Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

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Nonprofit IT Staffing: Budgets, Salaries, Training and Planning; a new report

NTEN title pageThe second part of the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) report on information technology in Not for Profits is now available. Nonprofit IT Staffing: Budgets, Salaries, Training and Planning reports the results of a USA national survey.

Findings of the second Nonprofit IT Staffing Report include:

museums, social situations, control and trust

work of art in my web space: work of art in my web spacei've been thinking a bit about the relationship museums have with their collections; about the sense of responsibility to preserve and interpret that comes with custody, and about what might change in an environment where social network spaces are the norm.

in 1997 at the first Museums and the Web museums were really worried about questions of control. there were long discussions about appropriation, about commercial use, and a lot of angst about the possibilities of mugs and keychains. partly this was based on the fact that corbis (aka continuum, aka interactive home systems) had been buying rights in the area, and creating a sense that there must be a market for museum images.

New Report: Nonprofit IT Staffing: Staffing Levels, Recruiting, Retention, and Outsourcing

title pageThere's a new report out from NTEN and the Nonprofit Times about IT staffing in Not for Profits. Download the report

Highlights from the Executive Summary:

  • On average, nonprofits employ one IT staff member for every 18 employees.
  • Most nonprofits continue to feel understaffed when it comes to IT. Size of organization did not seem
    to impact staffing satisfaction.
  • IT staff spend their time in much the same way, regardless of organization size or level of technology adoption. For the second year, the largest percentage of staff time, roughly 40%, is spent on desktop and application support.
  • The average tenure for IT staff at nonprofits is 4.3 years. Tenures were longer for larger organizations and organizations that felt they had greater technology adoption.
  • Almost all nonprofits outsource at least some technology tasks; more technical tasks continue to be
    more commonly outsourced.

There are reports coming on Salaries & Budgets and IT Management & Planning based on the same survey

Mini-Masterpieces for your phone: from the Boston Museum of Fine Art

MFA Mobile: Just Browse, Order and Download.

In another example of the inside-out museum, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston has made collection-based mobile phone wallpapers available from their web site. Just Browse, Order and Download, and the fee appears on your mobile phone bill: $1.99 for a single download, or $4.99 a month to get 5 (plus one bonus).

You can also sign up for text alerts about what's on at the museum: events, exhibits and concerts, as well as exclusive offers and discounts. Who could resist that!

i think i was joking about tea on Seb's Chumby -- but now I want a picture of a phone on my phone ... Is there one in the BMFA collection guys?


MW2008 Proposal Review: Offers out this week

MW2008 Proposals by DateThe International Program Committee has completed their review of Museums and the Web 2008 proposals, and this weekend David and i sat down to put together the conference program.

Per usual, all of the proposals came in right at the last minute (see the graph). We wondered if not mailing a physical "Call for Papers" postcard this year would have an impact (Did you notice that you didn't get it?).

There were fewer proposals this year (~150 instead of ~180 last year), but we can't negate the 'San Francisco effect'. MW2007 was a bigger meeting all around.

We certainly didn't see any change in quality. If anything, some of this year's proposals seemed a bit stronger, more well reasoned.

Program Review is always very challenging. There is a lot of good work, and many more proposals than we can include on the formal program. As we struggle to put together the schedule, we're balancing a number of factors, including the: term review: lots of useful tags

steve term review tool: during th research project, each tag is looked at by museum staff, and evaluated.

At the session at MCN we devoted a significant amount of time to "Term Review" –– what we're calling the qualitative study of tags by professionals from participating museums within the context of the research project. It fed really nicely into a discussion at the project team research meeting post-MCN.

For some, the very possibility that tags contributed by taggers of works of art might be reviewed by museums is antithetical to the ethos of user tagging. But, within the context of it's essential for developing our understanding of the contribution that tagging and folksonomy might make to the accessibility of works of art on-line.

How, for example, can we respond to our colleagues' concern that tags will be inaccurate | misleading | misspelled | mis-guided, if we don't look at them and see if they are? How can we say that they might be useful, if we haven't looked?

at MCN in Chicago: museum image licensing

discussion in the image licensing session is re-hashing a number of issues we've been thinking about for a long time:

at MCN 2007 in Chicago: access, engagement and community, what web 2.0 has to offer

Clive Izard and Michael Stocking present interactive activities at the British Library. it's not like this:see the video on youtube

they built on the success of their Turning the Pages applications, that let you page through treasures from the BL (presented in Shockwave) each of which was is separately created and individually animated. they partnered with microsoft to demonstrate vista, and created Turning the Pages 2.0 that takes advantage of its 3D capabilities. it includes animations of 'book dynamics' [turning pages] based on curators actually turning the pages, so the pages wrinkle and curl. a light source reflects off the gold leaf. browsing is enhanced by navigation, englargement, transcription, and comparison of multiple volumes in the same workspace (with relative size). functionality was defined in conjunction with curators (based on tasks like comparing multiple editions, sketches and published works...)

at mcn in chicago: informal learning spaces

MCN in chicago: IMLS project demonstrations

The MCN program this year includes a number of opportunities for less structured learning, and conversation.

IMLS Project Demonstrations on Wednesday introduced projects funded by US Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) National Leadership Grants. during a coffee break, delegates could wander through the demonstrations, see the projects that were funded, and identify people to talk to later about how to make their next grant application work.

