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Sessions: Publishing-Production [clear filter]
Thursday, November 5


One Publisher, Many Platforms
Much like many of our peer institutions, the Art Institute of Chicago has been focused on publishing digitally for many years now. We are interested both in finding a digital home for existing content (out of print titles, collection information, exhibition brochures, etc.) and finding a reliable and flexible way of publishing future content. Unfortunately, many of the digital publishing solutions and platforms that are useful for mainstream publishers are not well-suited to museum publishing.The department of publishing at the Art Institute of Chicago has embarked on various digital publishing initiatives. Some of have been internal experiments while others have been large ambitions such as our online scholarly catalogues. During this presentation, we will discuss our various experiences with multiple established platforms such as iAuthor, Mag+, and Adobe DPS as well as custom web-based applications such as the OSCI-Toolkit. We’ll cover not only the pros and cons of our experiences, but also the advantages of one institution exploring various digital platforms.

avatar for Lauren Makholm

Lauren Makholm

Production Coordinator, The Art Institute of Chicago
avatar for Joseph Mohan

Joseph Mohan

Director of Production, Art Institute of Chicago
Director of Production, Art Institute of Chicago

Thursday November 5, 2015 1:15pm - 1:45pm
Nokomis Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403


APIs: Crossing the Boundaries of Distance, Hardware, and Technology
APIs, more formally known as Application Programming Interfaces. We hear this expression all the time, but what are they? When do they matter? Why do we need them? How should we use them? This presentation will provide a candid, informational discussion that addresses all of these questions using timely and relevant examples. It’s appropriate for all technical levels and should be particularly thought-provoking to technology and information professionals and strategists in any museum/art/cultural organization interested in the many exciting ways to provide greater access to their institution’s own data or to use their data in partnership with others in ventures that have the potential to enrich the ongoing efforts of artists, conservationists, researchers and others.

If you’re a casual reader of any of the popular Tech Blogs, SIG publications, or developer newsgroups, it’s quite likely that you’ve come across references to the acronym, "API". The discussion on the topic broadens as adjectives such as "Open/Closed", "Public/Private" or "Web-based/Mobile/Restful" begin getting inserted in-front of this acronym so that we start seeing such interesting variants as:Public, Open Web-based APIsPrivate, Closed, Restful APIsPublic, Commercial Mobile APIsClosed SOAP-based SOX-compliant Web-based APIs….and so on.Yet the question remains, what is an API? When is it purposeful to use one? How do I go about deciding which API is most appropriate for my project’s needs? What are the advantages of an organization building and maintaining its own APIs vs. leveraging existing ones already available? A number of very reasonable questions can quickly surface and before long it can all seem very, very overwhelming.This presentation will begin with the fundamentals in order to establish a foundation of knowledge and understanding that is suitable for an audience of all technology levels and experience.

avatar for James S. Vitale

James S. Vitale

Senior Solutions Architect, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Thursday November 5, 2015 1:45pm - 2:15pm
Nokomis Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403


Which Came First, the Data Structure or the Website? Lessons Learned in Building a New Collections Website with Existing Collections Data
The Henry Ford has gone through several distinct historical phases with its collections data and related media:

The Dawn of Time (c. 1929): All collections information lived on paper.

The Stone Age (c. 1980s): We began to use tools—like electronic databases. We made up rules to follow, but we were the only ones who saw the data, and therefore we were the only ones who knew how carefully we were following the rules.

The Industrial Revolution (c. 1990s): New tools became available! The Internet was born! We scanned photos and letters and documents. We took pictures of objects, got back electronic files, and threw them onto LaserDisc or one-off websites—how easy it was to create a website when you wanted one! We really went crazy, but we still didn’t have to be too careful with how we tracked things, or being standard from one project to the next, as we were still the only ones who saw the raw data and media—and those websites the public did see, let us tell you, looked super-slick and awesome! Production of “stuff” skyrocketed.

The Progressive Era (c. 2011): We needed to get this train back on the rails. We needed to hunker down and really figure out this “digitization” thing that everyone else was already doing. We needed one comprehensive collections website, where users could find all of our digital collections records. We needed to establish standards, protocols, workflows—to productionize the whole process of making our collections information available. So we did. And it was great.

