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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.

Building an Online Commons for Balboa Park


The Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC) is currently building the Balboa Park Commons, a site that will bring together digitized collections content from 26 museums and cultural institutions into a rich online resource at Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre park in the heart of the city of San Diego and its 85 cultural and recreational organizations attract more than 10 million visitors per year.  The park museums participating in the Commons project include The San Diego Museum of Art, The San Diego Air and Space Museum, The San Diego Natural History Museum, the Museum of Photographic Arts, and the San Diego History Center, to name just a few.

The key goals of the Commons project are to 1.) increase the visibility of the museums’ content by providing the public with unprecedented access to rare and unique collections from the Balboa Park museums 2.) design a tool-set that meets the needs of San Diego educators and students, and 3.) attract new, more diverse audiences by including social software tools that allow visitors to create their own stories and discover interesting and fun connections across the collections.

In this mini-workshop, we will highlight the technical and non-technical aspects of developing an online digital commons that engages audiences in the creative use of cultural heritage materials.  The workshop will review the process of designing a user-centered website based on community workshops and an extensive wireframe process; development of tool sets based on a PHP platform, using a digital asset management system and APIs; and the approach and issues related to creating a new model for getting large data-sets and aggregated collection content online. With each aspect of the project, we’ll discuss how we’re using funding and available museum resources in cost-efficient ways.

This mini-workshop is designed for museum professionals interested in large-scale online collection projects, new models for collaboration and new models for collection access and engagement.


Mini-Workshop - teaches something or explores approaches


christinad's picture
Christina DePaolo in Director of New Media at the Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC) where she is heading up a large-scale collections online project, as well as managing Drupal website production, collections digitization, and in-gallery interpretive efforts for over 15 of the Balboa Park...'s picture
Erick Kendrick is the manager of Piction.
cborkowski's picture
Chris Borkowski is a media maker from Buffalo, NY who lives and works in New York City. Currently he is the in-house web and intranet developer for the Guggenheim Museum. He is also a co-founder of [PAM] and member of Artists Meeting http://...
aserrano's picture
Art Director at Seso working with the Balboa Park Collaborative on the Balboa Park online commons project.