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Museums and the Web

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

Mixing it up: Experiences of managing and displaying aggregated content from multiple sources, combining editorial selection, subject classification using tagging and automated retrieval.

Abstract

In January 2011, the Victoria and Albert Museum will relaunch its website, with a new design based upon a radically different approach to content which will make users the central focus of the site. It will do this by moving from a static hierarchical navigation structure to a dynamic concept-driven site which will gather the available content relevant to a user’s subject of interest.

When presenting this to the user, museum content will be integrated with user-generated content and content from third-party sites using semantic web technologies, all of which will be returned in a number of ways including using the activity of users to link content.

A number of diverse content systems were used to achieve this, including open source systems such as MySource Matrix and Drupal, in-house systems and third-party services such as Vimeo and Delicious.

This paper will examine the development of the overall range of content management processes to control the new site, and will offer a more detailed look at one of these, the development of an in-house tagging system. It will also examine what happens when you mix up web content from organisational and other sources to demonstrate the effect of these processes on real-life web pages.

Who should attend?

Staff who manage web content, who want to know about creating a dynamically-driven site using a number of different content sources to deliver a consistent experience for their users, or are interested in the use of tagging.  It does not cover technical development although this may be mentioned where relevant.

Format

The paper offers a case study of the content management issues that arose during the project, with the focus very much on the practical experience.  The presentation will describe the key issues identified, how new processes were developed to address these issues, what worked and what did not and where compromises had to be made, with hints and tips included throughout

A central theme is how best to present content on a single subject from mixed sources, some of which may be selected manually, some automatically aggregated from different sources using manually-applied tagging and some automatically aggregated using search index or user activity data.

As well as the overall experience, the paper will also focus on the in-house development of a manageable content tagging system capable of classifying content within a large body of diverse content that was simple enough for non-specialist staff to use.

The presentation will include a fun practical exercise which will involve you tagging some content. This will require you to experience the actual decision-making process required of staff, who may have to use the tagging systems you may be planning, and will help you better understand the human issues involved in the case study.

Type: 

Paper - in formal session

Authors

alewis's picture
I am Digital Content Delivery Manager at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. I am responsible for public facing digital content platforms and channels, including web and mobile for the Museum. I lead on research, strategy and roadmap for change of digital media delivery technologies and manage...