The Information Age (c. 2015): We decided to build a new collections website. And we began to discover how far we still had to go.This presentation will focus on that last period: the process we’re currently in to totally rebuild our collections website, and what that’s showing us about our “standard” collections metadata and images. With nearly 40,000 objects from our collection digitized, we’re looking at what else we need to do to ensure robust and reusable data going forward—and considering the possible need to go back and modify those 40,000 records as well.For example, just one new feature, automated ecommerce for collections images, requires a complete overhaul of the way we format, edit, organize, and deliver images (as well as video and audio). Building support for new types of multimedia (3D models, 360-degree photography) requires yet further data structure and workflow extensions, and redesigning collections records brings up additional questions. Are our object titles too long? Can credit lines be appropriately displayed in a visual-forward presentation? How do we support multimedia at appropriate varying resolutions for phone, tablet, or desktop users?

This presentation will take the challenges The Henry Ford faced in using its existing collections data structure to create a completely new collections website, and distill those into advice (and cautions) for other institutions that may be looking to overhaul their digital collections site.

avatar for Scott Sayre

Scott Sayre

Chief Digital Officer, Corning Museum of Glass
Chief Digital Officer at the Corning Museum of Glass, I am responsible for developing new strategies for and overseeing the Museum’s digital program onsite and online, including the Museum’s website and in-gallery digital applications. I am also an MCN Board Member and liasion... Read More →

avatar for Ellice Engdahl

Ellice Engdahl

Digital Collections & Content Manager, The Henry Ford

Thursday November 5, 2015 2:30pm - 3:00pm
Nokomis Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403
Friday, November 6


Building a Multi-Site Calendar
Facing a rapidly approaching deadline to replace aging technology and needing to produce a calendar that delivers event information for 26 historic sites and museums, the Minnesota Historical Society created a custom solution that combined existing tools and new ideas.

In about 2003, the web team built a custom solution that allowed the marketing team to manage event data without much assistance from the technical side. The calendar had a few glitches, but served MNHS well for years.

However, at the end of 2014, the tools being used were aging out and a new solution needed to be found, requiring quick action and cooperation among a wide number of departments with sometimes competing interests.

MNHS implemented a solution, mnhs.org/calendar, that combines its existing website content management system (Drupal) and a custom API for data storage and access. The new calendar provides an updated look, responsive design, filtering, and promotional space as well as a new admin interface. A welcome outcome was the cooperation and teamwork among departments that emerged when facing a tight deadline.


Crystal Mulry

Web Project Manager, Minnesota Historical Society


Meleck Davis

Designer, Minnesota Historical Society
avatar for Morgan L'Argent

Morgan L'Argent

Web Bricoleur, Minnesota Historical Society

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


Mn Artists' Relaunch: How Rebuilding a Digital Community Served to Reboot a Real Community
Mn Artists is a community of artists, their activities, and conversations; it is a digital community that is also a functioning panorama of the Upper Midwest’s real art community. Housed within the Education and Public Programs department of the Walker Art Center, the autonomy of this program enables it the hybrid space within the intersection between institution and the artistic community, creating welcome environment where working artists, their digital assets, arts publishing, and live programs are hosted by the museum, and serve to reciprocate audiences of both constituencies.

The software infrastructure and taxonomy of mnartists.org are organized such that the site mirrors both the cultural content and sub-communities of a real arts scene. mnartists.org offers browsing filters for content types (i.e. Articles, Artists, Artwork, Events, Opportunities, Organizations) that make it possible for artists to insert themselves in and pursue all aspects of an artistic career with the support of this museum-created platform - from producing and sharing work, to applying to opportunities, to attending events, to reading review and topical issues, to meeting with other artists in person and then bringing those aspirations to the studio to start the cycle over gain. Just like in real life, we know that artists aren’t limited by one artistic discipline, and the new mnartists.org is built with community and content filters to be used in combination, allowing for browsing that more accurate to conventional artistic disciplines.Mn Artists’ programmatic structure allows for a fluid oscillation between online and offline offerings. Starting in January 2015, Mn Artists introduced a new live series in five event formats that, together, delve into issues of digital participation, arts journalism, as well as practical and topical issues pertinent to working artists. These programs bring artists and cultural producers together to talk candidly about issues relevant across artistic fields, asking questions like, ‘What’s the difference between and community and a network?’ ‘Do artists need a digital strategy?’ ‘Does the documentation of work in the arts have a life of its own online?’ ‘Does the local matter when you’re writing for a borderless, digital audience?’

