April 13-17, 2010
Denver, Colorado, USA

Sessions: Abstract

How to manage and build a web collections search project in a museum   go to paper

Richard Morgan, Victoria & Albert Museum, United Kingdom

Large, complex, technical projects which require input from many stakeholders in a large, complex, bureaucratic organisation are difficult to run and even more difficult to keep to budget and schedule.

In September 2009, the V&A released a beta version of its new collections search site. More than one million catalogue records are now available on-line, and the site boasts a beautiful design, powerful faceting and cross-linking, a fast, scalable search and an API.

We had to take brave strategic technical decisions and adopt new, more agile working practices to deliver the project. The purpose of the paper is to describe the processes we went through, how we took the decisions we did, and how we persuaded stakeholders of the merits of our approaches.

The paper is intended to be far more than just a description of what we did and how we did it. It presents techniques for project management, technical strategies, and frameworks for making technology decisions which will be generalized and could be applied in any museum. It presents practical and pragmatic methods which work in the reality of a museum context and can achieve a radical shift in culture and practice without the need for top-down organisational change.

Session: Collections: Tag / Search / Deploy - Part 2 [access]

Keywords: search, agile, api, organizational change, project management, open source, collections