Saturday, April 5, 2014 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
MUSEUMS AND THE WEB 2014: LIGHTNING TALK 2: STRATEGERY
Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel
202 East Pratt Street
Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.
>> Douglas Hegley: I’ve been warned to tell everyone that it’s not real bacon. It tastes of chicken. We are going to wait a few more minutes, because it’s Saturday morning.
How many people were at karaoke last night? I didn’t think so. Me neither.
When I was in graduate school, I think it was just after the Jurassic Period, I had a 7:30 in the morning class in Abnormal Psychology. We all show up, half of us on time, the professor spends the first 15 minutes ranting and raving and frothing about the people who were late, which meant you didn’t get anything for showing up on time. So I’m not going to rant and froth. I’m just going to wait a little longer. I’m going to be patient and understanding.
Do you want me to tell jokes? I’ll tell you my 5‑year‑old son’s favorite joke, just to wake you up. Why did the elephant paint his toenails red?
>> Douglas Hegley: So he could hide in the cherry bush. Have you ever seen an elephant hiding in the cherry bush? See? It’s working! Ba‑dum‑bump.
I recommend more coffee.
All of you.
>> Do you want to hear a joke about pizza?
>> I can’t tell you. It’s too cheesy.
You know what they say the secret to telling pizza jokes is, right? It’s all in the delivery.
>> Douglas Hegley: That’s the sound of one person clapping.
>> Javier Pereda: Single man clapping.
>> Douglas Hegley: Good morning!
>> Good morning.
>> Douglas Hegley: Welcome to the final day of the Museums and the Web 2014. Everyone enjoying the conference so far?
It’s tough, the first morning of the last day, the first session. I understand that. So we’ve given you about a 10‑minute delay, given ourselves about a 10‑minute delay here, just to let a few more people flow in. Sorry not to start exactly on time, but maybe it is appreciated too.
Glad to see all of you here. I hope you’re having a great conference. My name is Doug Hegley, the director of technology at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. I’m chairing our Lightning Talks this morning.
As a quick reminder to the panelists, Lightning Talks are short. We’re going to limit our speakers this morning to 7 minutes. They should be getting to the point. That’s why you limit the talks.
We’re going to go serial order. We’re going to do back‑to‑back 7‑minute Lightning Talks with very quick transitions. I’m hoping there will be plenty of questions, but we’ll leave them until all of the speakers have spoken, in the interests of hearing them and how they string their talks together.
It’s also supposed to be fun. You know, shout things out, clap, cheer, whistle, whatever it may be. Lightning Talks are not serious academic lectures. They’re supposed to be fun and intense. Don’t hesitate.
Uh‑oh. Someone wants to quit now. “I want a serious one.”
It’s kind of fun. It’s sort of easy to make fun of strategy. I speak on strategy sometimes, sometimes I even do it well, and people love to make fun of it. Strategy can be not so great, right? Strategy can be what the nattering nay‑bobs throw at you before they go off on the retreat to make a strategic plan. They come back, lay it on you and do what you did yesterday, right?
But, if you really think about it, strategy is nothing without these four things, right? It’s a plan to do something important knowing that there are finite resources, and it’s a meaningless thing unless there’s action.
So keep those four elements in mind as you hear our speakers this morning. What are we really doing here? What’s the strategy? Is it working? How does it meet within those four different factors that make a strategy effective?
So without further ado, I’m introducing Pam, Pam and Steve from the Albright Knox.
>> Hi. Thank you so much for coming. As Douglas mentioned, Pam, Pam, Steve from the Albright Knox Art Gallery. We’re a 150‑year‑old museum of modern and contemporary art, from Buffalo, New York. We’re here to give practical tips and advice and case study what we’ve done over the past couple years.
You may have surmised, we do not exist officially on the org chart of our organization, and we just are really happy what we’ve been able to do with few resources and a lot of Goodwill and a lot of good collaboration among departments. So we’re going to outline the basic story, then give case studies of some projects we feel have been very successful. We hope it is encouraging and entertaining for all of you.
So we started out in 2010 as we were gearing up for our 150th anniversary. Pam Martin and another one of our wonderful colleagues, our digital assets manager, decided that it was time to just solidify our efforts and get unified front across the few platforms on which we were active.
We had a major website redesign that Pam organized in 2010. We really ramped up our digital asset collection, which includes 150 years of amazing archival material. We quickly went from two people to four people, to now about 12 people who come together every two weeks for an hour. We sit together around a big, rectangular table and can get really crazy. As you can see, we have people from publications, digital media, membership, technology, our guest services department, and we all have a lot of fun working together. We go point by point. As you can imagine, there is a lot of structure to help rein the chaos that rains when 12 people come together, especially when there are sugary snacks, which are now banned at our meetings.
As the publications department, we feel like we bring structure to this, as you might imagine. Pam and Steve run the meetings. They come up with a really strict agenda put out ahead of time. We run the meetings very quickly and carefully, which is actually great preparation for a lightning talk. We then distribute the meeting notes afterwards. That’s what we feel we bring to the table, and that has really helped us to be successful.