Intrinsic to Mn Artists programs, is our commissioned arts journalism, which brings topical issues and real conversation occurring in our arts community to a nationally visible, digital platform. The arts writing published by mnartists.org incorporates a wide range of voices, from respected critics and academics to emerging artists and writers, who have opportunity to craft their published pieces and build a voice with the benefit of in-depth, hands-on editorial support. Our articles offer in-depth coverage of relevant issues in artistic practice and offer insights into the region’s cultural life to a wide audience of readers, by way of thoughtful reviews, features, profiles, and topical columns.A digital ecosystem plaited with a living, artistic regional ecosystem, Mn Artists offers a full complement of new tools, resources, editorial content and programming, online and off, intended to inform, promote, and connect Midwestern art and artists, cultural organizations and audiences well into the future.

Mn Artists Program Director, Jehra Patrick, will share the new platform’s story post-relaunch: how the rebuild project is working to not only rebuilding a digital platform, but to rebuild cultural conversations and artistic merit by re-investing a real community through outreach, professional development tools, and regional journalism. This presentation will share new features -well-suited for replication in other, like-minded arts communities - offer highlights from the dissemination process, and opportunities and challenges in reinvesting an art museum and an art community in a digital program.

avatar for Jehra Patrick

Jehra Patrick

Program Director, Mn Artists
As Program Director for Mn Artists, I support Minnesota’s art community through an open digital community and artistic programs and partnerships. Through my work with Mn Artists, I've produced numerous public programs for artists to expand their definitions for digital participation... Read More →

Friday November 6, 2015 9:30am - 9:45am
Nokomis Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403


Spatial Evolution of the State Historical Museum: Bringing the Physical and the Digital Together
My PhD research is focused on the spatial history of the State Historical museum (Moscow, Russia). With 5 million objects in its collection it is one of the largest museums in the world. Being located in the city centre, more precisely, on the Red Square, it could become the most popular in Moscow, however, it is far from it. What are the reasons? And can the digital media somehow help?

Today the SHM and its departments are located in four historical buildings (including the iconic St Basil's cathedral), which makes it quite challenging to explain this complex structure to our visitors and followers. We have three interconnected pages on Facebook, two Instagram accounts, and a Twitter account, where we promote the buildings and describe the surrounding areas, so that people can navigate between these departments.

In order to promote the SHM and its interiors, we invited popular Russian Instagram bloggers to take part in the #empty project. Here you can find some of the photos.My PhD research is still in progress, and one of my current tasks is to develop content for a mobile application that reveals the stories about spatial transformations thus helping visitors to engage with the museum interiors.We are going to use the following methods to bring the physical and the digital together:provide noticeable, yet minimalistic in-gallery signs about SHM social media accountsdevelop a series of engaging posters to involve people in online conversations about the exhibits by using special hashtags create a mobile app which will explain the complex history of museum space thus helping to understand its certain elements. As it can be seen from the past MuseumNext 2015 and Museums and the Web 2014 conferences, spatial transformations have become a new topic to be discussed within the museum sector. I hope that by presenting the case study from Russia I can make a contribution to the international museum practices.

avatar for Anna Mikhaylova

Anna Mikhaylova

Social Media manager, State Historical Museum
I am a third year full time PhD student at the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, the UK. My research is focused on the history of spatial transformations of the State Historical museum (Moscow, Russia), and I've been the SHM’s social media manager since April 2013... Read More →

Friday November 6, 2015 9:30am - 9:45am
Minnetonka Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403


Watermill Center: Library of Inspiration
The Watermill Center was founded by the American artist Robert Wilson as a Laboratory for Performance. Resident artists and scholars create experimental works in a unique environment, living and working alongside a collection of art and artifacts spanning the history of humankind.

We borrow language from the science laboratory to describe what happens here – incubate, experiment, research. Our new library design supports these dynamic pursuits. A new building will expand our fluid research, exhibition, and performance spaces. A robust digital library will support and amplify this multidisciplinary environment where artists and visitors learn by doing.

Our digital initiative describes projects created on site within the context of: a collection of global art and artifacts; a digital archive documenting new works created on site; the archives of artist Robert Wilson and his collaborators; and a supporting research collection of books, media, and online databases.The Watermill Center itself operates as a work of art, one that is constantly changing as new objects are added to the collection and rearranged. In this site-specific installation, many unexpected narratives arise. We aim to promote this experience of discovery and surprise in our organization of the library online.

