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Play the MCN 2011 ARG! The game industry has been exploring new technology approaches that give them the agility to cross platform boundaries and lower the barriers of entry, thus facilitating widespread adoption by people. This year the MCN conference attendees are invited to experience these new developments through an on-site Alternate Reality Game (ARG) as a collaboration between conference coordinators and staff and local gaming experts. A companion half-day workshop on Wednesday will guide participants through the steps to create their own games, and the game will be played throughout the Conference.
by Nate Solas
Starting with examples of in-house search technologies from many of the leaders in the field (Indianapolis Museum of Art, Powerhouse Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum), this workshop will be a hands-on lab to build and tune a from-scratch Solr search engine using a broad sample dataset. Participants will learn how to configure their search engines and examine many useful tips and tricks: autocomplete while typing, faceting, spelling suggestions, "more like this", and more. The focus will be Solr, an open-source enterprise search engine, but we will also touch on Sphinx as an alternative.
Attendees are asked to bring their own laptops and be prepared to work with a virtual server I will set up. To ease compatibility and level the playing field I will set up a web-based sandbox so everyone can play without needing shell-level access or experience beyond editing a configuration file. Using Solr "cores" we will be able to quickly clone a test environment and allow everyone who wants to a chance to configure and test a search engine using shared sample data. In this interactive environment we will be able to easily examine the subtle differences configuration changes can make in fundamental areas like spelling suggestions, proximity searches, etc.
We will finish by exploring search beyond our own sites: how can we best optimize online content to make it most broadly "findable"? As our content spreads beyond our walls we need to help ground it through use of microformats, inline RDFa, and URL structure as it applies to crawlers, robots, and scripts. We will also do a brief inspection of the resurgence of HTML meta tags as described by the OpenGraph protocol, and how these are being used by other search engines.
by Christopher Borkowski
Free and open source, the Drupal Content Management System (CMS) allows anyone to easily create and manage websites. Many museums and other nonprofit organizations have started using Drupal because of its numerous add-on modules and designs that empower users to create robust, interactive, feature-rich sites. With Drupal, users can integrate countless content types, including videos, blogs, polls, calendars, social networking feeds, and additional features developed by others in the museum community. The Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC) has already migrated more than a dozen of its museum members to Drupal, and many of the individuals who are now responsible for updating the sites had little or no web development experience prior to the Drupal switch. This workshop will offer an introduction to installing and using Drupal.
Have you ever wanted to be able to express your ideas for digital collections more clearly, or thought that a hack day sounds like fun but need a way to get started with basic web scripting? In this hands-on workshop you will learn how to use online tools to create interesting visualisations to explore a cultural dataset and create your own simple 'mash-up'.
The workshop will be a fun, supportive environment where you will learn by playing with small snippets of code. No scripting knowledge is assumed.
by Bert Degenhart Drenth
Linked Open Data (LOD) is a principle in which data objects (with, for instance, metadata about museum objects, persons, and institutions) are identified by a persistent URL. This allows linking of data from different data sources into a large "knowledge network". This session demonstrates how the principles of Linked Open Data was applied to the Dutch version of the Art and Architecture Thesaurus and RKDArtists. Both datasets are hosted by the "Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie" (RKD) in the Hague.
Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) are interactive forms of digital storytelling that use the real world as a stage, often involving multiple media and game elements, to tell stories that may be affected by participants' ideas or actions. ARGs offer plenty of online components and on-site play. This workshop invites conference attendees to experience both an on-site ARG and hands-on activity to go through steps to create an ARG, with local experts on hand to guide the process.
This workshop begins with participants creating their own story for a game, then going through the steps to invent their ARG, including making a media plan and learning about new media technologies to be used in the ARG. Participants will be able to take what they have learned back to their home communities to implement in museum settings.
How can we deliver the content that matters most to our visitors? How do we craft content that fosters engagement, interaction, and dialogue? The Mobile Tour Content Workshop will cover fundamental requirements of creating useful and engrossing content for mobile tours.
We'll spend a portion of the workshop reviewing exemplary audio content, and we'll discuss what characteristics make mobile content really engaging. We will break into teams to write content scripts, then regroup to present and discuss them. Finally, we'll cover strategies for how participants can implement fresh new mobile tour strategies at their own institutions.
Holding decades worth of exhibition catalogs, member journals, symposium papers, and historical records, and publishing new scholarship every day, museums go beyond being repositories of objects—they are also repositories of knowledge about objects and their related fields. Accessible, flexible, and exploding in popularity, e-books offer museums the opportunity to use their troves of material to develop a deeper connection with visitors, increase audience exposure through new channels, and even generate new revenue. In this half-day workshop, participants will learn how to create a basic e-book in the industry standard EPUB format, from start to finish.
by Ken Rickard
Many organizations that use the Drupal content management platform to manage their sites experience some common pain points:
Drupal forces a learning curve on all users, especially with respect to terminology and workflow.
No easy solution exists to find the content that matters to a specific editor.
Edits to live content cannot be proofread by multiple editors before being pushed live.
Media editing and integration is divorced from content editing.
Drupal’s default feature set does not match those found in other content management systems.
In this session, you will learn how to use Workbench, a free suite of modules for Drupal 7 that is designed to fill in functional gaps in Drupal while making common tasks easier. It was designed and developed in collaboration with non-technical content managers and editors who are responsible for maintaining Drupal sites on a daily basis.
by Miriam Langer, Chris Weisbart and Michael Wilson
Sensors in exhibits offer myriad possibilities. This workshop will explore using the popular Arduino microcontroller to sense users/interactions in a gallery space. This might take the form of switches, motion detection, automated counters, or audio control to enliven and enhance experiences in the gallery. Arduino interfaces seamlessly with ethernet, video, audio, and flash, allowing easy and exciting ways to trigger sensors from different locations.
Arduino is an open-source microcontroller supported by a vast community of designers, artists, and do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiasts of all kinds. This workshop will demonstrate some sensors and offer a place for brainstorming ideas.
Creating a mobile application for your museum requires a lot of thought and team planning. Using real world examples and experiences this half-day workshop will focus on different areas to consider when creating an app. Whether you are planning your first mobile app or would like to learn from others who have been in the trenches this workshop will offer advice and provide a forum to get answers to your questions.
According to Mashable’s Ben Parr “84.4% of U.S. Internet users watched at least one online video in October and the average person watched 10.8 hours of video”, and that was in 2009!
As the technology to produce high quality, high definition video becomes cheaper and more accessible, it’s also becoming ever easier to produce sophisticated, high quality video programs in-house.
And museums have a wealth of assets and activities that can form the basis of programs produced specifically to be viewed on the web - via Facebook, YouTube, GoogleTV, Vimeo, and of course, ArtBabble, for desktop and mobile viewing.
This half-day workshop will lead participants through all the steps required to produce videos for a variety of platforms, on a limited budget. We’ll review the goals, audience and distribution considerations, and cover the all the bases from concept to distribution.
Margaret Mitchell House
990 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309-3901
The Atlanta History Center helps us kick off the conference with a reception at the Margaret Mitchell House. Begin your evening with nibbles and a selection of local Sweetwater beers http://sweetwaterbrew.com.
16th–19th November 2011