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Inexpensive Doesn’t Mean Cheap: Museum Applications for Low-Cost Technology

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A presentation on creative uses of low-cost technology for museums presented at AMA 2008 and SEMC 2008. Handouts that include links to all these technologies can be found on my website at http://hmbwells.googlepages.com/home.

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Inexpensive Doesn’t Mean Cheap: Museum Applications for Low-Cost Technology

  1. 1. Inexpensive Doesn't Mean Cheap: Museum Applications for Low-Cost Technology Heather Marie Wells Collections Assistant and Podcast Producer Shiloh Museum of Ozark History Springdale, Arkansas
  2. 2. Write This Down: http://hmbwells.googlepages.com/home
  3. 3. Disclaimers ● You may have to check with your IT department to get access to some of these websites or to download the software ● Check on your organization's regulations and policies on purchasing or putting out bids for services
  4. 4. Agenda ● Office Applications ● Communication & Collaboration ● Collections Work ● Publishing & Production ● Exhibit Work ● Fun with Google
  5. 5. Office Applications ● Open Office (download) ● Zoho Office (online) ● Think Free (online) ● Google Documents (online)
  6. 6. Office Applications ● Benefits – All are free – All can open and save in Microsoft formats or their own formats – Web based apps can be accessed anywhere ● Drawbacks – Not as robust (i.e. lack of fonts or features) – Get features and fonts slower than name-brand software – Have to have Internet for web based apps
  7. 7. Font Management ● What the Font? – Identifies fonts – Sells fonts for as low as $5.00 ● Font Viewer3 – Organizes fonts into collections – Makes fonts available as needed (making software run faster) – Print a catalog for your curators – $8.00 compared to $80.00
  8. 8. File Management ● Back-up (~$5.00) – Mozy – month, year, bi-annually – Carbonite – yearly or more ● File Converters – Zamzar ● You just never know when you'll need to convert a file for- mat
  9. 9. Web Browsers ● Alternatives to IE ● Firefox ● Often faster than IE ● Opera ● Usually get new ● Safari features before IE (like ● Google Chrome tabs) ● More plugins and add- ons available ● Cross-platform ● Usually more secure than IE
  10. 10. Nuke Anything!
  11. 11. And It's Gone!
  12. 12. Communication & Collaboration ● Instant messaging ● Message boards & groups ● Blogs ● Wikis ● Twitter
  13. 13. Collections Work ● Perpetual calendars ● Converting numbers ● Genealogy ● Patent searches
  14. 14. Collections Work ● Perpetual calendars ● Converting numbers ● Genealogy ● Patent searches ● Archivists' Toolkit ● LibraryThing ● DATABASES
  15. 15. Publishing & Production ● Cafe Press ● Lulu ● Vista Print ● Puzzle generators ● Sharing presentations – SlideShare – 280 Slides
  16. 16. Audio and Video ● Audacity ● PhotoStory ● Movie Maker ● Loops ● Audio converter
  17. 17. Exhibit Work ● Image Processing – Editing – Enlarging – Sharing – Sources ● Exhibit Design – Floor Plans – 3D Modeling
  18. 18. Photo Editing ● Picnik (online) – Robust features with free tier – Next tier starts at $25.00 per year ● Picasa (download) owned by Google – Excellent photo organizer – Basic, user-friendly tools for touch-ups – Integrates with Google's photo sharing site ● GIMP (download) – Comparable to Photoshop in power and features – usually less user-friendly – Free compared to $800.00 for Photoshop
  19. 19. Photo Enlarging - Rastabator ● Online: file can't be bigger than 1MB ● Download version can do smaller dot size ● Enlarges photos up to 20 meters ● You get a PDF to printout and put together ● Best results: photos with high contrast, high resolution, small dot size
  20. 20. Photo Sharing ● Flickr – Free tier, limited uploads & storage – 3rd party integrations = more ways to interact ● SmugMug – Geared more towards professionals – Geared more towards making you money – Better watermarks – Remove all references to SmugMug so it looks like your site
  21. 21. Photo Sources ● Generic royalty-free photos ● As low as $1.00 ● Upload your photos for others to use, but check terms of use
  22. 22. Floor Planning ● PlanningWiz – online design tool for simply floor planning. Made for retail and real estate, but works for exhibit planning
  23. 23. 3D Modeling ● Blender – free, opensource, cross-platform, GNU General Public License 3D creation suite – Make things in Blender for Google SketchUp ● Google SketchUp – create, modify, and share 3D models – Make things in SketchUp and smash it into Google Earth for a virtual 3D tour
  24. 24. Google! What Don't They Do?! ● Searches – Patents – Images – News archives – Scholar – Blog – Creative commons license – Book scanning project
  25. 25. Google! More than Searching ● Google Pages and Sites ● Google Reader ● Google Notebook ● Google Earth ● Gmail ● Google Labs Note: Google offers free pro versions to schools so if you are affiliated with a university, college, etc. check with them on this.
  26. 26. Finding Things Yourself ● Know what you already have ● Look for online educational technology training and services ● Computer industry websites ● Blogs & Podcasts ● Museum technology groups
  27. 27. Searches ● Open source, Shareware, Freeware + kind of app you are looking for (freeware presentation software) ● Name of commercial app + alternative (photoshop alternative)
  28. 28. Cautions ● Not all Open source and Shareware software is free – Open source means you have access to the program code and you can change it to add your own features and sometimes this may be more valuable than being free – Shareware often goes by the honor system; if you use it, pay for it or give a donation
  29. 29. More Cautions ● Beta versions – Ready for general use but haven't finished final testing – Websites crash or won't be available – Downloaded software is prone to crash – Don't be shocked by instability – They may become inactive when the final version is released – Just save often and plan extra time in schedule – Developers like constructive feedback and often provide means of contact
  30. 30. Last Words ● Be vigilant about Malware ● Use your searches to find names of software and then check for reviews from reputable sources such as computer industry magazines and website ● Never download software from sources you don't know; discuss with others if they know anything about the source ● But above all. . .
  31. 31. Don't be Intimidated and have FUN WITH TECHNOLOGY!!
  32. 32. Thank You for Coming! Heather Marie Wells Collections Assistant and Podcast Producer hmwells@springdaleark.org http:www.springdaleark.org/shiloh 479-750-8165 Shiloh Museum of Ozark History Springdale, Arkansas

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