Rather than silo the information describing each of these collections, we are creating dynamic links to allow for creative relationships and exploration. To this end, we have developed local ontologies and are testing tools for discovery. We describe both performance works and objects in CollectionSpace, an open source collection management system. Community feedback has contributed a new scheme which allows us to track the use of collections. From CollectionSpace, we are syncing to a rich collection of digital images which amplify the works described. These are managed within Piction, a digital asset management.

We are still working in the data and systems design phase of our project. A future goal is to add an interactive design layer to allow participants to arrange and annotate content. Visual browsing and associations will be our normative method of search. At The Watermill Center, there is a clear and formal structure. Within that structure, everything changes. Everything is possible.

avatar for Deb Verhoff

Deb Verhoff

Project Manager, Digital Projects, New York University

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


The Future Is Static: Building Future-Proof Digital Publications at the Getty
Museum technologists occupy an uncomfortable intersection between two very different timeframes. The pace of technological change is constantly accelerating, while museums are concerned with preserving the past. This problem is thrown into sharp relief when we talk about digital publishing in art history and related fields.

Scholarly discussions unfold over decades – but when is the last time you have used a 20-year-old piece of software? How many of the files and formats currently in use will be accessible to scholars 20, 30, or 50 years in the future? One potential solution may sound paradoxical: in order to ensure future accessibility of our content, we should look back to the roots of the Web as it was originally envisioned: a linked collection of static, human-readable documents constructed according to a set of open standards.

In this talk, I hope to outline how a modern digital publishing workflow can utilize the benefits of current technology while delivering content in a format that should remain accessible decades from now.

This “invisible architecture” for publishing includes the following tools:

- The Markdown syntax for semantic, presentation-agnostic content
- Jekyll, an open-source tool for generating static websites, dynamically
- Git, open-source version control software
- Octavo, a new tool created by Getty publications to streamline this process and generate digital books in multiple formats from a single source

By ditching proprietary software (Adobe, Microsoft, Apple, etc.) in favor of open-source tools, I believe we can best serve authors and readers of future generations, while still providing a dynamic and engaging experience for users right now. For digital publishing in the museum world, the future is static.


Amy Heibel

VP, Technology, Web and Digital Media, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

avatar for Eric Gardner

Eric Gardner

Digital Publications Developer, J. Paul Getty Museum
Designer and developer. Imagining the future of art publications at the Getty Museum. Passionate about user-centered design, eloquent code, and open-source.

Friday November 6, 2015 3:15pm - 3:45pm
Minnetonka Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403


WordPress as Museum Web CMS: Development and Content Strategy
A look at three Museums using WordPress as their primary web CMS. Glance under the hood at implementations for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, and the Clyfford Still Museum.

Panelists will discuss how the each institution's needs are manifested in code. What’s the same and what’s different; what’s off-the-shelf, and what’s custom? We'll also consider WordPress’ impact on content strategy. What workflows does it enable; and what approaches fit with different institutional structures?


Amy Heibel

VP, Technology, Web and Digital Media, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

avatar for Marty Spellerberg

Marty Spellerberg

Founder, Spellerberg Associates
I'm a designer/developer of museum websites and am opening an art project space in Austin, Texas.
avatar for Sarah Wambold

Sarah Wambold

Director of Digital Media, Clyfford Still Museum
As the Director of Digital Media at the Clyfford Still Museum, I oversee digital media production and strategy for the organization. With more than a decade of experience working in and for art museums and cultural nonprofits, I've led technical and creative teams for website redesigns... Read More →

Friday November 6, 2015 3:45pm - 4:15pm
Minnetonka Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403


Moving on from Flash: How to Use HTML5 to Build Engaging In-gallery Media Experiences
If you entered a museum 10 years ago, you could make a pretty safe bet that most of the in-gallery interactive media experiences had been developed in Flash. Today, Flash has entered in its dotage. New developers are not likely to be familiar with its systems, and its developer, Adobe, has refocused the tool as an animation suite instead of an application development environment. So what’s a museum developer to do? Fortunately, developers today are faced with a bevy of new tools, previously reserved for the web alone. These often get discussed under the moniker HTML5, but represent many specific technologies such as HTML, CSS, Javascript, and NodeJS, to name a few.

In this presentation we will review the technical challenges in using these technologies to drive engaging museum kiosks, digital signage, and media theaters. We will feature examples of open source technology used by the Science Museum of Minnesota in its own exhibitions, and in the media it develops for partner museums around the country. This presentation won’t teach you how to program in these languages. Instead, it will focus specifically on the ways that these tools can best be used in the unique technical landscape of the museum environment.

Kiosking the browser:
One of the key principles of using web technologies, is that the visitor is using the application through a browser. The majority of popular browsers developed today (Chrome, Safari, Firefox) are not ideal for a focused museum media presentation. We will discuss options for building kiosk-able browser experiences, highlighting several options including SMM’s own open source tool, Stele (https://github.com/scimusmn/stele), which is built on top of the Chrome web-browser; Electron, a cross-platform app builder for HTML and Node Webkit.

Custom interface devices:
When thinking about using HTML5 it’s important that we don’t limit ourselves to the staid old mouse and keyboard. Museum visitors expect immersive experiences where media is driven by unique interface devices including: touch screens, buttons, and even interaction with room based sensors. In this section of the presentation we will discuss techniques for using simple keyboard encoders and Arduino microcontrollers to interface with HTML5 applications to engage the visitor through these unique interfaces.

Design and animation:
For HTML5 to be a successful Flash successor it must be as an expressive design tool. We will discuss some of the libraries for Javascript and CSS that give designers the ability to create beautiful museum media, highlighting displays developed utilizing the D3.js visualization library, and showcasing some animation using animate.css. And, we will even talk about how Flash can still be a useful part of the equation.

Opportunities for museum research and evaluation:
One of the key elements of the modern web is access to rich user analytics. We know how many times elements of our websites have been clicked, and often by who. However, we often don’t have this same data about how people use museum media experiences. If we do it’s generally from direct observations of museum visitors. While this direct observation is critical and should never be replaced, web technologies have the prospect to augment our research and evaluation practice with in-gallery analytics. We will highlight several ways for developers to build analytics into their HTML5 museum experiences to better understand how visitors react to the copy, designs, imagery, and messages of the media that we are developing for our exhibits. We will also highlight some easy systems for visualizing this data once it is collected.

The SMM Media Design group has been developing the majority of its in-gallery media experiences utilizing HTML5 based systems for the last 4 years now. The conolude we will highlight some of the mistakes that we’ve made along the way. We’ll discuss where we still face challenges. And talk about what we see on the horizon.

avatar for Leifur Björn Björnsson

Leifur Björn Björnsson

Co-founder, Locatify
A founder of Locatify; a privately held Icelandic company who offers a platform (Creator CMS) to publish location aware content to mobile branded apps. Customers create guided tours or treasure hunt games for indoor and outdoor use on a mobile device – powered by iBeacon and GPS... Read More →

avatar for Bryan Kennedy

Bryan Kennedy

Director, Museum Technology, Science Museum of Minnesota

Friday November 6, 2015 4:30pm - 5:00pm
Harriet Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403
Saturday, November 7


Conference as Publishing, or Expanding a Digital Arts Journalism Conference Online
In late May 2015, 300 art critics, bloggers, journalists, artists, publishers, and art enthusiasts will convene in Minneapolis for Superscript: Arts Journalism & Criticism in a Digital Age, a conference presented by the Walker and Mn Artists. As an institution heralded for its publishing efforts—from exhibition catalogues to our virtual Living Collections Catalogue, the regional arts site Mn Artists to the editorially focused Walker homepage—the Walker is creating this gathering as a forum to consider the current challenges and possible futures for online arts publishing.

In planning a gathering explicitly about the Internet, we've been grappling with a question: how can we prize our audiences—both onsite and online—so that we create both a dynamic, engaging, and important conference and a robust, accessible, ongoing discussion for audiences online? In short, how can Superscript transcend its “conferenceness” to become something more? And what if we conceive that "more" as part of a broader publishing endeavor?

For an MCN case study, I’d like to present the results of our efforts, including:
* Live webstreaming of all conference events, plus searchable video archive of events following the conference.
* Responsive blogging: the Superscript Blog Mentorship program, presented in partnership with Hyperallergic, will feature three emerging bloggers, selected from an open call, who’ll create live reports on Superscript—from conference proceedings to interviews with speakers or attendees, commentary from attendees to issues pieces inspired by conference presenters. Guided by three professional editors, bloggers will create posts for publication on the Walker blogs and at Mn Artists, and each writer will create an in-depth piece for publication on Hyperallergic.
* Twitter Q&A: whether on-site or online, audience members can participate in dialogue with presenters through Twitter.
* Live stenography: For journalists and the hearing impaired, a stenographer will record the entirety of the conference in an ever-changing live document.
* Virtual/actual film premiere: Walker-commissioned short films by artists Moyra Davey and Jim Richards will see their world premieres at Superscript, with synched screenings in the Walker Cinema and online on the Walker Channel, as well as a live Q&A with the artists.
* Open Facebook group: We’re running an open group, both as a platform conference attendees can use to familiarize themselves with each other and with Superscript’s ideas, and as a way to invite interested non-attendees into an ongoing conversation about the present challenges and possible futures for digital arts journalism and criticism. We hope the page will live beyond the conference as a locus of thinking (and linking) about how the Internet is changing the ways we view, understand, report on, and critique the arts.
* Superscript Reader: We’ve commissioned a diverse array of writers and thinkers to create 10 online essays on themes related to the conference, but featuring ideas not represented on stage. Topics range from the democratizing effects of the Internet for critics of color and the how Instagram affects architectural tourism to ways artists are using digital space to redraw a geography of the cultural center. The aim is to have a richer, more accessible discussion for online audiences, unique from but complementing that which we’ll host during the conference’s three days in May—not to mention free for anyone with Internet access.

avatar for Emmet Byrne

Emmet Byrne

Design Director, Walker Art Center
avatar for Paul Schmelzer

Paul Schmelzer

Web Editor, Walker Art Center

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


Making Hidden Collections Visible: Artists’ Books Canada
The special collections of an institution, including archives, rare books, artists’ books, ephemera, and permanent collections, unless regularly on display, are often hidden and locked away from visitors. The forthcoming digital map and reference tool, Artists’ Books Canada, hopes to reach, engage, and educate audiences about the amazing book art collections close to home and across the country. Artists’ books are an increasingly popular collecting area for institutions. However, these works of art realized in the form of a ‘book’ also pose considerable challenges in the areas of cataloguing, access, and promotion. Consequently, for users, these collections tend to be relatively unknown and difficult to access, brought about by cataloguing inconsistencies and inaccessible physical browsing. Artists’ Books Canada is a comprehensive online resource that maps and describes artists’ books collections that each Canadian museum, library, gallery, centre, etc. provides access to. It offers a chance to acknowledge, promote, and offer greater visibility to the oft-hidden and difficult-to navigate artists’ books collections across Canada.

Designed to deepen an understanding of what our institutions have to offer, the tool will include general information about each collection, collection focus, search techniques for locating these materials, what visitors should expect when they visit, as well as contact information and additional links. While this case study focuses on a digital tool for artists’ books, this strategy can be used for many types of collections. I will explain the motivations of creating this resource, the goals of the project, and my progress to date. I hope to share my experiences and challenges of creating this type of interactive research tool with the intent of stimulating discussions on outreach strategies for special collections.

avatar for Nicole Lovenjak

Nicole Lovenjak

Librarian/Archivist, Dayton Art Institute

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


The Death of the Enhanced Publication Has Been Exaggerated
No, 1995 didn't just call and want its "digital future of the book" back. The term "enhanced publication" has never really shrugged off the stigma of the CD-ROM with a book's text paired with some videos and maybe a game or two. More recent attempts to create digital versions of print publications have been dismissed as not mobile enough, skeumorphic, whatevs. But what if the problem wasn't technology but the right institutional mindset? Any technology, applied with the right internal connections and external partnerships, can help a museum bridge old and new audiences and make its stories relevant now and in the future.

The Met's newest digital publication, an enhanced version of its still-popular quarterly print Bulletin, is more than just a print product crammed into a digital container. It represents a long effort to preserve the spirit of print but the connections of digital--connections to our audiences, our members, and between departments inside the institution. The two project leads will present the enhanced digital Bulletin as the visible tip of a framework of connection and partnership spanning the museum and its wide-ranging visitorship and membership as well as a gateway to link the print and digital products that our audiences want. Sometimes the best connections are already happening inside your building.

avatar for Robert Weisberg

Robert Weisberg

Senior Project Manager, Editorial, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Print technologist. Digital analogolist. Hybrid workflowologist. Mediating all of the above.

