Conference Sessions

Museums and the Web: An International Conference
Los Angeles, CA, March 16 - 19, 1997

Tuesday, March 18, 8:00 - 9:30 am

Birds of a Feather Breakfasts

Types of Institutions and/or Departments

Continental breakfasts provide an opportunity for unstructured discussion. Participants can share information on common interests.

Tuesday, March 18, 9:30 am - 5:00 pm

Exhibition Hall

Displays will feature computing consultants, software developers, educational publishers, image distributors, museum consortia, Web site designers, and not-for-profit organizations showing their own developments in a shared booth. The Exhibit Hall will be open all day Tuesday, March 18.

Tuesday, March 18, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Session 8: Managing Mature Web Sites

As your site grows and becomes an increasingly significant part of the museum communications program, challenges arise in its maintenance that are quite different from those confronted in the initial wave of enthusiastic content creation. In this session managers of large mature sites discuss strategies they employ stay timely, relevant and deep.

Chair: Cary Karp, Director of Information Technology, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Sweden

Nancy Lutz, Assistant Director, Cass Fey, Curator of Education, and Lauren Smith, Writer/Educator, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, USA

Center for Creative Photography Channels a Wave of Success through the Web ml
The Center for Creative Photography, a renowned photography museum and research center at the University of Arizona, joined the growing group of museums expanding outreach efforts through a presence on the Web more than two years ago to provide general, exhibition, collection and programming information. However, it was the development of the education component - the educator's resource - that has resulted in a wave of response. Feedback from this component of the site has substantiated that this outreach tool can lead to new, highly motivated and involved audiences. The paper will be presented jointly by three staff members who represent critical components in the decision-making process when institutions approach the creation of new information technologies to accomplish ongoing goals. Nancy Lutz, Assistant Director, Cass Fey, Curator of Education, and Lauren Smith, writer/educator docent, will discuss the institutional events that precipitated the education department's move to the Web and explore the reallocation of institutional resources, personnel and fiscal resources, that are an integral part of this decision.

Stephen Alsford, Special Projects Officer, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Canada

From Pilot to Program: Organizing Content Creation as a Web Site Grows
The Canadian Museum of Civilization Web site began, as most museum Web sites do, as a small-scale experiment to learn more about operating in cyberspace. A single individual (the author) was tasked with creating a pilot Web site. After a few months, ambitions outpaced the scope of a pilot project and it became necessary to find ways to involve managers and staff in the various areas of the museum more closely with the development of the site. This paper will identify the reasons behind creating CMC's Web site and the goals set for the site, and will outline the development of the site, paying attention particularly to the organization of content creation and quality control mechanisms. It will examine alternative approaches to content creation, including in-house and external production, and will consider desirable qualifications of content creators in a museum context. Consideration will also be given to where, in an organization, responsibility for a Web site should fall, as well as to broader issues of cultural change within an institution. The paper will focus on the experience of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, but will not pretend to have general solutions to the issues, many of which continue to be problematic at this time -- for reasons which will be addressed.

Markus Schranz, Researcher, Information Systems Institute, Technical University of Vienna, Austria

Vienna International Festival/Wiener Festwochen (1996): Managing Culture on the Web
Managing and maintaining a Web presence becomes non-trivial when the size of the service exceeds a certain limit. Keeping the data organization, the information mapping to Web pages, and the navigation design manageable, while providing a consistent interface in terms of layout and usability, are basic requirements to Web presence. Currently the tools for managing and maintaining Web presence are limited as most page editors work on small sets of pages. During the work on the Vienna International Festival web presence of 300 multilingual pages we soon stepped beyond manageability with common page editors. We developed a methodology to organize, implement, and maintain a web presence. The methodology includes scientific design and organization modeling, integration of static and interactive WWW services, and consistent layout management using editable WWW interface templates. An object-oriented language is used to describe data organization, layout templates, and presence contents in a manageable and maintainable way.

