Building cloud-based computing environments for museum services

Erik Mitchell, USA

Museum research and digital curation activities increasingly require computing environments that are scalable in response to need, support enterprise-scale tools (e.g., backup, replication) and enable distributed collaboration often without the overhead typically associated with large-scale computing (e.g., cost, skill, infrastructure). These services are likely to include public-facing digital repositories as well as staff-facing data and digital object management platforms. By using cloud computing to fill these needs, museums and cultural heritage institutions can benefit from economies of scale, design systems that facilitate integration with social media and deploy systems that meet the needs of visitors, researchers and staff.
This workshop concentrates on familiarizing participants with elements of cloud computing through hands-on activities using the Amazon Web Service platform and by working with an open source platform that allows museums to publish and host their own virtual research environments. Workshop participants will learn about technical, operational, and policy issues involved in using cloud computing; will gain technical skills in configuring and deploying virtual machines and digital object storage/curation services; and will design a cloud environment to fit their own research or learning needs.