The key to our successes, I really like the five I’s, this individual initiative we talked about, and management buy‑in, not involvement but buy‑in. You can’t start siphoning resources off of other people’s departments, as we know. So we really had buy‑in from them, but didn’t create extra work for the management. That’s what I feel like they really appreciated. As I mentioned, we felt we needed to get out there, we had such great content to share. We had interest in staff across all departments. Inexpensive or free tools, which will be outlined in a moment. Really unique and amazing things we’ve been able to do. I’m not pronouncing that other word, but tireless team members, who even when free online tools sometimes crash, all your data goes away, we really had that need to get the information out there, so that’s really been a key as well.
>> So think overview of the platforms we’re on. You can see them. Then we’re going to go into a few case studies of projects we’ve done.
We had an exhibition about contemporary photography in the galleries and wanted to promote this online and get our visitors involved. We used Instagram and Twitter to put out a call, asked people to share photos that were related to the different themes of the exhibitions. One of the themes was landscapes. Asked people to share their photos and tag them so we could find them. Then every Friday we posted eight of those submissions on our website, then shared them back out over our Instagram and Twitter accounts. People were just really excited to see their own work on our platforms. It actually did bring people into the exhibition as well.
>> Stephen Boyd: As you can see, we used Tumblr as a venue for hosting long‑form largely educational content. Back in November, our head of research resources posted an interesting article on the left about the lost history of a Degas painting, which tied into “Monuments Men” released in February. From that Tumblr post we constructed a physical exhibition in the space using archival materials, ephemera and other materials around that.
This one you might not be as familiar with. This allows us to map the outdoor structure on the gallery grounds as well as hosting a lot of archival content about history in Buffalo. We’ve created a number of walking tours, which are accessible using your mobile device. They allow people to move around in physical spaces using materials we have provided.
>> Then one more platform is Tiki‑Toki, a web‑based platform. We’ve created timelines about past directors, past exhibitions. This one is a resources for educators. So basically, we’ve taken all of our collection highlights, information about our collection works and lesson plans, plotted them on a timeline, so a teacher can go here and say, OK, I’m teaching about the 1960s. What resources do you have? Call up everything at once, then link to our website for the full resource.
>> That’s the past. Moving forward, we might be amused to know as soon as I proposed this, we were told probably digital strategy would be moving into our department. We’re really thrilled about that. We’re very, very happy about that.
Moving forward, the big point to make is that we now have two years of data to work with, to analyze and help us move forward in a meaningful way, really continue to make the case for being active out there in the world in a small staff with few resources.
We have a couple moments left for Steve to talk about art madness.
>> Stephen Boyd: You’re all familiar with March Madness, the basketball term. We created a bracketed term, Art Madness, which wraps up on Monday the 7th. Go to the Twitter page, you can vote. We feature head‑to‑head items from our collection. The response is overwhelming. We’re surprised how many people are competing and how personally they take it. We’ve gotten feedback that it is better than the basketball tournament. That’s something we can be very proud of. Thank you very much.
>> Douglas Hegley: Thank you. Tom, you’re up next.
>> Tom Trimbath: OK. Good morning. No pizza jokes, no chicken jokes. I don’t have a 5‑year‑old.
But I know them.
So glad our museum isn’t real, it’s virtual, which means we have no dusting. My name is Tom Trimbath, project manager of HCLE, the History of Computing in Learning and Education. The length of that title makes it interesting to tweet, if nothing else, but it also gets into the strategies we’ve had to develop for our virtual museum.
We’re an overlooked overlap. There are three different things mentioned in our title: History of education is computing, there’s computers. Well, history of education is one thing. It’s dioramas, something that’s been around as long as we’ve been a society or a species able to talk. History of computing is really the software side of things. It’s the games is the most common thing that folks want to go back to. Many folks want to use Microsoft Word 1.0, but they’re happy to go back and play Pong.
And the history of computers, which if you get a chance next month’s AAM meeting, there is the tour of the living computer museum, and you can see that the history of computers is very short, just like computing, and that it has been going through phenomenal changes, where there were computers the size of this room, and now the cell phone that you have in your pocket has more power than those, and they actually incorporated that all into one exhibit. It’s pretty impressive. We’re in the middle, in the overlap. We’re talking about how computers and computing changed the way education and learning happened.
So we’re crossing three very big topics, trying to sit in the middle and cover what really hasn’t been covered. Which forced us into a strategy. Because, if you’re doing a big topic, if you’re doing art, if you’re doing science, if you’re doing computers, you can find folks that are just passionate about that one thing, which is really handy, because that means that you have a lot of folks you can go find support from. Even if it isn’t just funding. If it is emotional, if it is public relations, that sort of thing. Narrow it down, it gets harder. Fewer folks are worried, interested and passionate about that segment.
You get to the history of computing, education and learning, and all of a sudden you’ve got a very small subset to be working from. Of course, that very small subset knows they’re small and become that much more passionate for your result.
That’s about us, but what it gets into is a strategy that can apply to anybody trying to do anything collaborative. That’s what we’re going to talk about.
We take that disadvantage, we’ve been turning it into an advantage. If we tried to put together a museum that covered the hardware and the software and the education, I’d have a job for the next three lifetimes. It’s too hard to do that. So we’re doing as much collaboration as we possibly can, and we’re finding this is really powerful, and it’s wonderful, and it’s an awful lot of work.
