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Building the Forever Memory Institution: Smithsonian Collaborations: Libraries, Archives, & Museums
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Building the Forever Memory Institution: Smithsonian Collaborations: Libraries, Archives, & Museums

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Building the Forever Memory Institution: Smithsonian Collaborations: Libraries, Archives, & Museums.Martin R. Kalfatovic. 2009 ASIS&T Annual Meeting: Thriving on Diversity - Information Opportunities …

Building the Forever Memory Institution: Smithsonian Collaborations: Libraries, Archives, & Museums.Martin R. Kalfatovic. 2009 ASIS&T Annual Meeting: Thriving on Diversity - Information Opportunities in a Pluralistic World. November 11, 2009. Vancouver, BC.

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  • 1. Building the Forever Memory Institution Smithsonian Collaborations: Libraries, Archives, & Museums ASIS&T Vancouver, BC 11 November 2009 Martin R. Kalfatovic Smithsonian Libraries
  • 2. 'Forever' institutions such as libraries, universities, museums are especially important in uncertain times because they provide stability and continuity G. Wayne Clough, 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
  • 3. Vast, But Not Infinite “I assumed you packed the library in 1,000 volume boxes, each box having a capacity of precisely one cubic meter. All space to the farthest known spiral galaxies would not hold the Universal Library. In fact, you would need this volume of space so often that the number of packed universes would be a figure with only some 60 zeroes less than the figure for the number of volumes… The figure is not infinite, it is a finite figure.” - Kurd Lasswitz, “The Universal Library.” 1901
  • 4. Vast, But Not Infinite • 100 characters (Western European languages, plus spaces and some punctuation) • Each line has 50 spaces • Each page is 40 lines long • Each book is 500 pages long • Total Books: 100 1,000,000 • Googolplex: 1 followed by a googol (10 100) zeros
  • 5. Vast, But Not Infinite The sum of our collections, Libraries, Archives and Museums is Vast, but by most practical – and even impractical counting methodologies – it is finite. Vast, but Finite!
  • 6. The Memex In 1945, Vannavar Bush, Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, outlined the ultimate tool of the near term future, the Memex, in the article “As We May Think”
  • 7. LIBRARIES ARCHIVES MUSEUMS
  • 8. Memory Institutions
  • 9. As an agent of change, printing altered methods of data collections, storage and retrieval systems, and communications networks used by learned communities throughout Europe - Elizabeth L. Eisenstein The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe (1983)
  • 10. Memory Institutions: Museums
  • 11. Memory Institutions: Museums Plant Animal Institution Total Specimens Specimens National Museum of Natural 4,500,000 78,500,000 83,000,000 History, Washington, DC Natural History Museum, 5,200,000 55,000,000 60,200,000 London Musee National d'Histoire 8,877,300 50,000,000 58,877,300 Naturelle, Paris American Museum of 9,000,000 21,000,000 30,000,000 Natural History, New York Harvard Univ. 5,000,000 21,000,000 26,000,000 Herbarium/Mus. Comp. Zoo.
  • 12. Memory Institutions: Museums Art works: Stephen Weil calculated (in 1990) that in the U.S. alone there were over 8 million art works created: • 200,000 working artists • 40 works per artist • 8 million total works per year!
  • 13. Memory Institutions: Museums
  • 14. Memory Institutions: Museums
  • 15. Memory Institutions: Museums
  • 16. But Is It Google-able? 32 million published books 750 million articles and essays 25 million songs 500 million images 500,000 movies 3 million videos, TV shows and short films 100 billion+ web pages
  • 17. But Is It Google-able? • Compressed (at today’s standards) this would be about 50 petabytes (about the size of a small-town (U.S.) library building)
  • 18. “The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great reliability; and something is bound to come of it” - Vannevar Bush (1945)
  • 19. “The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great reliability; and something is bound to come of it” - Vannevar Bush (1945)
  • 20. • 19 Museums & Galleries • 9 Research Centers • 18 Archives • 1 Library (with 20 branches) • 1 Zoo
  • 21. • 137 million objects • 26.8 million visitors • 188.8 million web visitors • ~ 6,000 staff
  • 22. Why Collaborate • Wherever • Whenever • Whatever
  • 23. Challenges • Create a virtual Smithsonian • Make content relevant • Meet stakeholder expectations
  • 24. Create • Digitization Strategy • Digital media use policy • Web and New Media strategy
  • 25. Quick Win: Flickr Commons
  • 26. Collection Information Systems ArtCIS NPM CIS NMAI CIS NMAH CIS NASM CIS ACM CIS NMNH RCIS SIRIS
  • 27. Images, Sound, Video Archival Storage Collection Information Systems ArtCIS NPM CIS NMAI CIS NMAH CIS NASM CIS ACM CIS NMNH RCIS SIRIS DAM
  • 28. Enterprise Digital Asset Net Images, Sound, (EDAN) Video Metadata Archival Storage Collection Information Systems ArtCIS NPM CIS NMAI CIS NMAH CIS NASM CIS ACM CIS NMNH RCIS SIRIS DAM
  • 29. Enthusiast Scientist Parent Colleague & Child Enterprise Digital Asset Net Images, Sound, (EDAN) Video Metadata Archival Storage Collection Information Systems ArtCIS NPM CIS NMAI CIS NMAH CIS NASM CIS ACM CIS NMNH RCIS SIRIS DAM
  • 30. Collections.si.edu +2million records | 265,000 images
  • 31. The Natural History of Unicorns Each object in the Museum … would have been associated with a book (or several books) in the Library. However, there would also be many books which could not correspond with any exhibit (the natural history of unicorns, for example, or the geometry of round squares) …
  • 32. The Natural History of Unicorns …One had then … a perfectly balanced edifice, in which everything which the human mind is capable of inventing or understanding has its place. - Andrew Crumey, Pfitz (1995)
  • 33. Thanks!

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