Happy developers + happy museums = happy punters

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Blogged my notes at http://openobjects.blogspot.com/2009/02/happy-developers-happy-museums-happy.html Museum content and access for the higher education sector from the dev8d event in London, February 2009.

Transcript of Happy developers + happy museums = happy punters

  • Happy developers, happy museums JISC #dev8d Mia Ridge, Science Museum
  • Who?
    • Im Mia
    • I work for the Science Museum
    • Yes, I have an accent (fading after several years away)
    • http://twitter.com/mia_out - @ me with comments. Ill post URLs there too.
    • http://openobjects.org.uk my blog on digital heritage, blah blah blah
  • IMHO
    • I think museums can change lives
      • "Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.
      • "No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be." Isaac Asimov
    • Museums should be about delight, serendipity and answers that provoke more questions
    • Museums should also be committed to accessibility, transparency, curation, respecting and enabling expertise
  • Why am I here today?
    • Museums have lots of information
    • We like sharing it
    • We could guess whats useful for researchers, educators and developers - but wed rather go to the source. How we can work with you?
  • Some challenges
    • Technical
      • The future is here, its just not evenly distributed
    • Data
      • We have a lot of it. A lot of what we have is rubbish
    • Institutional
      • Challenges to curatorial authority, fear of loss of control, loss of trust, fear that well get the IT wrong
    • Funding, metrics
      • How do you propose agile projects to funding committees? How do you measure visitors to a mashup?
    • Copyright
      • We dont always have image or IP rights for our objects or content
  • Dealing with the challenges
    • We cant afford to build interfaces to meet every need.
      • But we dont need to if we make it possible for others to build things
    • Inspiring examples, real success stories from users, sharing technical solutions help sector evangelisers
    • Fail faster, succeed sooner reward intelligent failure
    • Suggestions?
  • What are museums known for?
    • Buildings full of stuff
    • Being experts
    • Making visitors come to us
    • Being fun. Yay! 8D
    • Being boring. Boo :(
  • What are museum websites known for?
    • Helping you plan a visit
    • Most people use museum websites to find out when a museum is open, how much it costs, and what's on.
    • Which is nice... but... we can do more
  • Pretty exhibition microsites
  • Collections online
    • (not always as pretty)
  • What do we have?
    • Lots of objects, lots of images
    • Lots of metadata about objects
    • Also interrelated records on people, places, dates, historical periods, events, subjects (topics, themes)
      • Who designed, invented, made, used, bought, owned, donated an object? When and where was it made, used, found? Whats related?
  • What are museums doing at the moment?
    • One way or another, we're opening up access to our collections.
      • Read access is easy, write access is harder.
    • APIs large and small
    • Aiming to produce re-usable, interoperable data with clear re-use statements
    • Cool examples: IMA dashboard, Powerhouse Museum OPAC, Brooklyn Museum
    • http://dashboard.imamuseum.org/ , http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/menu.php , http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/collections/ , http://objectwiki.sciencemuseum.org.uk/
  • Were taking our content to where people hang out
  • What would we like to be known for?
    • An end to silos
    • User-centred, not institution-centred
    • Helping researchers help themselves
    • Helping developers help others
    • Being a source of content for lecturers and teachers
    • Not just history, biography or art also science, natural history, archaeology
  • What can we do for you?
    • Who are you? University users (students, researchers, teachers and administrators), hobbyists, specialists, developers; direct or indirect uses
    • Enquiry-based learning; mashups; linked data, semantic web technologies, cross-collections searches; faceted browsing to make complex searches easy; museums as a place where stuff lives a happy home for metadata mapped around objects and authority records?
    • What else? You tell me! What do you want to provide for your users, and how can museums help?
  • Happy developers + happy museums = happy punters
    • The coolest thing to do with your data will be thought of by someone else
      • [http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/repositories/digirep/index/CRIG]
  • Image credits
    • http://flickr.com/photos/ncindc/2746241750/ Museum building
    • http://flickr.com/photos/phploveme/2679669420/ Instrument case
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LondonScienceMuseumsReplicaDifferenceEngine.jpg Replica Difference Engine
    • http://flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/3083455553/ Happy face
    • http://flickr.com/photos/dsevilla/129592677/ Curiosity
    • http://flickr.com/photos/criminalintent/537762948/ Crowd control barriers
    • http://flickr.com/photos/zoomzoom/304135268/ Silos
    • If not in the list, http://flickr.com/photos/_mia/