What we’re doing is taking those elements and trying to own everything, instead of that we’re trying to give up ownership but then maintain some sort of control, some kind of relationship. But we can’t do that with everything. There’s always going to be something that you couldn’t give up. There’s going to be something nobody else cares about that. That remainder is something we have to focus on and something we have to be aware of.
So we’re that little blue place there in the middle. It’s so easy to have that overlooked, because, for instance, the history of computers they’re going to be really focused on that hardware, how do you maintain that hardware. As you get further and further away from your core mission of your museum, as you get out to the fringes you may be running out of money, you may be running out of resources, time, whatever.
What we’re finding though is that by being in that middle, stewarding that center, saying, Hey, look, here’s a topic you may not be considering, pointing out there’s somebody else interested in it, instead of that interest dying off near the edges, we prop it up again.
This gives them an opportunity to come out there with a different type of exhibit, a different type of reasoning for funding, a different insight into what their own museum has been doing.
It’s not that easy, though. It is compromise. It is an awful lot of communication. It is an awful lot of giving up control. And at the very same time, knowing what parts of that control you also have to just very rigorously stand with and make sure you hang on to. Actually, that’s an interesting exercise to be going through, because you really have to question that core strategy, that core goal, that core mission.
So we’re lucky. We’ve been able to make our virtual museum available to education museums. We can let the hardware go off to the computer museums. This is really handy, because maintaining computer hardware, how many folks from the Google Glass meeting yesterday, where the Google Glass has interruptions, the Windows machine has interruptions? Can you imagine a museum where you have to worry about that every day? We don’t have to worry about that.
Living computer museum, folks like that, we’re happy to work with them.
Software, we’re using, for instance, internet archives as nice enough to actually host some of the software looking back at games and that sort of thing. The emulators, fill in the blanks. Then what we do is make sure we sit in the middle and we digitize what we have, and we catalog it and curate it. We do it in a way so that it’s open source, so that everybody has a chance to recognize the software. We’re not having to give them anything proprietary, but that also means we have to convince them or work with them so they’re using the same sort of standards.
Then what we do is provide access to the scholars and public through developing a digital repository that is distributed out through these folks. We have a catalog that has to speak all of these various languages. Funnel it through our virtual museum, which we just have to put online, then go out to different series of users, which means a different series of interfaces, which is yet another task. But it’s all doable, because we’re collaborating with other universities, museums and that sort of thing.
With that, I encourage you to go to our Wiki, which we call the digital loading dock website. It’s not up yet. We are at the stage where a lot of these museums started, one, two people. Our founder is in the front. I’m the project director. Welcome to the entire staff of the History of Computing, Learning and Education. And we’re tired.
So we welcome you to come to the Wiki, take a look at what’s going on. And contact us if you have any other questions.
>> Douglas Hegley: Javier.
>> Javier Pereda: Hello. My name is Javier Pereda. I’m part of the Web Science Institute of the University of Southampton. What I’m presenting is the Web Science’s perspective of how we might understand the online museums.
First of all, the web has changed how many institutions — how we behave as a society. That’s what we’re trying to understand. These changes, how is it affecting all the different relationships?
On one hand we have the web has presented this opportunities of sustaining technology where now we have better research tools, can provide marketing tools, can provide data management, data distribution, knowledge production. In this case, as we have seen in this conference museums are using this aspect of sustaining aspect of the web to enhance the collections and provide more meaningful exhibitions on their museums.
On the other hand, the web has also a disruptive technology. This means it has made so many drastic changes in the organizations and the way we work that we now or now everybody has to rethink the way we work in these institutions.
Many similar aspects that I have identified in between cultural heritage institutions, education institutions, and academic publishing, all of them depend on the information that is created in order for them to keep on working. These organizations need to share this information with other groups so they can feedback again and create this network where they can keep on providing and creating knowledge.
This relationship of these different groups, once you put a museum online, it becomes what is called a social machine. A social machine is a relationship between humans, which is society, and the technology or the automated processes that provides us with this information.
So we have this relationship that’s happening all the time between people and computers. So what will happen to Facebook if they didn’t have any people? Which is the case of High Five. They had already a social network that everybody decided to leave. We have Wikipedia, another perfect example of a social machine. We have the technology that provides us the pathway for us to engage with the information, produce information. And we can use these relationships. We have to identify: How is technology affecting the social behavior or how is technology affecting the knowledge production, how is society affected by this technology?
So to take this into account, we can use Actor Network Theory. Through this approach, Actor Network Theory uses the actors of a network and gives the people or society the same level of importance as technology.
So if we think of data, Linked Data is a technology that required input from people. If we don’t have these people providing research, providing this information, we wouldn’t have anything to populate in the metadata or the Linked Data. So we need these different groups to work together in order for us to have this vast network of knowledge.
In Actor Network Theory, the ideal aspect that we have to identify where do we place ourselves in the network. It’s a network of networks of technology of people, and we have to identify where are we standing in order for us to know who our key actors are.
So if we take into account the online museum, per se, the museum, the physical organization, the museum becomes just an actor in a network in the online museum. The online museum can be considered as this group of different networks that fulfills or that generates all of this knowledge so everybody can use it.
