After You've Opened Pandora's Box


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Slides from my presentation at the MCN 2013 conference in Montreal. Looks at the challenges of promoting openness in museums, even when it is espoused as an institutional priority.

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After You've Opened Pandora's Box

  1. 1. After You’ve Opened Pandora’s Box Image here aligned with MCN above and baseline of text next to it.
  2. 2. The many outcomes of trying to be more open at PEM Ed Rodley Peabody Essex Museum
  3. 3. We have a directorial mandate: Figure out how to engage with a global online audience
  4. 4. We have a bunch of problems, including: •Our Wikipedia entry is terrible. •Our photo policy is pages long & changes 3x a year. •Our social media presence is too PR-driven. •Our digital asset management is not what we’d like it to be.
  5. 5. How to unravel this big ball of interconnected issues? The short answer? Take it a step at a time, on as many fronts as you can. Nobody gets there in one step.
  6. 6. Reframe problems as opportunities to deliver on the mission Moving from “We can’t because…” to “We should, because…” makes things easier.
  7. 7. Even when its completely aligned with mission and goals, changes is hard. •Nobody learned how to do this. •There’s no “right” way, or even “best practice”. •Everybody’s already busy.
  8. 8. So what’s that look like in regard to Wikipedia? •Agreeing to discuss it at senior mgmt level. •Assigning resources to it. •Talking with the WP community.
  9. 9. So what’s that look like in regard to photo policies? •Looking for opportunities to encourage visitors to take and share photos of PEM. •Agreeing to stop watermarking PEM-produced images. •Revisiting contract language around photo permissions, and possibly not taking shows with restrictive policies.
  10. 10. So what’s that look like in regard to social media? •Forming SM team and advisory group to coordinate our outreach. •Launching blogs. •Making it easier for staff to participate in our SM efforts.
  11. 11. Offer professional development around these tools We recognized a need for fast, focused PD and came up with a Social Media 101 brown bag lunch series. •SM platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc…) •Writing for blogs •Cloud-based tools
  12. 12. So what’s that look like in regard to digital asset mgmt? •Hire somebody before buying a DAMS •Look at workflows, not tools •Work on getting the back end right.
  13. 13. Look up The scale and reach of more open digital efforts is mindbending.
  14. 14. Edit-a-thon WW 1 edit-a-thon Stockholms Universitet. , Sweden. In 5 hours, 12 editors: uploaded 10 new images from the Europeana database were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. Five new Wikipedia articles were written and 17 existing articles were enriched with images. The improvements to the articles were done in Swedish, Finnish, English, German and Dutch.
  15. 15. Key Findings: The articles that had images added to them (in all languages) were viewed 453,047 times in November and 389,122 times in December. By June 2013, after six months, the articles had received a total 1.8 million views.
  16. 16. Find Ambassadors And find ways to support them
  17. 17. Find ways for the most people to win Instead of an “us” versus “those people” paradigm, find ways for people’s passions to be harnessed
  18. 18. Questions for you: How do convince the trepidacious to release control of assets? What strategies work?
  19. 19. Questions for you: How do you reconcile openness and increasing participation with the strongly held view of (art) museum as a temple and resistance to “diluting” the authority of the institution?
  20. 20. Questions for you: How do you change people’s minds about “giving it away for free” from a bad thing to a necessary way of achieving our missions? +1