What do they have? Alternate Visualizations of Museum Collections
Speaker: Piotr Adamczyk, Metropolitan. Moderator: Noel Jackson. Abstract: Museums are increasingly adopting open data policies, both for easy internal reuse of data sets and as a way of building community engagement online. While the opening up of data is a welcome development, too often key audiences see too little of this information through too small a keyhole. As linked and open data formats and Application Programming Interfaces become more common for cultural repositories, providing a sense of the scope and shape of museum collections is moving from a problem of data access to one of presentation. This project includes tools for easy aggregation of open museum collections information, procedures to derive an expanded set of metadata for the museum objects, mechanisms (primarily calls to data sources with open APIs) to collect related content from the web, and presentation of the collected information in a set of visualizations appropriate for aggregate museum collection data. Though cultural heritage institutions are open to releasing collections information their efforts still fail to appeal to a broad audience or in providing tools that would be of immediate scholarly use. Either too much information is provided without meaningful context, resulting in repositories that are simply overwhelming, or once zoomed and filtered the way that details are provided about objects do not match audience expectations. This project aims to show how information dashboards can be an effectively applied in cultural heritage contexts and explore the possibilities for compelling multimedia experiences when cultural heritage data is no longer in private silos.