And in this case we can see organizations such as academic publishing, researchers, people who develop interfaces. They are part of this network the same as they are as important as the museums but the online museum itself as a whole organization, the whole Digital Strategy Group on the network, that allows us to engage with this information.
So to identify the focal actors, we can identify what is called the obligatory passage point. The obligatory passage point identifies a pathway where everybody needs to input something ‑‑ some information or requires information from this actor.
For instance, if we have developers, developers need motivation to use technology to manage information, to manage better the data that museums ‑‑ that museums speak on their data the same way administration companies need the information that museums have in order for them to accelerate or to optimize processes within their organizations.
In this case, also museums can benefit from joining this network by collaborating information, by using different technologies to collaborate this information, but the focal ‑‑ the obligatory passage point, the most important element of the network, are researchers. This is geographers, archaeologists, curators. And they need to be part of a ‑‑ don’t need to be part of a museum. They need to be part of the online museum network. And that way these are the people who provide the information and the knowledge so all the different organizations can join together and provide ‑‑ well, the access to the information.
So if we take this approach, we have to just take a step back and rethink our museums as organizations. What happens when your organization as a museum joins the web? Is it affected by technology, by other groups? So we can see that groups as academic publishers or just the commercial publishing, they have been massively effected with the way we deal with technology. What happens when you reach the web? Copyright is different in Europe, well, the access is different in Europe, than the U.S., than Mexico, in different groups.
Just to finish, this research is made from the interdisciplinary approach where people from museum organizations, people from philosophy, from pure science, and I just managed to put everything together as a single perspective from museum organizations. So hopefully this will give you a new insight into how to think about the museum organization, especially the online museum.
>> Douglas Hegley: And crashing across the stage is Paul Marty.
>> Paul Marty: Hopefully that won’t start a fire.
If smoke starts rising from the back of the room, let me know. All right?
I’m Paul Marty from the Information School of Florida State University. I’m very happy to be here. A little over a week ago I was on a kickoff panel, a cool event at FSU called Digitech, which is a celebration of student innovation with technology. Amazing work. On this kickoff panel we were talking about famous student technology innovators. I mentioned I was in a computer science class with a young man named Marc Andreessen and our 60‑plus undergraduate students in the room, not a single person heard of him. Just by their wonderful ideas and internet inventions, they had no idea who he was. One guessed he invented Ebay, you know, 25 years ago.
So Marc was the person who while working as a student developed NCSA Mosaic, something that none of the students in this room‑heard of. So I realized I was in a room full of people who grew up surrounded by the internet developing amazing applications, systems, but had little understanding of the history, where it came from, or what life was like before it.
There’s very little unusual in this. My 9‑year‑old has never known life without Video On Demand, 5‑year‑old never a world without video conferencing on the iPhone, but when we don’t understand the history of the technology we’re using, or where our ideas come from, we often have a very limited understanding of the world in which we live. More important, without that shared history, we lack a shared vocabulary from which to work. The vocabulary we need to work together to imagine the future.
If, for instance, I start describing an online community, something with e‑mail and discussion forums and live chat, massively online role playing games like “Star Trek,” you get a picture in your mind of an online community that’s shaped by your own personal experiences. And by necessity, that’s going to be very different from the one that I am thinking about, quite likely, because the online community that I’m imagining here is the PLATO system from the early 1970’s. Anybody? 1973? Oh, one. Anybody else? All right.
So 20 years before Marc Andreessen invented Mosaic, PLATO was a vibrant online community where they were doing Google Doodles before Sarah was born. People were game, socializing, getting married online before Pong was invented.
The lesson we can take from this and that lesson is that we need to remember the future as we build it. I’m often the talk ‑‑ I’m often asked to talk at the university about technology in museums, people always want to hear about the latest coolest thing. Often time the latest coolest thing is an idea that’s been around for years. Latest tech is amazing, fun, great, but our ideas are the foundations for our greatness. And we have, here in this field, in this organization, in this very room, a tremendous history of brilliant ideas.
Look at Museums and the Web. In my office I have every proceedings from this organization going back to the very first year 1997. All of which, of course, are available for free online; tremendous resource of this community provides the world. We can look at that resource to see our history, to see where the ideas, how the ideas that people came before us are shaping what we do today whether we are conscious of that or not.
Eleanor Fink, then head of the Getty Information Institute in 1997, the very first Museums and the Web of Los Angeles, her ideas about information organization access and provisions are driving her activities today.
Guy Herman, the Mystic Seaport Museum, written a few years before 1997, speaking about the need for informational professionals. He’s describing the people in room today.
Museum Computer Network, the very first conference proceedings, 1969.
The quote from JCR Licklider. Huh? Invented, BBM. His ideas about computer graphics are driving the interactive exhibits today.
How about Everett Ellin, one of the founders, Executive Director. His idea is personalization technology could have been written today.
These people dreamed of request where we are now, having the technology that we have now. Even though they didn’t have then what we have now doesn’t mean they weren’t inspired.
Just because people couldn’t go to the moon, didn’t mean people didn’t dream of it. Just because we didn’t have flying machines 400 years ago, doesn’t mean the plans weren’t drawn up.
It’s important to remember what we do today is inspired by, driven by, the ideas people had years ago. The ideas of innovators past help shape the future of our technology.
