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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Break-down of topics for Research Forum discussion and review of research generally

Feeling over-connected? try NOSO

NOSO Header

The NOSO site has been out there for a bit -- indeed there was a presentation @ the de Young the end of June -- but i don't recall anyone mentioning it in the museum sphere.

it's a great observation on our dependence on tools to organize our selves, and our [social] lives, and our need to maintain identity through personal space.

drop in, tune out ... i think this is why we have an island.


classification, folksonomy and lyrics

album cover


got a corvair in my yard

hasn't run in 15 years

it's a home for the birds now

it's no longer a car.


Jim White, Corvair, No Such Place update for the Dublin Core Annual Meeting

I've been invited to give an update on the activities of at the Dublin Core Annual General meeting. While I can't be in Singapore, this invitation did provide the motivation to do a podcast providing an update on where we are with the research and highlighting some very early research results. You can download the podcast here.

We're definitely seeing differences in behaviour between tagging on the single-institution site at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the multi-institution site at And we're seeing differences in tagging depending on whether users see object descriptions or not, and whether they see works of art in related sets or not.

The current data collection phase is exploring the effect of showing others tags. In the fall, we'll move on to explore what happens when users can select works to tag. We had some great discussion about what 'choice' means at the steve summer meeting on Grindstone.

Tagging game at the McCord Museum, Montreal

The McCord Museum has launched a 'keyword matching game'. Players are asked to supply up to 10 keywords for each of a group of images, within 3 minutes.

It took me a few minutes to figure out the interface -- and i found myself peering at the images [maybe that's just because i've had a long day at the screen, but i was looking for details, and found i was squinting.]

McCord Museum of Canadian History: Scoring Screen: The scoring screen from the McCord's keyword matching game. term set 2 data collection launched

we've just deployed the second phase of the tagging experiment. at

the steve tagger (a piece of open-source software) is a key tool in our IMLS-funded study of the contribution social tagging and folksonomy can make to on-line access to art collections. throughout our experiement we'll be varying the interface of the tagger to find out what encourages

and we'll also be studying the results of tags, to see if they are:

  • real words (we're using word net)
  • terms from our discipline (we're using the AAT and ULAN)
  • new to the museum (we're comparing to museum documentation)
  • appropriate to the work of art (we're doing term-by-term review).

the research process is described in the attached diagram.

we're looking forward to sharing the results of our study with the community. If you'd like to participate, please come by.


search term analysis: percentages of term use in a hitwise report

The question of what makes a 'meaningful' number of queries of an on-line resource has been lingering in the back of my mind ever since i did the analysis of the Guggenheim Museum search logs last fall. At issue, really, is how to profile and analyse the long tail of user searching. (There was a D-Lib article about this not long ago, that talks about ways to analyse the nature of the tail.)

What brought this back to mind was a Hitwise Newsletter report that included the following analysis of terms that contain 'summer'.

Search Terms Analysis: Search Analysis- "summer" Search Term Analysis
Most popular keywords containing the term "summer" for the 4 weeks ending 05/19/07

[CC] "circulating contexts--curating media/net/art"

Open Call for Participation and/or Papers
CONT3XT.NET #06.07


[CC] "circulating contexts--curating media/net/art"

1 June - 31 October 2007

tagging the Philadelphia Museum of Art Collection

tag cloud from PMA tagger

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has 'soft launched' a tagging application integrated into their on-line collections catalogue.

A tag cloud -- at -- shows tags assigned anonymously to the collection (tags don't seem to be linked to users though PMA has a My Museum / Gallery feature). Tags in the cloud are sized by frequency; the sequencing isn't immediately obvious.

Any user can add tags to a work, at the collection record. Tags can also be deleted by any user.

add tags to a work from the PMA collection

Tags are shown in the cloud immediately [presumably with some sort of filtering].


authenticity and perception -- sherry turkle in Forbes

Embedded in a piece on 'virtuality and its discontents' by sherry turkle in forbes is the following observation about a visit to the museum with her daughter:

@www2007 in Banff -- tagging workshop -- Thomas Vander Wal

Tagging today and tomorrow

Thomas Vander Wal

Pew study stats on tagging -- 7% of people in the US study daily

history of tagging in keyword description of resources has a long history (lotus notes, compuserv forums, bitsy)


  • personal free tagging of pages for one's own retrieval

object --> interest --> identity

                /                  |

[culture] [definition] [vocabulary]

@www2007 in Banff -- tagging workshop -- session 2

in the second session of the tagging workshop ...

Emerging Motivations for Tagging: Expression, Performance and Activism

Alla Zollers

@www2007 in Banff -- query log analysis workshop

Concurrent with the tagging workshop is one on query log analyis. It looks like the papers -- on-line here -- will be helpful in the log analysis work (where we look at logs as evidence of the kinds of things that users search for, so that we can assess whether tags could further support access to art museum collections on-line)


@www2007 in Banff -- tagging workshop -- poll

Frank Smadja has set up two polls about tagging:


go to the site and register your opinion. you have to register in order to vote in both polls ;(



@www2007 in Banff -- tagging workshop

banff springs hotelI'm in Banff this week, at the www2007 meeting. i'm on the program committee for the tagging workshop that is taking place today, and will stay for a bit to see what the technical side of the web is thinking. These are my notes from the things that i've attended (or wish i could attend)...


The Big Crawl: Internet Archive looks for 1 billion pages

the internet archiveFollowing up on Brewster's MW2007 keynote, the Internet Archive has planned The Big Crawl, a plan to capture 1 billon web pages in a crawl starting June 1, 2007.

To make sure that your museum site is included, enter your URL as a start page. See for details.

And don't forget to enjoy some time travel on the Wayback Machine!