Museums and the Web 1999

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Published: March 1999.

Abstracts

Live Web Broadcasting

Norbert Kanter , Kunst und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Germany

Session: Webcasting Opportunities for Museums

Museums and exhibition halls have come on a long way since they were simply places which displayed works of art and documented cultural topics. Nowadays, the activities of many such institutions go far beyond displaying and arranging objects of cultural interest. A variety of activities designed to convey information are put on to tie in with exhibitions of collections or temporary exhibitions and it is increasingly common for wide-ranging programmes of events to be provided alongside the exhibitions.

Since over the last four years many museums have discovered the Internet as a "gateway to the world", a platform for presenting information and carrying out research, the temptation is to exploit the multimedia capabilities of the Internet in a way which has otherwise been reserved for the medium of television: "live Web broadcasting". The possibilities for appearing on the Internet as a "TV station", and the staff and finances required to achieve this, are presented in three live Webcasts (cybercasts, live broadcasts), produced by the Kunsthalle last year, followed by an overview of the latest video streaming technology currently available.

Although the basic principles of this technology are straightforward to describe, a professional live broadcast is very labour and cost-intensive. Up to a dozen employees were involved in organising each of these events, in order to reach an "Internet audience" of between 250 and 1000 people. Without the cooperation and commitment or sponsorship involvement of participating companies (service providers), it would not have been possible to broadcast these events on the Internet. Nevertheless, the Kunsthalle will endeavour to repeat some of these live Web broadcasts in 1999 - initial negotiations are already underway.