformed, or some creative mixture of both. This participatory session is for you if you want to open up your museum’s images, or you already have, or you’re just plain interested in open content. Please bring a question on the topic so you’ll be ready if we ask you!

We’ll play with MCN’s new 60-minute format by having super-brief presentations and then a longer conversation with everyone. After a brief introduction to the topic by Rob Lancefield, each panelist will speak for one or two minutes on how we led our museum to open up images—with a close focus on the “how,” especially in regard to cultivating institutional buy-in. We’ll speak in order of public launch of truly open images at our museums: the Yale Center for British Art (2011), National Gallery of Denmark (2011), National Gallery of Art (2012), Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University (2012), J. Paul Getty Museum (2013), and Indianapolis Museum of Art (2015). Most of our time will then be an open conversation driven by your questions, obstacles, and dilemmas. We’ll tap the panel’s experience while keeping the focus on your concerns and how you might resolve them. This will build on recent discussions of open images, while not presupposing knowledge of them. Please join us, join the conversation, and lead your museum to join the move toward open images.

avatar for Gray Bowman

Gray Bowman

Lead Software Architect, Indianapolis Museum of Art
avatar for Melissa Gold Fournier

Melissa Gold Fournier

Head of Imaging and Intellectual Property, Yale Center for British Art
avatar for Rob Lancefield

Rob Lancefield

Manager of Museum Information Services, Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University
avatar for Alan Newman

Alan Newman

Chief, Digital Media, National Gllery of Art
avatar for Merete Sanderhoff

Merete Sanderhoff

Curator and Senior Adviser, Statens Museum for Kunst
Working to provide free access to, and encourage re-use of, the museum's digitised collections. Organiser of the international Sharing is Caring seminars in Copenhagen, and editor of the anthology Sharing is Caring. Openness and sharing in the cultural heritage sector (2014). I love... Read More →
avatar for Stanley Smith

Stanley Smith

Head, Collection Information & Access, J. Paul Getty Museum

Saturday November 7, 2015 10:15am - 11:15am
Great Lakes A2 Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403