A full-day workshop on email archiving for art museums

Museums and the Web Deep Dive: Assessing Tools and Best Practices for Email Preservation and Access in Art Museums
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A special session hosted April 1st as part of Museums and the Web 2014

As many of you know, I have been very concerned about the lack of email archiving in museums. I chaired a session a few years ago at MCN and found that I am not alone in my concern. Since then, things have not improved. In fact, one might say they have worsened as the volume of email continues to increase, as does its use for types of museum correspondence that are crucial for us to preserve.

The problem, simply stated, is that lack of robust archiving and retrieval for email correspondence in today’s art museums may limit the primary source materials available to future generations of students, scholars, and the public. This is an issue for directors, curators, educators, researchers, archivists, collection managers, and technology staff.
While there are commercial products for email archiving, they are built to serve corporate data-retention policies, not future research and scholarship. Focused on maintaining emails for five, seven, or ten years, these products rarely are expected to retain emails indefinitely. They may have inherent limitations for our community due to their different intended contexts of use.

It is time for us to focus on this problem as a community: time that we look at what is being done to archive email in corporate settings, universities, and state and federal governments, and time we do something about a problem that has been developing in our museum community for more than 20 years.

So, I have asked Susan Chun and Dale Kronkright to chair and organize a Museums and the Web full-day Deep Dive into this issue. We will explore previous and ongoing work in the GLAM community , examining the problem from both technology infrastructure and procedure and policy angles. We will review commercial and open source technology solutions. We will gather commercial vendors and see how their solutions match our needs. We will hear about the work being done in other spaces such as government and education. We will publish the results, and form a working group to move this issue forward, supported by the proceedings of this workshop.

I have posted an overview of the issues, as well as a link to the registration page, here:

(note that this event is part of Museums and the Web 2014, but it is a separate registration; participants need not attend the whole MW 2014 conference).

Deep-Dive registration includes coffee breaks, lunch, and a special reception. You can register here.

We are now developing the detailed agenda and background reading list. I would love to hear your suggestions and comments to ensure we don’t miss anything important. We are also looking for participants for lightning talks on desired use cases or horror stories or top wishes for functionalities related to email archiving. To further the discussion we have created a Google Group for email archiving in museums.

Please forward this announcement to prospective attendees and post to lists as appropriate.

Looking forward to seeing you at this MW Deep Dive on April 1st, 2014.


Rich Cherry
Co-chair, Museums and the Web

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About Rich Cherry

Rich Cherry offers consulting services that leverage his 20 years in non-profits along with 30 years of technology and operations experience. I have served as an executive director, COO, deputy director, CTO and CIO at several world class organizations. I have run and revitalized existing institutions and built new museums and non-profits from the ground up and have overseen more than $300 million in construction and capital projects. My work as co-chair of the largest museum technology conference and as co-editor of its proceedings gives me unique access to colleagues working at the forefront of innovation in the cultural sector. Most recently Rich was the deputy director of The Broad, a new award winning contemporary art museum in downtown Los Angeles. The Museum opened to rave reviews in 2015 and immediately joined the top 100 most attended art museum in the world. He oversaw all aspects of the museum’s operations, including visitor services, collection management, information technology, finance, retail, security, human resources, marketing and communications, parking operations and facilities. Prior to the museum’s opening, Rich managed the planning, design and construction of The Broad, its parking structure and adjacent outdoor plaza and streetscape updates. In working with the museum team to design The Broad as an innovative visitor experience, Rich also initiated and implemented the museum’s mobile ticketing, mobile retail, and a mobile audio app with contextually aware content. He also designed and implemented an award-winning visitor service floor staff program that utilized a custom-designed online learning management system to train a diverse team of associates in security, customer service, art and architecture. Previously, Cherry was the founding director of the Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC), a consortium of 27 cultural organizations working together to facilitate and execute the use of online technology in the museums, cultural arts, and science institutions in Balboa Park, San Diego. His experience also includes serving as the director of operations at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where he oversaw information technology, operations, admissions, facilities, security, capital projects and more than $90 million in ongoing construction, and as the chief information officer, director of facilities and head of library and archives at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. He previously was the chief information officer of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and he has also taught New Media theory, web design and animation in the Media Studies department at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Rich serves as co-chair for Museums and the Web, an international conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of museums in a digital world. He also serves as president of the MuseWeb Foundation, which he co-founded to accelerate innovation in both cultural practice and business models. He is currently vice chair of the Culver City Cultural Affairs Commission, a board member of the Culver City Cultural Affairs Foundation and a project advisor on the National Science Foundation funded Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance STEM Program. Before his museum career, Rich worked in technology in the fields of banking, manufacturing, and also worked as a field service engineer. He was also a commercial diver in the Gulf of Mexico and served for six years in the United States Marine Corps.

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