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published: March 2004
Addressing Multiple Audiences with Multiple Interfaces to
The AMICO Library?
Session: Design Issues
The Art Museum Image Consortium "AMICO" is a group of over three-dozen Member Museums, which have committed to digitize their collections and contribute them to an integrated library on an on-going basis. The AMICO Library? has been available to educational institutions-- including colleges and universities, elementary and secondary schools, public libraries and museums-- for almost five years and grows significantly each year. The 2003 edition of The AMICO Library? will contain over 120,000 works of art. After three years of distribution through a single source (RLG, Inc.), AMICO began contracting with other Distributors, each specializing in a different audience, to reach and meet the diverse needs of multiple user communities. Today, each of these six Distributors delivers The AMICO Library? through their own unique interfaces, often along with other digital resources. This range of Distributors now allows subscribing institutions to choose among the different services and interfaces that are compatible with their institutional requirements and best meet the needs of their end users.
The variety of Distributors of The AMICO Library? also allows AMICO Member Museums to access and view their digital documentation through a variety of tools and interfaces developed outside of their own direct influence or control. Each Distributor and interface has a significant effect on how the work is used, explored and perceived. This paper explores the multiple interface approach to distributing content as well as the differences in features and functions of multiple distributors. Issues addressed include audience specific functionality, inter-application consistency and the need for additional research.