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


Transforming Curriculum: Building a Digital Textbook
The exploding world of technology in schools has changed how schools access content and curriculum. How do you turn a successful physical print textbook for 6th graders into an interactive digital experience that works on all devices?

This was the issue faced by the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) as we prepared to publish a Revised Second Edition of the popular textbook, Northern Lights, designed for 6th grade Minnesota Studies classes. The print book had been very successful over the last 20 years, and the revisions were exciting. Yet, we knew we had to move towards a digital delivery of the curriculum. School districts were asking for more and more digital content as they quickly started to incorporate technology in the classrooms.

The print book was published in 2013, but the process of developing the Northern Lights Interactive eBook started well before that with more than three years of research and development. MNHS staff research how schools were integrating technology, including device choice, digital curriculum products, and pedagogy. Staff investigated the K-12 business model, which is very different than the consumer market. We researched and prototyped numerous delivery platforms, weighing our requirements, which included key pedagogical features based on teacher input, level of technology expertise required to build, ability to fit the business model, and could be completed in a very short time frame. The first phase of the project launched in August, 2014. The eBook was updated in July 2015 with new content and revisions based on teacher and student input.

This Case Study presentation will walk through the factors that went into the platform decision and demonstrate key features that significantly enhance the content that are possible only in a digital space. We will also discuss ongoing evaluation, technical issues, content updates and teacher support.

avatar for Shana Crosson

Shana Crosson

Academic Technologist, University of Minnesota
I am passionate about how technology can to create and enhance learning experiences that reach students with all learning styles.

Saturday November 7, 2015 9:45am - 10:00am
Harriet Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403


Evaluating Storyteller WWI: Love & Sorrow at Melbourne Museum
In this presentation Becky will discuss the mobile application "Storyteller" made to accompany the World War One themed "Love & Sorrow" exhibition at Melbourne Museum. Opened in July 2014 the mobile application was an ambitious project telling the stories of eight people and the way their lives were impacted by the First World War. Designed to work across both iOS and Android devices, with limited content upon download and an unlocking of character content only available once the visitor made it onsite to Melbourne Museum not only did the application have to provide a dense amount of multimedia content it also had to work with onsite infrastructure, indoor location and content arriving from multiple management systems within the Museum's intranet.

As digital producer on the project Becky will share her insights from creative inspiration, collaborating with third party developers (Art Processors) and technical challenges that were overcome. After being live for over twelve months now she will also look back at the reception post launch. From a technical perspective this presentation will discuss working with external developers, working with multiple internal departments within the Museum, iOS and Android application development and deployment and Raspberry Pi hacking.

avatar for Becky Sui Zhen Freeman

Becky Sui Zhen Freeman

Producer, Art Processors
Becky Sui Zhen Freeman is the producer for Art Processors, a company that designs and develops visitor centric mobile experiences for cultural institutions. In her former role as Multimedia Coordinator for Museum Victoria’s Love & Sorrow exhibition, Becky produced the Storyteller... Read More →


Scott Brewer

Co-CEO and Co-Founder, Art Processors

Saturday November 7, 2015 10:15am - 10:45am
Minnetonka Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403


In Next Week’s Episode…: Serializing the Online Exhibit

Although user-generated content continues to be a buzzword in online exhibition, it often amounts to nothing more than a glorified talkback board. Comments or stories are collected, but they are rarely integrated with curatorial content.  We say we want to involve the public in telling their own stories, but by the time we give them an opportunity to participate, we’ve already written their story, printed the panels, designed the website, etc. However, the public often holds valuable information that could improve or even change the narrative of our exhibitions.

How can we create a more inclusive approach to historical storytelling? How can we better integrate user-generated content into our exhibits?  How do we find these users?   How do we sustain interest in project that may need time to change or evolve?  

In trying to determine answers to these questions, consultant Elizabeth Hansen is partnering with the Texas Archive of the Moving to explore new approaches to the online exhibition of film.  Using an episodic approach, the organization plans to roll out thematic content on a weekly basis allowing users to contribute and change the exhibit story as it develops.

Although these stories will have a global reach, a series of on-the-ground activities and events will work to sustain local interest in the stories and to discover new contributors.  Locals will encounter the exhibit in places outside the web through the distribution of artworks, record albums, public performances and other curiosity building activities as well as partnerships with local media.

