April 13-17, 2010
Denver, Colorado, USA

Interactions: Description

Introducing GLAMkit - a Free, Open-Source Web Framework for the GLAM Sector

Alastair Weakley, the Interaction Consortium, Australia
Thomas Ashelford, the Interaction Consortium, Australia
Julien Phalip, the Interaction Consortium, Australia
Greg Turner, the Interaction Consortium, Australia

In this briefing we present GLAMkit ( , a free, open-source framework for building customised websites for GLAM sector organisations (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums).

GLAMkit is based on the leading-edge Web framework Django, and has out-of-the-box support for public events, exhibitions, visitor info, social media, and hooks for integrating collections, ecommerce, ticketing, and so on. We’re developing with audience experience in mind, such that GLAMkit does the things that 90% of museum sites need to do, and leaves museum staff to concentrate on the things that they would rather control themselves. Think Drupal, but easier, with GLAM-specific applications, more front-end flexibility, and much better integration with existing databases.

As mentioned, GLAMkit (a framework for GLAM sites) is built on top of Django (a framework for Web sites). While Django is often used to build custom CMSes, GLAMkit is original in that it is itself a framework, not a CMS. This means that instead of pre-designing every feature that a GLAM institution could conceivably need, GLAMkit provides developers with useful tools to assemble or implement only the required features, and in their preferred ways. To accelerate the initial development phase, GLAMkit offers several applications that contain default behaviours and implement common features. However, in order to avoid the pitfalls of off-the-shelf CMSes, these applications are by design easy to adapt and plug-in and -out for any Web site project.

GLAMkit is owned by the non-profit GLAMkit Foundation (represented by the authors of this paper), and has arisen from the work of the Interaction Consortium ( , an interaction design and Web development company based in Sydney, Australia, together with two of their clients, Australia's Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW, and the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA, We are developing GLAMkit as part of the forthcoming sites for these institutions, but development and documentation will be open to the global community.

For both the AGNSW and the NFSA, GLAMkit is a win-win-win situation. Open-sourcing code is a win for each institution because of the reduced dependency on any single development agency and the decreased obsolescence that comes from using an active codebase. There is also a degree of kudos for the institution within the community for sharing usable code with other institutions. It's a win for developers, who have the resources and varied expertise of an open community to draw upon, the reduced need to reinvent the wheel with every new feature, and the ability to contribute code that is used by respected and inspiring institutions around the world. Finally, GLAMkit is a win for the GLAM community as a whole. Here is a well-architected framework, specifically designed for this sector, but which draws directly and continually on the contributions of the community of GLAMkit developers and the development of Django itself.

Briefing: Exhibitor Talk: GLAMwiki [Close Up]

Keywords: Web framework, CMS, free software, open-source, python, django