Sessions at Museum Computer Network (MCN) conference 2011 about Museums

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Wednesday 16th November 2011

  • Workshop: Best Practices in Museum Search

    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.

    At 9:00am to 12:30pm, Wednesday 16th November

  • Workshop: Dive into Drupal (for beginners)

    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.

    At 9:00am to 12:30pm, Wednesday 16th November

  • Workshop: Hacking and Mash-ups (for beginners)

    by Mia

    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.

    At 9:00am to 12:30pm, Wednesday 16th November

  • Workshop: Linked Open Data for Museums

    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.

    At 9:00am to 5:30pm, Wednesday 16th November

  • Workshop: Make an Alternate Reality Game!

    by Nettrice

    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.

    At 9:00am to 12:30pm, Wednesday 16th November

  • Workshop: Mobile Tour Content

    by Tim Svenonius and Amy Heibel

    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.

    At 9:00am to 12:30pm, Wednesday 16th November

  • Workshop: Managing Drupal Content Management with Workbench

    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.

    At 2:00pm to 5:30pm, Wednesday 16th November

  • Workshop: Video Production For the Web & Mobile

    by Robin White Owen and Ted Forbes

    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.

    At 2:00pm to 5:30pm, Wednesday 16th November

Thursday 17th November 2011

  • Keynote Presentation: The 21st Century Aura

    by Kevin Slavin(public)

    Room: International North
    The broad principles of the "aura" around the work of art were first articulated around 75 years ago, in the wake from the waves of mechanical reproduction and distribution. These days, we're swimming in something else: ambient informatics around every object in every museum around the world.

    This electromagnetic aura doesn't reproduce the work, so much as it surrounds it, placing it in the read/write context of the rest of the world. This will be a landscape view on the systems by which this new aura is produced and understood, and what is at stake, what might be gained, what might be lost.

    At 8:30am to 10:00am, Thursday 17th November

  • Engaging with Audiences in the Digital Age

    by Eric Longo

    Room: Singapore
    This roundtable is an opportunity to identify and discuss new practices, strategies, benefits and pitfalls in museum marketing, outreach and audience development in the age of social media.

    At 11:00am to 12:30pm, Thursday 17th November

  • Innovative approaches to conservation

    by Dale Kronkright

    Room: Manila
    Chaired by Dale Kronkright, Head of Conservation at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, this session includes:

    11:00 AM - 11:30 AM: Leveraging Preservation Funding to Enhance a Museum’s Reach at the Shelburne Museum

    11:30 AM - 12:00 PM: WikiProject: Public Art

    12:00 PM - 12:30 PM Conservation in the trenches, from the Smithsonian to Haiti

    At 11:00am to 12:30pm, Thursday 17th November