In this presentation, Elizabeth Hansen (Elizabeth Hansen Museum, Media and History Services) and Madeline Moya (Texas Archive of the Moving Image)  will share their approaches to the projects, the tools they will be utilizing and their progress thus far.  They will also be looking for input from the MCN community on how to improve the unfolding project.

avatar for Elizabeth Hansen

Elizabeth Hansen

Principal, Elizabeth Hansen Museum, Media and History Services
I am interested in media, museum, archives, digital engagement, and public programming. I also love talking about 80s country music and college radio.
avatar for Madeline Moya

Madeline Moya

Managing Director, Texas Archive of the Moving Image
Film preservation!

Saturday November 7, 2015 10:45am - 11:15am
Minnetonka Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403


Digital Publishing: Taking the Plunge and How to Keep Swimming
Digital publishing is not just a trend anymore but now an everyday reality that many institutions are tackling on various levels and in various forms. Four museums will come together and talk about their transformations into the digital publishing world, presenting a variety of perspectives and projects, from choosing the platform that’s right for your institution to measuring success after the project is launched in addition to challenges and changes in workflows.

About each presentation:

Nasher Sculpture Center: This year the Nasher Sculpture Center decided to publish its first digital-only publication. With a lean staff and no designated publishing department, the shift proved to be challenging. We were full of questions - How do we manage this transition from print to digital? What new content opportunities will it present? Will our target audience be receptive? We mitigated the obstacles by deciding to start small before scaling up and exploring the current state of digital publishing. It led to the discovery of a few platforms like OSCI (Art Institute of Chicago) and Verso (MIA). With trailblazing institutions and existing platforms to choose from which proved to be the best fit for our staff and our audience at this momentous time?

The Getty: In April 2015, the Getty Research Institute published its first born-digital scholarly publication, Pietro Mellini’s Inventory in Verse, 1681. The design for this publication is bespoke, in part because it is among the first of its kind, and because it explores an idiosyncratic object. During the process of creating this publication, we asked ourselves if we could reuse any of the methods for future publications. No one wants to reinvent the wheel, but in digital publishing the wheel hasn’t been fully invented yet. We will discuss how we used user experience (UX) approaches to test prototypes with scholars, and iterate in order to ensure the publication met the audience’s needs. We will also discuss challenges of editing born-digital content, and explain how we used a hybrid editorial process that was between print publication and web content development methods.

The Art Institute of Chicago: By November 2015, the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) will have published 5 digital scholarly catalogues. The publications were born out of the Getty Foundation’s Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI) in 2009. The AIC published their first two beta catalogue entries in 2011 and their first two full catalogues in the summer of 2014. Now, six years after first launching our digital scholarly catalogue program, we are in the process of evaluating the success of this initiative. How do our initial goals compare to our current measurements of success? Our publications are out there, free and available to anyone, but how do we recruit readership and create a marketplace for our publications? And in terms of readership, how do we ensure a quality user experience when it comes to scholarly research in the digital realm?

Minneapolis Institute of Arts: By November 2015, the MIA will have published at least 12 issues of Verso, an award-winning, multi-media, interactive magazine for tablet. Published using Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite (DPS), the MIA is evaluating how best to measure the success of Verso (or any digital pub), and where to go next with digital publishing. Metrics/analytics provide an overwhelming amount of information about digital publications—download numbers, time spent with content, global reach, etc. But what do these numbers tell us about our efforts? The answers to these questions lead to a conversation that is less about comparing digital publishing platforms and numbers, and more about how best to engage with readers/users using the digital space. This requires publishers to think about digital publishing as not just content distribution, but also as an audience engagement tool—a way to foster connection, conversation, and relationships.

avatar for Susan Edwards

Susan Edwards

Associate Director, Digital Content, Hammer Museum
Digital engagement, digital experience strategy, digital publishing, and games.
avatar for Jacques Haba

Jacques Haba

Digital Media Manager, Nasher Sculpture Center
avatar for Ahree Lee

Ahree Lee

Senior UX Designer, J. Paul Getty Trust
avatar for Lauren Makholm

Lauren Makholm

Production Coordinator, The Art Institute of Chicago
avatar for Tina Shah

Tina Shah

Senior Web Applications Developer, The Art Institute of Chicago
avatar for Kris Thayer

Kris Thayer

Sr. Designer, Minneapolis Institute of Art
Multi-media, interactive, long-form digital storytelling!

Saturday November 7, 2015 11:30am - 12:30pm
Nokomis Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403