As da Vinci said, “Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards for there you have been and there you will long to return.”
Unless, of course, he never said that.
Because the dangerous thing about ideas is that they spread so quickly that it’s easy to forget where they come from. It’s easy to lose track of their origins, even as they continue to shape our actions today.
This da Vinci quote is often repeated on the internet but likely extremely a false quote. People often say it’s in this book, “The Flight of Birds.” It’s not. Seems likely the quote was made up in the mid 1970s by, of all people, Ben Bova, Editor of “Analogue,” the science fiction magazine. He claimed he heard someone say this in a movie that he watched about Leonardo da Vinci. But if you dig up a copy of that movie, it’s not in the movie either.
If you look online, there’s a ton of discussion about where this quote might have come from. I even found one person saying they heard that it was said by Charles Lindbergh, but they didn’t know who that was.
What’s really interesting to me is a professor of information knows that the most authoritative source for this problem is the Wiki quote talk page about Leonardo da Vinci, which is wonderful, a great example to us all. It shows the importance of crowdsourcing for understanding and preserving our past. Because we here, all of us, we need to be the stewards of our own history, culture, keepers of our own professional institutional memory because we are the experts right here in this room. We are making up art history as we go along.
This conference is rapidly closing in on 20 years’ worth of historical documents in our online conference proceedings, and it’s up to us to make sure what we do isn’t forgotten 40 years from now that we don’t lose our history as we embrace our future.
We should all build our flying machines and marvel at each and every one of them. The more we know about where our ideas come from and where we can share and embrace and celebrate our accomplishments past and present, for as our shared ideas that are going to drive us forward. We owe it to ourselves as a professional community to remember our past, to take up our shared visions, and to bear them to ever greater heights in the years to come.
Thank you very much.
>> Douglas Hegley: Another round of applause for all of our speakers.
It’s not an easy thing to put together points that the clock is ticking and I’m giving you a sign saying hurry up and everyone did a terrific job.
Now the best part. It’s one thing to be presented to and passively sit there and think. Come up to the microphones, please, all of you. Any of you have a question?
You, who’s walking away; come back to the microphone.
Because these are folks who are living it. Right? They’ve just told you very interesting stories. You must be curious about some aspect of at least one of these stories.
Thank you, Neal. Come to the microphone. Ask the questions. We are being recorded. That’s all terrific. Go lead.
>> For Javier, I liked your analogy of museums as social machines. What do we need to do to enable more of that to happen in terms of data structures, work together?
>> Javier Pereda: It’s going to sound ‑‑ embrace the power of the web. Don’t limit yourself ‑‑ I think from my perspective, in my experience, I worked with the data. I work with tenable interactions. It’s going to sound like marketing. It’s allowed everybody to access information. So what institutions such as museums need to do is to identify what is it they need from these different groups and also allow these different groups to use their information so everybody can provide a little bit to it. So it’s a little grain of sand to make a better world, a better web, or a better museum online.
>> Douglas Hegley: Thank you.
>> Hi. You get up to this microphone and somebody talks before you, you stand here and you have to change what you were going to say.
In terms of embracing the web and the online community, one of the things that emerged from the professional development track was that everybody in separate breakout groups said they want a central place where museum archive library professionals could teach each other. So I built a website the night before last. Take down this url, please: www.mlcentral.wikispaces.com.
That is a free website. It’s a Wiki, which means anybody who registers on it can edit it. It is an Alpha platform. It’s a template for us to communicate with each other to create that community. It’s up and running now. It’s open. You can go to it, join it, and start writing your questions and then answer the questions you find on it that your colleagues have posted. So you can do that now.
Those of us who are old hippies understand about happenings and not saying, well, we have to pass this through the policy folks and we have to pass it through design and review committee. This had none of that. This is quick and dirty.
So those of you who have design skills, which I don’t, are invited to make it pretty. We’ll put it on a better platform. We will try to make it linked to all the platforms that you prefer, as everybody hates Wikis. But please feel free to use it.
I will close it to the public in a day or two so that we don’t have spammers take it over. In the future you’ll have to recommend your colleagues to get editing policy. Anybody can leave a comment, public can leave a comment, but to edit the pages you’ll have to become a member of the Wiki. And I hope that the community will take this over. I can’t possibly do it. This is a community thing.
>> Douglas Hegley: Thank you.
>> So everything you guys ‑‑ you guys have been marvelous. Everything you said is just a turn‑on. You made my conference.
>> Douglas Hegley: Thank you. There’s the difference between talking and doing. So thank you for doing.
>> I’ve only started doing. You guys have to do the doing.
>> Douglas Hegley: We’re all doers. We all need to be doers.
I have a question for the Albright‑Knox team. I think I saw a slide that said management buy‑in but not necessarily management participation. And as a senior manager ‑‑
How do you keep me from meddling in your project?
>> Pamela Hatley: That’s a good question. We’re a small staff. We have been very fortunate to have very trusting managers. We all are very close because there just aren’t that many of us. So when we started the group, of course we knew we were going to be siphoning resources from all facets of the department if we were successful. We made the case that we would keep the staff resources to a minimum that it would be a outgrowth of existing projects and existing material.
