Authoritative index into our collections database, with links to every online instance of an object, regardless of project, showing different thematic or interpretive uses of the object in other websites • Link from object to all related information or authority records and media such as images, audio files, transcripts, object captions and descriptions; related objects
Happy developers, happy museums
JISC #dev8dMia Ridge, Science Museum
• I’m Mia
• I work for the Science Museum
• Yes, I have an accent (fading after several
• http://twitter.com/mia_out - @ me with
comments. I’ll post URLs there too.
• http://openobjects.org.uk – my blog on
digital heritage, blah blah blah
• I think museums can change lives
– "Those who do not study history are doomed to
repeat it. “
– "No sensible decision can be made any longer
without taking into account not only the world as it is,
but the world as it will be." Isaac Asimov
• Museums should be about delight, serendipity
and answers that provoke more questions
• Museums should also be committed to
accessibility, transparency, curation, respecting
and enabling expertise
Why am I here today?
• Museums have lots of
• We like sharing it
• We could guess what’s useful
for researchers, educators and
developers - but we’d rather
go to the source. How we can
work with you?
– The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed
– We have a lot of it. A lot of what we have is rubbish
– Challenges to curatorial authority, fear of loss of control, loss of
trust, fear that we’ll get the IT wrong
• Funding, metrics
– How do you propose agile projects to funding committees? How
do you measure visitors to a mashup?
– We don’t always have image or IP rights for our objects or
Dealing with the challenges
• We can’t afford to build interfaces to meet every need.
– But we don’t need to if we make it possible for others to build
• Inspiring examples, real success stories from users,
sharing technical solutions help sector evangelisers
• ‘Fail faster, succeed sooner’ – reward intelligent failure
What are museums known for?
• Buildings full of stuff
• Being experts
• Making visitors come to us
• Being fun. Yay! 8D
• Being boring. Boo :(
What are museum websites known
• Helping you plan a visit
• Most people use museum websites to find
out when a museum is open, how much it
costs, and what's on.
• Which is nice... but... we can do more
What do we have?
• Lots of objects, lots of images
• Lots of metadata about objects
• Also interrelated records on people,
places, dates, historical periods, events,
subjects (topics, themes)
– Who designed, invented, made, used, bought,
owned, donated an object? When and where
was it made, used, found? What’s related?
What are museums doing at the
• One way or another, we're opening up access to
– Read access is easy, write access is harder.
• APIs large and small
• Aiming to produce re-usable, interoperable data
with clear re-use statements
• Cool examples: IMA dashboard, Powerhouse
Museum OPAC, Brooklyn Museum
We’re taking our content to where
people hang out
What would we like to be known
• An end to silos
• User-centred, not institution-centred
• Helping researchers help themselves
• Helping developers help others
• Being a source of content for lecturers and
• Not just history, biography or art – also
science, natural history, archaeology
What can we do for you?
• Who are you? University users (students, researchers,
teachers and administrators), hobbyists, specialists,
developers; direct or indirect uses
• Enquiry-based learning; mashups; linked data, semantic
web technologies, cross-collections searches; faceted
browsing to make complex searches easy; museums as
a place where stuff lives – a happy home for metadata
mapped around objects and authority records?
• What else? You tell me! What do you want to provide for
your users, and how can museums help?
Happy developers + happy
museums = happy punters
• “The coolest thing to do with your data will
be thought of by someone else”
• http://flickr.com/photos/ncindc/2746241750/ Museum
ReplicaDifferenceEngine.jpg Replica Difference Engine
• http://flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/3083455553/ Happy
• http://flickr.com/photos/dsevilla/129592677/ Curiosity
• http://flickr.com/photos/criminalintent/537762948/ Crowd
• http://flickr.com/photos/zoomzoom/304135268/ Silos
• If not in the list, http://flickr.com/photos/_mia/