Museums and the Web

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

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People's Choice:
2 votes
Indianapolis Museum of Art and Partners
Indianapolis Museum of Art

On April 7, 2009, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and six partners launched a collaborative video portal called ArtBabble.  Since that time, ArtBabble has continued to grow and add more new partners to the mix. Today - with 22 partner organizations and hundreds of high-quality videos - ArtBabble has established itself as one of the premier destinations for art video online.

Understanding the importance of the visual quality of video about art, ArtBabble allows viewers to choose from multiple resolutions for viewing video including HD resolutions. By incorporating timed ‘notes’, the site allows partners to associate additional content with a video as it plays. The result is subtle yet powerful and prompts a variety of content relations from links to artist's biographical information on Wikipedia to amateur photos on Flickr, viewers can explore the contextual facts and anecdotes related to the subjects of the video and thus extend their interaction beyond the passive act of watching a video.

Broadening the interactive experience even further, a section for comments allows visitors to share observations and suggest links of their own. Comments can also be embedded directly into the video timeline as well, letting users comment on elements at a particular point in time. Full text transcriptions of videos drive closed captioning features for video playback and because they are rendered to the video page, search engines can index the spoken text for video content.  Users can easily skip deep into a long format video picking and choosing only the content that interests them.

An active social media strategy has allowed ArtBabble to grow significantly since its launch.  Team members effectively used tools like Flickr, Twitter and Facebook to build a fun and interactive online brand.  Audiences provide feedback about the site and even upload their own images of ArtBabble bumper stickers from around the world.

Above all, ArtBabble serves as an model for collaborative content sharing online.  The collaboration and partnership with a multitude of cultural organizations is perhaps the greatest accomplishment of ArtBabble's first year.  Without the contributions and amazing content from the partner organizations, ArtBabble's success would be greatly diminished.

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