The key is that we have a management group at the Albright‑Knox. It consists of our membership development manager and our head of operations. And one of the people who sits at that table also sits at our table. So we have our wonderful head of marketing and PR who sits at the table with us. She then takes anything to the larger group that needs to be vetted.
We tried to always follow the North Star of following our mission, our vision, and only doing what we know is bad for our institution. If we feel there’s something we need more guidance on, we can go to her and take it to the larger group. We had a change in management. We have a new director and deputy director. Our new deputy director is interested in Digital Strategy.
>> Douglas Hegley: Uh‑oh.
>> Pamela Hatley: Exactly. He’s a major derailer because he just gets really excited. He feeds a lot of energy into the group. He’ll always apologizing profusely for make our meetings run long. But we feel as long as he’s there, it’s ok to let things run long.
I wouldn’t say he’s ever meddled. He just really questions us and brings a little bit of skepticism to the table, which I think is great. So we make sure we’re not just having our own views and making sure that it’s not just a rah‑rah session.
I don’t know if I’ve answered your question. We really just try ‑‑ we know we’re existing off the chart. We know we’re taking resources from all areas of the museum. So we try our very best to be responsible stewards of those resources. That’s been appreciated.
As I mentioned, literally weeks after I made this proposal our wonderful deputy director says we got to get this up, got to get this in the department. And that’s fine because now we have the groundwork. We know what the different departments want out of especially social media, what they want out of the website, what they need. And now what we’re looking at doing is developing content specialties within the Publications Department so we can each take on facets of the digital strategy and meet with the managers of those departments individually so that we’re not having to come together as one big group.
Joe Martin Linell, he’ll come to the meeting and he looks around and knows what everyone makes. So he starts calculating. This meeting is costing the organization X amount of dollars. So we’ve saved money overall because we didn’t have to create a digital department. We didn’t have to hire new people, and there was no chance of that.
They really appreciate the fact that ‑‑ our history walking tour got us on the front page of the paper or got us in the paper. Our Monuments exhibition got us on the front page of the “Buffalo News” which was exciting for all of us. It was actually Joe’s idea to do the Monuments Men exhibition. There’s a lot of crossover between this departmental group and the way things are happening in the world. That’s exciting to all of us.
>> Douglas Hegley: How many people in the room are senior executive, decision makers?
So there are a few of us. And I think what we’re hearing at least from the presentation of Albright‑Knox is how important it is to us to support and not stand in the way of these kinds of efforts.
How many people are here are working off the chart like Albright‑Knox described?
Some collaborative group, sort of not officially the digital leader people? Yes, kudos to all of you.
I think one of the risks is that institutions see this, they see you being successful. You’re on the front page of the paper. We’re going to make you into a department. We’re going to get you a manager. Right? The best way to kill innovation is to sort of make it production line. So hang on to your independence. Make sure we let you hang on to your independence.
I think we have a question.
>> Hi. I’m Fran. I represent America’s Black Holocaust Museum, which is an entirely virtual museum. We have no physical space. This developed when the physical museum that had been in Milwaukee for 20 years was forced to close due to financial difficulties with the recession. We tried to think of a cost‑effective way to revive the museum. As we were talking about it, we realized that the museum for us was not really in artifacts but it was in the stories. Because the museum tells stories that are not found in your history books. When it was a physical museum, the oral historians told those stories. So we decided to put the stories online.
I’m very curious as to what all of you see ‑‑ now that art museums are not afraid of putting their collections online, do you see there being a flowering of virtual museums? It obviously hasn’t flowered here yet, but museums like ours that exist in cyberspace only.
>> Tom Trimbath: If I may. One thing we’ve noticed is that of all the things we talk about, when I watch the social media traffic that we get, it’s the stories that are really what bring people in. They may want to go take a look at the hardware that was used or the software that was accessed, but they really want to hear what happened with the people. That’s one thing that we’re emphasizing as a result.
So another element of what we’re going to do with our virtual museum is have a story project. I’ve seen some very nice web designs that really give opportunities to crowdsource and crowdfund that element which means the crowds doing ‑‑ thank you very much. So, yeah, I ‑‑ at least that’s the experience we’ve had, where stories are where the power is.
>> Javier Pereda: If I can add. This concept of virtual museum, with all the new technologies that are embracing every single week, we have now tangible computing, well, physical computing, virtual computing, so we have all of these different interfaces interacting with information, so your stories. So I think the approach of thinking of the virtual museum, which is the online museum once it goes online, as a website, we have a way of to interact with the information.
If we think how people deal with data, for instance, think of tangible interaction, you see physical objects that can help us to break it this barrier of communication. So if we think of the story, it’s an event that happened with people in a specific place. So if we can relate that story, that data, in the specific place where it happened, then we can be able to provide a more meaningful relationship between the story and the place and people. So using all of these new technologies can help us to engage with information in a more meaningful matter.
I think we have to start changing the way we interact with information, so if we start to look at how other people deal with data, for instance, we think of tangible interaction, using physical objects to interact with information, that may help us to break these barriers of communication.
So if we think of the story, it’s an event that happened with people, in a specific place. So if we can relate that story, that data in the specific place where it happened, then we can be able to provide a more meaningful relationship between the story and the place and people. So using all these new technologies can help us to engage with information in a more meaningful manner.
