Recently we had a conversation about the kinds of web programs the Museum is exploring.
Opening Up All Our Content on-line
The V & A wishes to establish its brand as a global source of information about art and design and the website is a very important part of that strategy.
Aren’t there a lot of obstacles to do this?
Durbin notes that while there are plenty of copyright issues with artists whose works they hold, their Director, Mark Jones feels that it is essential to make the collections as accessible as possible. Everything that furthers that he sees as an entirely good thing.
Commercial Models – Letting go in one area to open up other possibilities
Last year, the museum set up a system to allow people to download hi-res images for non-commercial purposes. This also extends to publishers that want to do print runs of under 4,000 copies.
Durbin goes on to say that while there are certainly concerns on the part of the commercial arm, and their concerns need to be taken into account, museums need to look at new models. Maybe they will lose money in an area where they previously made money, but they could open up new potentials in other areas.
Online Collection Information System (CIS)
Another project the V&A has in its plans is to put the collection information system (CIS) online.
The V&A holds over a million objects in its collection, and currently about 30,000 of them appear in the online search. The plan is to make the entire content of the CIS system available.
I imagine that this is no easy task, and I’m right.... Gail Durbin says:
What is the CIS system exactly?
User Interfaces, Categorization of Objects
A Place for Crowd Curation?
Naturally the question arises in my mind, how about asking people to help with the V&A records. Is that something that is even possible?
Durbin raises a good point:
Examples of crowd curation:
Gail and I talked a bit about the various online projects that have engaged the general public to assist in various ways:
Galaxyzoo: Helping astronomers classify photos of objects in space
Each photo is analyzed by many amateurs helping to speed up the process of scientific research.
They Work For You:
Gail mentioned that in Britain people were asked to help match up and index the transcripts and the videos of debates in Parliament. Says Gail
Mechanical Turk -
When Steve Focett went missing several years ago, Amazon opened up Mechanical Turk to the public to help analysis satellite photos of Nevada to help find his missing plane. While this search didn’t find him, they did find a number of other missing planes.
Brooklyn Museum: I can't say too much about these folks. They Rock!
I'm really curious about how museums and others can sort out this question of curatorial expertise vs the general visitor. Do you think it's important to distinguish? How would you go about it? How are you going about it? What other questions are important to ask?