Museums and the Web 2012 – Epic Fail?

No, not the conference, which was a most enjoyable three days in San Diego last week. This was the title of the plenary session in which five brave volunteers came onto the podium and told us all about their projects that flopped. A sympathetic audience (with no access to wifi and with a promise not to tweet) played ‘epic fail bingo’ as we competed to identify nine common reasons for project failure.

 

This was a refreshing change, as conferences tend to focus on the success stories, but if we are going to push the boundaries of what is possible with museums and digital media we have to accept that not everything we try will work. The key is understanding this from the outset and honestly assessing the risk profile of a project before it starts. Carolyn Royston (IWM) and Charlotte Sexton (National Gallery) touched on the importance of an understanding of risk in their interesting presentation about implementing digital strategies and Carolyn explained how the IWM are moving from being risk averse to risk aware in terms of their approach to digital projects. 

In what I thought was one of the most interesting conference sessions, Bruce Wyman and Rob Stein (Indianapolis Museum of Art) countered that museums don’t need a separate digital strategy but that their digital work should line up with the overall museum strategy. While this is, of course, a desirable long term aim, judging by the questions from the floor, many museums are not yet at that stage of digital maturity and there was a lot of interest in a digital strategy, perhaps as an intermediary stage.

Another interesting session was about online finding, in which we presented our work with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection (for further information please see our slides here.)

Gunho Chae (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) and S. Joon Park (Drexel University) talked about a project that they are doing in conjunction with the Indianapolis Museum of Art, looking at how affective computing can assist users with little knowledge of art to navigate their collections. In this project affective computing, which focuses on users’ emotional responses, is being represented as an animated search agent (AMARA) helping non–expert users to find artworks that might appeal to them based on a series of questions about the user’s mood, interests and preferences. This idea sparked some discussion in our office and it will be interesting to see how it works when launched.

At the same session there was an interesting talk from Katerina Tzomanaki (Institute of Computer Science, FORTH) about a new framework for querying semantic networks. As the session chair remarked, linked open data may be the future for online collections. This is certainly something we are excited about, having just started our first project in this area with one of the UK national museums.

Shelley Mannion from the British Museum shared some valuable findings from their experimentation with augmented reality (AR) in the museum galleries. Shelley and colleagues have undertaken various initiatives looking at how AR impacts learning and the use of tablets in museum education.  The BM have tried two different approaches to AR, marker-based AR and location-based AR. Both have issues, as putting temporary markers around the galleries is time consuming (and not always popular with curators!) but the BM have found that location-based AR doesn’t work well in an indoor setting as it isn’t detailed enough. Even spoofing the location by giving users a marker to scan to get the initial location didn’t work too well as the compass on the devices wasn’t sensitive enough. 

As well as some fascinating presentations, the Museums and the Web conference offered a number of usability labs, including one run by Cogapp’s Chris How and our former colleague Silvia Filippini Fantoni (now at Indianapolis Museum of Art), crit rooms, an unconference session, plenty of exhibitors and a vast array of demonstrations resulting in a rich and varied conference that gave us all plenty to think about. 

And we were delighted that our work for the Metropolitan Museum of Art was recognised with a Best of the Web Award for best online collection.  Many congratulations to the other worthy winners of the Best of the Web Awards!

Top image from kajsahartig on Flickr.

Comments

This one helped me for a thesis which I am writing. Thank you for giving me another point of view on this difficult situation. Now I can easily complete my article. Thanks find more

I'm impressed. You're truly well informed and very intelligent. You wrote something that people could understand and made the subject intriguing for everyone. I'm saving this for future use. www.eyesecretsshop.co.uk

Los años hacia el lugar y la gente que determinaron la vocación comercial en Barranquilla start potty training reviews

I have been understanding many articles on the same issue but found this one uniquely transcribed. Hand Strung Mardi Gras Beads You protected almost every point over the matter.

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated. cheap pet insurance

This is such a great information for me, because i do an online job thats why i need fast Internet connection, i search how to bost internet speed then ireach at a right place. from this source

Many thanks for this brilliant post! Many points have extremely useful. Hopefully you'll continue sharing your knowledge around.
dr as a service

Written for consumers by a consumer, this site includes a fun and informative Potty Training In 3 Days review and buyers guide that provides an insider's look at the program and answers frequently asked questions about Carol Cline's unique and highly popular potty training system for boys and girls.start potty training

Thanks for a very interesting blog. What else may I get that kind of info written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a undertaking that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the look out for such info.
https://rebelmouse.com

it's really nice and meanful. it's really cool blog. Linking is very useful thing.you have really helped lots of people who visit blog and provide them usefull information.
green deal report st andrews

it's really nice and meanful. it's really cool blog. Linking is very useful thing.you have really helped lots of people who visit blog and provide them usefull information.
green deal survey st andrews

Nice article thank you very much for providing such great information.
I recently wrote a great arvixe review that you can read if you want to find out more for arvixe features and services.

Nicely presented information in this post, I prefer to read this kind of stuff. The quality of content is fine and the conclusion is advantage Thanks. http://pittsburghseo.marketing1on1.com/

Very informative post! There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started with a successful social networking campaign! text your ex back reviews

Thanks for a very interesting blog. What else may I get that kind of info written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a undertaking that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the look out for such info. garcinia cambogia before and after

You may comment on the payment options of the blog. You could email it's powerhouse. Your blog dissection could escalate your supporters.
superhero abs review

Thanks for a very interesting blog. What else may I get that kind of info written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a undertaking that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the look out for such info.
moviestarplanet hack

Oahu Photographerluxury treatment center in Columbus ohio for those suffering with drug addiction of any kind.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.