>> Paul Marty: One quick thing, since I’m apparently playing historian this morning. 15, 20 years ago there was tons of research looking at how do we cross the divide between the physical and digital museum. Of course, what that research found and what we all know today is that that divide is essentially imaginary. It doesn’t exist.
I look at my 5‑year‑old. He has no difference between a physical book and a virtual book. The boundaries that we once talked about crossing have dissolved into nothingness. It’s going to be very interesting to see where that goes, especially as this younger generation grows up.
>> Maybe I’m just dealing with the older generation, but usually when I say to people we’re an entirely virtual museum, it’s like, Oh, OK. Like that doesn’t quite count.
>> Paul Marty: 1996 called. They want your museum back. All right? The very first conference I attended in 1998, there were people there, Look, we’re an all‑online museum. What is it now, 2014? These distinctions are rapidly going away. There’s essentially no barriers left to be crossed. I think we’re approaching a world where nobody is going to care, all right, where whether you have physical presence, digital presence, it’s all the same.
I look at Neal in the front row, I don’t know if he is here or not. He could be a holigram. It’s because our grasp on physical reality has shifted so tremendously with the advent of these technologies.
>> So we are the future?
>> Douglas Hegley: On some level, what Javier was talking about is this network that combines both virtual and real. It is all part of the network. It begins to sound like “The Matrix” but it is the influence, it’s the stories and content that matter. The channels through which they come will always be there. Covin?
>> Are you making anything about Douglas Adam’s quote, where he says everything that invented before you were born is normal, everything invented before you were 25 is really exciting, you might be able to make a career out of it; after you’re 25, it’s against the normal order of nature; until it’s been around 50 years, then it turns out to be OK?
Anyway, I want to address this to Paul and Tom. Quickly, Paul, I think I want to signal boost the call from the teachers in the audience to post a transcript to your talk. We all kind of want to use that in our classes.
>> Paul Marty: Sure. Actually, is this being posted anywhere?
>> Douglas Hegley: Yes, I believe the full transcription will be posted.
>> Paul Marty: Fantastic.
>> We’ll get it without typos.
>> Paul Marty: I don’t think these people are making any typos. I’ve been watching. I’m incredibly impressed. Can we get a round of applause for our transcribers?
Thank you so much.
>> Sorry. I didn’t mean that to sound snarky at all.
>> I was going to say, especially Paul, I’m thinking about your talk in relationship to Brooklyn Museum’s announcement that they’re withdrawing from a whole bunch of their social media properties yesterday, and it to me starts to feel like, OK, that transition from like future to paleo future is happening faster and faster, and not just here’s a fun technology we’re interested in for a while that we’re not, it’s sort of the social machines that we’re participating in, then abandoning. That’s happening faster and faster, and I’m wondering if there ‑‑ is there some sort of need for a historian’s role here? Do you think that the existing platforms, the internet archive, is it going to do that for us? Do we feel like there are more ‑‑ is there a role out there or some sort of machine or organization, maybe like Tom’s, that needs to kind of keep track of these things? Because, I think we lose a lot as these things go away, if we’re not keeping track of them.
>> Paul Marty: Let me go back to what I said about this being the rolling of the professional community. That’s what we are. Yeah, the way‑back machine will track the technology, but we need to put the context around it, to interpret and understand what’s going on.
A great example, Covin, is this thing happening 10 years ago with the personal digital collections on museum collection databases. Everybody remember that?
You go to the website, you make a list of my favorite stuff, I like this, I like that, I like this and that, they never go back to look at the favorites again. Everybody spent a lot of time, people in this room, trying to solve that problem. How do we get people to look at their favorites? Turns out, nobody wants to look at their favorites. This was the digital equivalent going through a museum, stopping at the gift shop, buying the postcards, the stuff you like, go home, put them in a shoebox, never look at them again.
People tried to create that community. A lot of these spun off into the social media world. What you’re seeing, the same way Brooklyn pulling out of social media, the Getty Museum announced last week they’re canceling Getty Bookmarks. How many used those when it came out? Anybody? No. I did! Not a lot of other people did.
>> Douglas Hegley: When is the last time you looked at it?
>> Paul Marty: I look at it every year when I get ‑‑
>> Douglas Hegley: Seven, eight years. I have no idea my password.
>> Paul Marty: That’s the problem. It’s not worth the time of these institutions to maintain, to build those connections. Where are we going in this paleo future is a very good question.
We’re only going to understand our path there if we know what were all the things we tried in the past that didn’t work. Looking at old websites isn’t going to tell us that. It’s this community that needs to explain and provide that context, and we’re doing a great job of doing that.
>> Tom Trimbath: I know the approach we’re taking, we decided, we have been very conscious about what we have control over and what we give up control. What we’re taking the strategy to do is to say we’re going to provide the materials for which other folks can create the stories. There’s going to be the opportunity to upload your audio, your video, the transcript that you got from your grandfather as he was soldering joints or circuits for a classroom that he was doing. That’s the sort of thing that we’re not going to try to control. We’re just going to try to enable it.
I think that’s the thing that gives us more power is that there’s just two of us. It’s going to take more than that, but it’s not going to take legions, because we’re going to crowdsource it. We’re going to let the people figure out what the people want to talk to and what the people want to hear about.
