MW2007 Web 2.0 Web metrics

M&W07 – Day two:Peacock & Brownbill on audiences, visitors, and users

Because of timetable clashes I missed Darren Peacock and Johnny Brownbill’s presentation on the evaluation work that has gone into the forthcoming redevelopment of the Museum Victoria website.

Their hybrid model of ‘integrated analysis’ of a museum website is a solid approach that addresses many of the holes in other more traditional models. Of course it has to be seen whether this new means of analysis can produce a better website down the track.

(from Peacock & Brownbill)

Collection databases Folksonomies Metadata Web 2.0

M&W07 – Day two: Rjiksmuseum & CHIP

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and several Dutch universities have been working on an exciting collection project which uses ratings and user profiles to recommend art to users. Whilst I was a little sceptical of their ‘ratings’ (1 to 5 stars) as a means of describing art, the recommendation tools and prototype interface were fascinating. Also exciting was the means by which they exposed the ‘recommendations’ – ‘You are recommended these because . . . ” is very reminiscent of Amazon’s additions of the last few years.

Most of all, though, the most striking thing about the CHIP was the ability for the user to generate a printable/downloadable map customised to show them their favourite and recommended artworks. This high level of integration between the onsite recommendations and the gallery floor is something we are thinking a lot about at the Powerhouse Museum in our OPAC project – especially for use at our Castle Hill open storage facility.

Collection databases Folksonomies MW2007 Web 2.0

M&W07 – Day two: Tagging & Tracking / OPAC2.2

Thanks to all who came to my paper presentation.

The paper is online over at Archimuse or if you are attending it is also in the printed proceedings (which is a little easier to read on public transport). You can also download my slides but bear in mind they need to be viewed in conjunction with the paper itself.

Apologies to the questioner who asked why we don’t allow logins to let people keep track of the tags they have added. It was a good question which I rather abruptly passed over. The problem with logins is that they raise another barrier to participation – at least at this early stage. Whilst I understand that some power users would then get the ability to create a ‘MyTags personalisation’, the risk of deterring other users is high – I’d liken the power user to casual user ratio as probably being 1 in 100, if not more. At the moment I think we have the balance right with tagging and we are still analysing the usage – remembering that they are more for navigation and discovery than for descriptive purposes (unlike, say, an art museum). We might add that at a later stage however.

Thanks to Ian Johnson for the great suggestion about adding a ‘do you really want to delete that tag’ dialog to the tag deletion to prevent accidental deletion. We will implement that pretty much straight away I think.

Interactive Media MW2007 Social networking Web 2.0 Young people & museums

M&W07 – Day two: SecondLife

Richard Urban delivered an entertaining but technology-bug plagued presentation on museums in SecondLife. Richard’s paper was full of good examples of real and user-created museums that have sprung up in SL and again asked the question of whether museums should be dipping their toes in the SL waters. If you are curious then Richard’s presentation is a good introduction and a solid overview of what is possible and how you might do it.

When combined with the Exploratorium’s SL pioneers Rothfarb and Doherty and their workshop there is a good body of museum-centric introductory information out there, along with Nina Simon and Jim Spadaccini’s previous work on SL.

Interactive Media Museum blogging MW2007 Social networking Web 2.0 Young people & museums

M&W07 – Day two: Web2.0, EyeLevel, Brooklyn Museum, Science Museum UK

The Web2.0 stream began with Jeff Gates from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s EyeLevel blog. Discussing EyeLevel, Gates explained their cautious but highly successful approach to getting blogging activated within a large and venerable organisation like the Smithsonian.

Before gong public EyeLevel was used internally for two months with sample posts and comments within SAAM to ensure that they had got the workflow for the blog sorted out. Their workflow, which continues today is that posts are suggested, discussed by the web team, drafted, then rewritten where necessary. All posts are then edited by the publications unit, and require individual approval by the Director before going live. They use Basecamp for the drafting and discussion (which is a nice way doing things).

Whilst this approval model brings delays and limits their ability to do quick response posts it brings great clarity to the roles of each blog team member which has helped keep the blog sustainable. Also, by defining and articulating their blog policy internally prior to launch EyeLevel has been able to maintain “authenticity and transparency” with their readership without being dragged into being overly promotional. That said, part of he rationale for establishing EyeLevel was to help expose their long tail of collection and online content, and to build a strong connection between web visits and bricks and mortar visitation.

The Brooklyn Museum team presented their very inspirational work in engaging their communities through the use of Flickr and MySpace. They were at pains to point out that before the web the Brooklyn Museum was already very heavily oriented as a museum belonging to and integrated with the local community. It was also already highly interactive. They showed their public graffiti wall within an exhibition on street art and graffiti, and it was from this exhibition that they started using Flickr as a way of documenting the use of the wall. By using Flickr they were able to connect to other images of graffiti around Brooklyn and connect with the Flickr community. Likewise they have used Flickr to pull in public images of the Brooklyn Bridge.

From this point they moved to establish a main navigational node on their website titled ‘community’. This uses Flickr and YouTube APIs to pull in user generated content from those other external sources to the Brooklyn Museum site based on user tags. They also established a comments gallery which is user-moderated, and most excitingly, replaced all their paper comment forms with kiosks in the galleries for visitors to type their comments directly in. By doing this they have removed the distinction between the comments of in-gallery visitors and web visitors – ALL are visitors.