Tuesday, March 18, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Session 9: Visions of Culture in Digital Communities: A Panel Discussion

The Los Angeles Culture Net (LACN) is a community networking initiative providing public access to digitized materials from museums, libraries, and universities throughout Los Angeles County. These materials are being used to enrich K-12 curricula, teach others how to build their own Web sites, and engage the cultural community to address the implications of the emerging information society for distributing cultural resources.

Chair: David Jensen, Project Manager, LA Culture Net, Getty Information Institute, USA

An Overview of the Los Angeles Culture Net (LACN) Initiative

Jim Bower, Project Manager, Getty Information Institute, USA

"Faces of Los Angeles": The LACN Demonstration Project

Myung Lee, Executive Director, Korean American Museum, USA

Challenges and Opportunities for Museums Online

Joseph Loeb, President, Break Away Technologies, USA

Break Away Technologies and Community Networking

Vickie Steele, Head of Special Collections, Dohney Library, University of Southern California, USA

Reaching Out to Local Communities and Non-Academic Audiences

Tuesday, March 18, 1:00 - 3:30 pm

Technical Briefing Sessions

Focused single-speaker sessions offering in-depth reports on technical developments, research projects and issues of interest.

Prue Campbell, and Carol A. Christian, Office of Public Outreach, Space Telescope Science Institute, USA

Hubble Space Telescope: A Web Resource for Science Museums and Planetaria
Part of the mission of the Office of Public Outreach at Space Telescope Science Institute is to disseminate the results of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to science museums and planetaria. In one of the ways we achieve this mission, we are using the information transfer abilities of the World Wide Web. We offer a site from a major research institute specifically designed as a resource to the museum community.

It is our belief that this is unique: while there are many sites from research institutes which the science museum community can use, these sites are usually designed for the general public or for classroom educators. Other sites designed for museum staff use offer exhibits, but little in the way of easy-to-access information of general interest.

In this presentation we outline the resources available through our site (which is currently under construction and will be available in March). This includes HST images, science background articles, and a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about HST and its astronomy. In addition, we offer a resource list of exhibits, planetarium programs, classroom activities, etc. about HST. Also available is an "advanced notice" system, where authorized browsers can see the contents of press releases before the general public - helping make science centers an authority the public can turn to when new results are released. Relevant topics include: Museum Exhibitions on the Web; Consortia, National, and International Projects; Imagebases, Multimedia, and Publishing; and, New Technologies & Opportunities for the Near Future.

Brenda Matthis, Harvard Graduate School of Education, USA

Authorship: The Implications of the Web Designer's Narrative on Children's Social Construction
This researcher reviewed software review publications checked for indicators of character representation by gender and ethnicity, and cultural assumptions of logic in educational math software for children. These indicators were chosen as major manifestations of a software designer's narrative in software. The research supports the theoretical frame that knowing the author is important in selecting software for social construction and cognitive development; and that only one review publication checked for these indicators, which were buried in the overall rating. If these indicators of author narrative exist, they are not identified because the review mechanism does search for these indicators.

Janice Sorkow, Director of Rights and Licensing, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, USA

Guidelines for Pricing and Image Licensing for Web-Based Publications
Museums have dealt with the publication of images of their objects in print publications for nearly a century, by using fairly clear cut policies, regulations, and prices. The use of digital images of Museum objects on the Web in the past few years, has taken the museum business by complete surprise. This paper will examine the issues museums must consider when providing images and permissions for Web-based publications. It will also propose practical guidelines for image licensing in this medium. Definitions of types of Web publications, strategies for pricing based on models from the commercial world, methods for order fulfillment, and contract terms will be outlined. Also included will be a discussion about licensing images for the Web differs from CD licensing, as well as an analysis of the present and future administrative, financial, and mission-based implications that the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is facing as an image provider.

