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Museum as Aggregator and Facilitator for their Publics

2012 November 9
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by Sheila

We are not attending MCN2012 this year, so Joan F. Troyano and I decided to build something that we planned to discuss at the unconference: a replicable model for generating inexpensive digital conference proceedings. The work is based on Joan’s work with Jeri Wieringa and Sasha Hoffman of the PressForward initiative and of DHNow fame. We also see this as a model that museums can use to generate their own museum-centered publications that rely on contributions from folks not working at that institution.

Starting with content we knew we could grab for an audience who might be interested (Museum Computer Network), we built two experimental sites that aggregate content living in different digital spaces without asking participants to re-post their stuff.

What We Built

Using WordPress as the base content management system, we pull in feeds of SlideShare presentations, YouTube videos, blog posts, Instagram photographs, and a Twitter feed.

  • We are gathering content for the MCN2012 conference as it is generated and publishing it immediately without much editorial oversight here: http://chnm.gmu.edu/mcn/2012/
  • To create an unofficial proceedings from content we found from the 2011 conference, we built an edited version that can be found here: http://chnm.gmu.edu/mcn/2011proceedings/

Because we want this to be replicable, we generated some instructions that we think will be helpful for those wanting to experiment as well.

Why We Built This

  1. We are interested in addressing issues of professional development and think that having one central place to find the most-recent museum-tech research serves a broad audience. We know that sharing our research or presentations online increases its diffusion. The more accessible and discoverable this content is, the more likely it is to be read by a variety of professionals working in the GLAM field.
  2. We hope these examples contribute to ongoing discussions about how this type of outreach can be mission-driven to help GLAMs reach publics outside of the physical museum. Does this digital publication facilitate ways that a museum can be a platform, and serve as a community center, as publisher, as center for public scholarship for its diverse audiences?

We’d love to hear your reactions, thoughts, and ideas.

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