>> Douglas Hegley: Thanks.
>> Tom Trimbath: If that answers your question.
>> I want to ‑‑ Liza again. Tom and I are partners. I want to take issue with something that Paul said, then wind it back into ‑‑
>> Douglas Hegley: Finally a debate! Good. Let’s go.
>> Paul Marty: I’m ready.
>> OK. One of the reasons we’re doing acle.org is because during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s we didn’t have the computing power to do what we do today. We spent a lot of time thinking. We spent a lot of time thinking about what was going to happen in the future. One of the questions which has been a burning issue for me since then is what do we have to do face to face and what can be mediated?
We need to look at our curriculum, everything we teach, because we now have this ability to be virtual. If it isn’t in cyberspace, it doesn’t exist, and we spend a lot of our time with our faces in our devices. What is it that requires us to be face to face? What is human, real, physical, emotional and can’t be broadcast or pushed down the wire?
What is it that we can record so that the cost of delivering to the next individual is approaching zero? That was a burning question in 1978. It is not a burning question today, and that’s why I’m arguing with Paul, because you just sort of said it doesn’t matter whether he’s sitting here or whether he’s an avatar. I disagree strongly with that, and I think we need to really, really revisit that question. The singularity isn’t here yet.
>> Paul Marty: We’re close.
>> Paul Marty: Let me flip this around. What we have to be very careful in this conversation is not ‑‑ you mentioned face to face, online, you talked about education. I’ve been teaching synchronous classes online since 1997. I teach face to face, I teach synchronous online. I can tell you the whole question what should be done here, where, whatever, is backwards. You don’t say how do I teach online versus face to face. You say, What do I do online? What do I do face to face? Maybe what’s different. You don’t talk about what’s better or worse.
>> We are in radical agreement.
>> Paul Marty: Oh, radical agreement? OK, good, good.
>> Douglas Hegley: I thought it was going to be a don’t.
>> Paul Marty: I think we are agreeing here. We may be coming from slightly different directions, but agreeing. In terms of the singularity or matrix, I don’t know if they are real or not. I feel in the online classes my students are more real than face to face. Why? Because the face‑to‑face students don’t sit there with little signs over their heads telling me their names.
That identity in the online classroom makes them more real to me than to look at the face, I don’t know who they are.
>> Douglas Hegley: Google Glass will solve that problem.
>> Paul Marty: No, it won’t, because Google said they won’t do automatic facial recognition. Are you hacking that, Neal?
>> Douglas Hegley: I think of this question of history too is interesting, because to some degree history and authority are intrinsically intertwined. When history is lost, there’s a gap in the authority chain. Thoughts on that?
>> Javier Pereda: Well, that’s an interesting point, because now we can be able to have ‑‑ we have multistories, so we have this shift of powers when stories are told on the web. So if we think, not to get very technical, but we think of the data, we have link that is same as. Now we have a different input about the same whatever we’re talking about, whatever object, and we have different inputs that we are no longer limited to this one‑sided point of view. Now we have a community story.
>> Douglas Hegley: A stumper. OK.
>> Paul Marty: We’re in agreement.
>> I’ll disagree again.
>> Douglas Hegley: Good.
>> I don’t think that we’re, quote, losing history, because I think history itself is a story that gets told after the events. If you look at Fred Turner’s book “From Counter Culture to Cyber Culture ,”you’ll see an example of somebody who’s a little younger than those of us teaching in the 60s, interpreting what went on when he wasn’t there.
He’s done a marvelous job, and I mean to be positively plugging his book, but there’s that one and there’s “What the Doorbell Said,” there’s Walter Isaacson’s book on Steve Jobs, and he’s working on a new one.
What we’re getting as the history of computing innovation is being told today is a tremendous emphasis on the use of drugs in the counter culture, in the innovative culture.
So as that history is being told and it’s being reinvented and it’s being changed, that’s part of why HCLE exists today, because we need to get the stories from the people who were there.
I was an innovator, and I didn’t use drugs, but in another 25 years that piece will be ‑‑
>> Douglas Hegley: Guilt by association.
>> Paul Marty: We have to be clear about our points, when we say history and we talk about authority, because, as was just said, history is written as it’s written. Every historical document reflects the time at which that document is written. It’s very much to do with the history itself.
What we can do with crowdsourcing our history, and doing this as a community, gift us each of those viewpoints, that slice of life, so some future historian has something to go back to, look, What were they saying at this time about this thing? What were they saying 10 years later about this thing?
This is something, in a former life, I was a historiographer, I’m not kidding, something people would kill for. Most of the history about the Rome Republic was written around the time of Augustus, 500 years later. Somebody 300 years from now sat to write the history of the United States of America with no primary sources. We can provide that context that history so often lacks.
>> Douglas Hegley: Excellent point. More questions? If the person next to you is asleep, poke them in the ribs, please.
I know it’s been a long conference. I hope you learned a ton of things. But if there are no more questions, I won’t keep you in the room. I’ll let you go get more coffee. Off to your next session. All of us can stay here for a while, if you have an interest in some individual conversations.
Enjoy the rest of the day. Thank you so much for coming to the morning session.
[Ended at 10:14 a.m.]