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Building the
   Forever Memory
      Institution
 Smithsonian Collaborations:
   Libraries, Archives, &
         Museums
A...
'Forever' institutions
such as libraries,
universities, museums
are especially important
in uncertain times
because they p...
Vast, But Not
  Infinite
“I assumed you packed the library in 1,000
volume boxes, each box having a capacity of
precisely ...
Vast, But Not
   Infinite

• 100 characters (Western
  European languages, plus
  spaces and some
  punctuation)
• Each li...
Vast, But Not
   Infinite




The sum of our collections, Libraries, Archives and
Museums is Vast, but by most practical –...
The Memex
In 1945, Vannavar Bush,
Director of the Office of
Scientific Research and
Development, outlined the
ultimate too...
LIBRARIES


ARCHIVES


           MUSEUMS
Memory Institutions
As an agent of change, printing
         altered methods of data
collections, storage and retrieval
  systems, and communi...
Memory Institutions: Museums
Memory Institutions: Museums
                               Plant       Animal
        Institution                        ...
Memory Institutions: Museums
Art works: Stephen Weil
calculated (in 1990) that in
the U.S. alone there were
over 8 million...
Memory Institutions: Museums
Memory Institutions: Museums
Memory Institutions: Museums
But Is It Google-able?
32 million published
  books
750 million articles
  and essays
25 million songs
500 million images
...
But Is It Google-able?
• Compressed (at
  today’s
  standards) this
  would be about
  50 petabytes
  (about the size
  of...
“The world has
arrived at an age
of cheap complex
devices of great
reliability; and
something is
bound to come of
it”
   -...
“The world has
arrived at an age
of cheap complex
devices of great
reliability; and
something is
bound to come of
it”
   -...
•   19 Museums & Galleries
•    9 Research Centers
•   18 Archives
•    1 Library (with 20 branches)
•    1 Zoo
• 137 million objects
• 26.8 million visitors
• 188.8 million web
  visitors
• ~ 6,000 staff
Why
 Collaborate
• Wherever
• Whenever
• Whatever
Challenges
• Create a
  virtual
  Smithsonian
• Make content
  relevant
• Meet
  stakeholder
  expectations
Create
• Digitization
  Strategy
• Digital media
  use policy
• Web and
  New Media
  strategy
Quick Win: Flickr Commons
Collection Information Systems


ArtCIS              NPM CIS
                                        NMAI CIS             ...
Images, Sound,
                                                                                         Video

           ...
Enterprise Digital Asset Net                                  Images, Sound,
                              (EDAN)
        ...
Enthusiast                                                       Scientist
                                 Parent        ...
Collections.si.edu
+2million records | 265,000 images
The Natural History of Unicorns

Each object in the Museum …
would have been associated with a
book (or several books) in ...
The Natural History of Unicorns
…One had then … a
perfectly balanced
edifice, in which
everything which the
human mind is ...
Thanks!
Building the Forever Memory Institution: Smithsonian Collaborations: Libraries, Archives, & Museums
Building the Forever Memory Institution: Smithsonian Collaborations: Libraries, Archives, & Museums
Building the Forever Memory Institution: Smithsonian Collaborations: Libraries, Archives, & Museums
Building the Forever Memory Institution: Smithsonian Collaborations: Libraries, Archives, & Museums
Building the Forever Memory Institution: Smithsonian Collaborations: Libraries, Archives, & Museums
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 in a Pluralistic World. November 11, 2009. Vancouver, BC.

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

  1. 1. Building the Forever Memory Institution Smithsonian Collaborations: Libraries, Archives, & Museums ASIS&T Vancouver, BC 11 November 2009 Martin R. Kalfatovic Smithsonian Libraries
  2. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 7. LIBRARIES ARCHIVES MUSEUMS
  8. 8. Memory Institutions
  9. 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. 10. Memory Institutions: Museums
  11. 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. 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. 13. Memory Institutions: Museums
  14. 14. Memory Institutions: Museums
  15. 15. Memory Institutions: Museums
  16. 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. 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. 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. 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. 20. • 19 Museums & Galleries • 9 Research Centers • 18 Archives • 1 Library (with 20 branches) • 1 Zoo
  21. 21. • 137 million objects • 26.8 million visitors • 188.8 million web visitors • ~ 6,000 staff
  22. 22. Why Collaborate • Wherever • Whenever • Whatever
  23. 23. Challenges • Create a virtual Smithsonian • Make content relevant • Meet stakeholder expectations
  24. 24. Create • Digitization Strategy • Digital media use policy • Web and New Media strategy
  25. 25. Quick Win: Flickr Commons
  26. 26. Collection Information Systems ArtCIS NPM CIS NMAI CIS NMAH CIS NASM CIS ACM CIS NMNH RCIS SIRIS
  27. 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. 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. 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. 30. Collections.si.edu +2million records | 265,000 images
  31. 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. 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. 33. Thanks!

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