Lydia Johnson, Acting Director, Museums and Galleries at Southern Utah University, USA

Offering Distance Education on the Web: How a University Gallery Uses the Web to Teach Art Appreciation

Tuesday, March 18, 3:30 - 5:00 pm

Session 10: Standards for Museum Data into the Future

Many of the issues facing a maturing Web world now, like providing access to huge quantities of information, distributed search and retrieval, and enhanced functionality, have solutions based on previous standards work such as Z39.50, SGML, and image interchange. Standards that will have a critical impact on Web development, functionality, and usability are highlighted.

Chair: John Perkins, Executive Director, Consortium for Computer Interchange of Museum Information (CIMI), Canada

Clifford Lynch, Director of Library Automation, Office of the President, University of California, USA

Dublin Core and Warwick Framework Metadata for the Description and Location of Networked Information Objects

Michael Vulpe, President, Infrastructures for Information, Canada

SGML: Show Me Which Road I'm On
The promise of SGML is that if you separate form from content a miracle occurs. Data integrity is preserved across platforms, applications, and soup recipes. The reality is a return to the bad old days of proprietary hardwired solutions. Appreciating what SGML brings to the table requires an understanding both of its origins and of its characteristics. SMGL is not what is appears to be at first glance.
In this paper, we look at:
  • where SGML came from
  • how a business case ca (or cannot) be made for SGML
  • what alternatives exist today
  • attempts to "fix" SGML to make it address today's problesm
  • how SGML can be rescued from obscurity by redevining its role

Tuesday, March 18, 3:30 - 5:00 pm

Session 11: The Concept of the Museum in a World of Internetworking

What will, might, should the museum be? These questions engage us as we re-invent the museum for the new environment. Colleagues who are thinking deeply about such issues share their views.

Chair: Stephen Alsford, Special Projects Officer, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Canada

Andrea Witcomb, Lecturer, Research Institute for Cultural Heritage, Curtin University of Technology, Australia

The End of the Mausoleum: Museums in the Age of Electronic Communication
Museums have often been understood in both intellectual and popular circles as mausoleums, as centers of accumulation of objects which no longer have a living relationship with the present. This is an image which makes it almost impossible to associate the museum with debates about contemporary cultural issues. In this paper I want to propose that this is no longer a valid way of representing the museum, largely because the museum is now deeply implicated in electronic media flows making it an important site for the newly emerging 'information society'. This new relationship between electronic technologies and museums has fundamentally questioned the traditional museum's orientation to objects, an orientation which, I argue, led to the image of museums as mausoleums in the first place. As a result the metaphors we associate with museums are beginning to change, away from the idea of the museum as disconnected from the social world towards the opposite -- the museum as a site of cultural, technological and social convergences. This involves a re-evaluation of the role of objects in museums as well as that of the curator and museum's relationships to communities.

Peter Walsh, Director of Information and Institutional Relations, Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, USA

The Web and the Unassailable Voice
In most existing art museum web pages, the values of the museum dominate the values of the Web. Therefore, museum web pages often electronically duplicate familiar museum products-- floor plans, collection catalogues, event calendars-- rather than transforming the idea of the museum by adapting the values of the web. This presentation will seek to show how art museums and technologists can come to understand each other and use their differences productively by:
  1. Orienting museum web sites towards projects that can only be done on the web and not on paper.
  2. Using the web to overcome the many limitations to understanding imposed by the physical art museum.
  3. Using the interactive potentials of the web to change the one-way flow of information from art museum to visitor to a two-way flow which also moves from visitor to museum.
  4. Infusing the orientation towards constant change into the art museum so that the web helps the art museum to reinvent itself.

Tuesday, March 18, 5:30 - 8:00 pm

American Film Institute: Reception and Advanced Technology Fair

Apple Computer, Inc. is pleased to sponsor an evening of innovative technology exploring the latest in Web development work. Artists and multimedia developers present their projects during a reception on the campus of the American Film Institute.

Transportation sponsored by Corbis Corporation. Parking at the AFI is very limited.

Program for Wednesday, March 19, 1997.

Archives & Museum Informatics Museums and the Web Register Exhibit Sponsor Program

Last modified: March