This morning, a new format of "Case Studies" introduced a series of projects in brief (5 minute) introductions that were followed by break-out discussions. it looks like this format might work, but the spaces provided for the breakouts [single tables per topic at the back of the room], and the lack of coffee [at least for me], might have limited the discussions.

However, they were good conversations, and this is a format that should be pursued.

at mcn in chicago: new spaces, new measures. measuring success

Sheila Carey chairs a session on evauation in web spaces.

Beth Kanter {see] on evaluating social media talks about moving beyond measuring static use of web sites to get at ways of appreciating the impact of social media.She cites Scoble: audience, engagement, loyalty, influence, and action for some principles that help understand the impact of a site in a social media context. Overally, she notes that trends are more important than actual numbers, as many of these measures (such as ) are hard to quantify. See for a link to her slides.

Tim Hart introduces analytics as used at the Getty Trust, and the challenges of adapting measures that are e-commerce focused to mission-driven organizations. As an example, he looks at a page from the Getty Museum Site. The click map shows that people are going to the things that the page highlight; netgenesis stats show more detail, that lets you compare clicks to actual usage?. it makes it clear that many people link deep into the site, and that section pages aren't necessarily seen. but bot and spider traffic are a significant number of page views and need to be removed (javascript based tools can help filter those out). trends are more important than actual numbers. Metrics need to be compared to other measures, including interviews, visits ...

at MCN in Chicago: CDWA lite

Gunter Waibel chairs a session with Alan Seal (Victoria & Albert Museum) and Michael Jenkins (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) are updating us on the activities at their institutions using CDWA-lite and OAI as mechanisms for exchanging information. Jean Goodby will then talk about the role of these protocols in the broader information discovery environment.

Alan Seal: at the V&A the data format and the protocol were part of an overall strategy to surface data and images from the entire collection on the web, to meet their director's desire to see their work s show up in a google search. They are creating URIs for all of their catalogue records to support web searching. CDWA-lite is a useful integration tool.

Michael Jenkins: scholars licence as a real test of the use of the protocol, to make images from the MMA available to scholars for academic use, using ArtStor as a means of delivery. ArtStor developed the tech tools. At the MMA, CDWA-lite data structure was used as the mechanism to move data from the many collections management databases (one system, departmental implementations) to

MCN in chicago: directors and it professionals

MCN in chicago: directors and IT staff

Nik Honeysett moderates a panel of two directors who share the podium with their heads of IT staff.

James Cuno, Director of the Art Institute of Chicago, is a techno-convert, realising that his daughters live in a world where information is on-line, people have ipods and the museum is featured on YouTube in visitor-created videos. Committed resources, time and staff, to make this happen.

Janice Klein, Director of the Mitchell Museum of the American Museum, is in a small museum, without IT staff, struggling to manage technology with volunteers and limited expertise. Challenge of maintaining infrastructure is significant; her colleagues are focused on outcomes and technology is a tool. Drivers are often the members of the Board.

Sam Quigley has a privledged position as an IT person at the table with museum senior management (thought his isn't as rare as it once was).

John Dodge works on 'soft money', responding to immediate needs.

Nik: how do we develop the understanding of technology at a strategic level?

at MCN in Chicago: past presidents' panel

MCN in chicago: past presidents


Jim Michalko introduced a panel of MCN's Past Presidents: Diane Zorich, Susan Patterson, Chuck Patch, Sam Quigley, Marla Misunas

The panel reflected on the history of MCN, and the challenges that they faced during their tenure, adminstrative, or mission-based. They reflected on challenges such as internationalization, collaboration across the discipline and beyond it, standards deveopment (particularly with CIMI), communications (spectra, web site development, board and governance).

Jim asked the panel to reflect on the issues that the profession has faced, and our achievements in past few years.

Quigley: professional development is a critical issue for us all. we need to find a way to go for it, and define the question of competencies, to help people with training.

Zorich: AAM and MCN need to refine their relationship, to raise the voice for technology at the leadership level.

Misunas: noted that Holley Witchey has helped play this role, particularly when MCN has exhibited at AAM. [Holly mentioned a Musematic post -- but a quick google doesn't find it, help? Thanks to Richard, see below, here's the link:


at MCN in Chicago: Town Hall Conversation on Professionalism and Leadership

at MCN in Chicagothe second plenary session is focused on the role MCN might play in the development of information professionals in the museum field. building on issues from last year -- feedback on challenges and impediments in own job and role of mcn -- the floor was opened for discussion around these topics:

  1. communication with administration: helping management understand the issues and value in museum tech
  2. professionalization of the field (including core competencies?)
  3. resources and role of mcn [facilitating doing own jobs and enabling collaboration; e.g. job descriptions, project registry]

suggestions on resources MCN could develop from Paul Marty:

  1. job descriptions
  2. project registry
  3. shared bibliography/reading list
  4. instituitonal repository
  5. open source software/tools

Holly Witchey: why doesnt this field publish? Practicioners don't write... should we be expecting them to?

at MCN in Chicago: museum studies then and now

mcn in chicago: opening plenarymcn in chicago: opening plenaryi'm at MCN in Chicago for the next few days, and i'll be blogging my notes. first up, a day on professionalization and changes in the field, as th is is MCN's 40th anniversary.

Museum Studies Programs: That Was Then, This Is Now

Marla Misunas began this session by surveying the emergence of 'computer skills' as a requirement in collections management jobs advertised in Aviso. Amusingly, she notes, these were required first in assistant registrars, before registrars had to be computer literate. Marla suggests that the following skills are required for collections managers: