Museums and the Web

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The IMA Dashboard

Indianapolis Museum of Art
Built and designed by the IMA, the Dashboard is based on an open source content management system (CMS) called Drupal ( and adds extended functionality to the CMS specific to institutional dashboards. The site is co-managed by the IM

The goal of the IMA Dashboard is to quantify and report on areas of the museum’s activity that are of interest to museum observers and of particular interest to museum studies specialists, colleagues, and patrons. The IMA Dashboard grew out of the museum’s ongoing commitment to transparency and a desire to provide an inside perspective on operations of the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA). As of October 2007, it is now possible for Web visitors to get to know the IMA from the inside. The IMA Dashboard offers online visitors access to current statistics about attendance, art collections, finances and other areas important to the daily operation of the museum. Visitors to the site ( can use these changing facts and figures to satisfy their curiosities and to better understand how the museum operates as a public institution with a responsibility to its community. The resource also serves as a management tool for museum staff members to measure their own performance relative to how effectively the museum is pursuing its mission.The Dashboard utilizes a format that allows its visitors to quickly reference information that spans the entire scope of the museum’s mission—from horticulture to registration, finance to building maintenance. Visitors can drill down into data to discover further context about the statistic, to see a progression of these statistics over time, as well as to find other Dashboard figures related to the selected record. The information is organized and sorted both by topic and department to enable ease of navigation. In order to encourage discourse, visitors can share their thoughts or questions by posting comments on data entries. In addition, IMA Dashboard users can receive updates on the Dashboard’s postings by signing up for the Dashboard’s RSS feed. Information such as attendance and web usage is generated on a weekly basis while other statistics are generated on a monthly basis. A team of Dashboard contributors keeps the information current by updating statistics unique to their department.

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