The final presentation was from Mike Ellis at the Science Museum in London. Mike talked about ways of navigating the institutional barriers to implementing Web2.0. He pretty much addressed each of the major concerns of those outside of web teams – do the users want it?, issues of voice and authority, technical impediments with small teams, resourcing and cost, and legals.

Copyright/OCL Digitisation MW2007 Web 2.0

M&W07 – Day two: Brewster Kahle

Museums & the Web is very big this year. There must be nearly 1000 people here and there is a good buzz in between sessions.

Today opened with an entertaining and motivational opening plenary from Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive. Kahle talked about the Internet Archive disucssing the various types of media it is digitising and making openly accessible, for free, using open standards. The big stumbling block is rights.

Starting with books he gave some interesting figures on digitisation costs. The archive is scanning 12,000 books per month over three locations (USA, Canada and the UK). It costs about $0.10 per page to do scanning, OCR, PDFing, file transfer and permanent storage (forever). Distribution problems are being solved by print on demand which costs as little as $0.01 per page and is being rolled out through mobile digital book buses in Uganda, India and China with print on demand. Kahle handed around some samples of the print on demand titles and they were of acceptable quality and had proper covers. He also handed around one of the 300 prototype $100 laptops from MIT which was pretty cool with a great hi-res screen which makes the concept of a low-cost, developing-world-friendly e-book reader viable.

Audio recordings are costing $10 per CD or roughly $10 per hour of recording. Internet Archive will host forever, and for free. Video recordings are slightly more at $15 per hour. They have also been recording broadcast television, 20 channels worldwide, 24/7. Only one week is available online so far – that of 9/11. They have also started on software archiving but are stymied by the DMCA.

The Wayback Machine (web archive) is snapshotting every two months at 100 terrabytes of storage per snapshot. Interestingly he quoted the average webpage changes or is deleted every 100 days making regular archiving critical.

Kahle emphasised the importance of public institutions doing digitisation in open formats rather than the exclusivity of GoogleBooks deals. His catchall warning for museums was “public or perish” which is a great start to the conference.

Interactive Media Museum blogging MW2007 Web 2.0

M&W07 – Other workshops: mashups and blogging

M&W07 is already causing timetable clashes! Running simultaneously with my workshop were many other excellent workshops. Two colleagues have posted their workshop slides and notes online as well.

The team at Walker Art Center ran their Beyond blogging: is it a community yet?. They have posted some rather extensive and excellent notes for their session which give a great overview of museum blogging, all the necessary technical details to get you started if you aren’t already, tips to improve your blog, as well as rationales to sell the concept of blogging to your colleagues. All of this is accessible through their nifty wiki (the only downside of the wiki being the inability to print or read the whole thing flattened on one long page)

Jim Spadaccini and his Ideum cohorts ran a workshop outlining the processes and practises of making mashups. Ideum has done a lot of work with mashups and is a great advocate of their use within museums – especially as a way of more easily making the type of rich media, geotagged experience that impresses everyone but can nowadays be done on a shoestring with a bit of nouse. Jim has uploaded his slides for the workshop which explain and deconstruct some of the recent mashup work done by Ideum.

MW2007 Web 2.0

M&W07 – Planning for Social Media in Museums workshop

Angelina Russo, Jerry Watkins and I have just finished presenting our Planning for Social Media in Museums workshop.

The slides for those who came are packaged as a PDF for download.

The workshop was designed to get people thinking about ways of planning for and overcoming the hurdles that inevitably need to be negotiated when deploying social media technologies to meet a strategic objective within a museum.

Collection databases Web 2.0 Web metrics

OPAC2.2 – New look and new features on our collection database

Today we have also made live a slightly enhanced version of our collection database search.

You will notice a few useful cosmetic usability tweaks such as the tabbed navigation bar at the top which allows you to quickly get to the tag cloud and the top level of category browsing. We did this to make it easier for users who landed on an object to be able to get access to the tags and categories, as well as the search. We have also removed the tag cloud and category browser from the front page and prettied it up with a few selected objects which can act as entry points.

Under the hood we have done some optimising of the ‘related searches’ and also improved the ability for searching for foreign characters which we noticed weren’t previously searchable. We have also added a stack of new images (with still many more to come) and quite a few new acquisitions.

My paper (Tagging and Searching – Serendipity and museum collection databases) for Museums & the Web 2007 which gives a background to the OPAC project and presents some preliminary results from our ever growing datastore is now online.

Those who will be present for the paper in San Francisco will get an updated set of statistics as well as quite a bit of material that couldn’t be fitted into the written version.

Young people & museums

Play at Powerhouse – a new website for children

Today we launched our new website aimed at children under 8 and their parents and carers. Play at Powerhouse. The site contains information for visiting the Powerhouse Museum with children; and extension materials, activities and games to engage children at home, around themes of science and design.

The team has done a lot of work in reducing the volume of information contained on the main Powerhouse Museum website, simplifying and targeting it at the site’s audience; not to mention the design and construction of stacks of activities.

This is just stage one. We have three more online games coming in the next two months as well as around thirty new ‘at home’ activities.

The site complements and promotes a whole new suite of Museum offerings aimed at young children including the wonderful Zoe’s House playspace.