Session Ideas: Mobile, GIS, Digital Publishing, DAM, Events, Ecommerce

Mobile – We are launching our mobile website this week and I would like to get feedback and constructive criticism, perhaps in a session similar to the mobile crit room they had at museums and the web. I am also interested in seeing what other types of mobile apps and mobile websites other attendees have created.


Top 5 Tech Problems:

At PHMC we have a little bit a lot of everything. It is impossible to list only my top tech problem, so I have narrowed it down to my top 5. I would love to talk to anyone that has experience with any of the following topics. Even just a short conversation at lunch and exchange of contact information would be helpful.

While I have already done some research and talked to a few vendors about their products, it would be helpful to hear from anyone that has completed major projects in any of these categories. Technology is an important part, but I’m equally interested in any tips about processes and workflows.

GIS – Our Cultural Resources Geographic Information System (CRGIS) and PA Historical Marker database are very outdated and in need of migration to new technology.

Digital Publishing – We are interested in publishing digital versions of PA Heritage magazine and any books that we publish in the future.

Digital Asset Management – Our online state archives pages are created in FrontPage and all of the 300,000+ files (jpgs, pdfs, etc) are dumped into folders. Need I say more?

Events – We have over 20 historic sites and museums throughout PA, plus historic preservation, archives, PA Civil War 150 road show, etc. I’m looking for a solution for our staff to easily add events and syndicate them across multiple sites, whether a hosted service (does anything like ArtistData exist for museums?) or do it yourself (example: collaborative calendar).

Ecommerce – We currently use the clunky, outdated Yahoo Stores and would like to migrate to a new hosted ecommerce platform by the end of the year.

Session Idea: Online access and education

This idea is similar to the one in Siobhan’s previous post, although I’d like to focus on increasing access and use through education (elementary school through graduate research). Before instructors can build new assignments and rubrics around DH resources, they need to know that these resources exist. How can archivists and digital humanities people do a better job of interacting with various aspects of the education community? Should we skip the instructors and go straight to the students (Facebook ads? Subliminal messages on Jersey Shore?)? Or are there specific programs that archives and digital humanities projects are using to reach out to educators (Weekly educators’ newsletters? Special events for educators?)? And what kind of IT infrastructure has to be in place for these outreach projects to work?


Session Idea. Contributions from Everyone! Breaking Down Barriers to Contribution and Curation of Users’ Content in G/LAMs

Museums, archives, libraries and galleries keep historical artifacts safe, in the public trust, and accessible. But we are not omniscient, we are limited by the boundaries of the text and limits of context, and we are limited by our subjectivities. Furthermore, our institutional websites are not and cannot be the only sites of discovery, synthesis, commentary, engagement and re-use. How can we use the collective knowledge of our users to augment our descriptions of our holdings? How can we help our stuff play nicely with the rest of the web?

Thinking about the “Capture and Release” document from OCLC about using reading room photos on our websites, as well as what have been (for now) boutique projects for using user-contributed content, I wonder if we could get at *what researchers actually want to contribute* and what technological tools are available at our disposal for capturing, preserving, and possibly curating these contributions.

I see user-contributed description as belonging to three categories:

  1. Augmented description
    This may be description of the form (subject identification, other metadata), description of the content (transcription, translation), or description of the context (what it means, what happened before or after, why it exists, how it affected future events)
  2. Corrected description
  3. Web-based community
    Folks with common interests learning from each others’ discoveries; opportunities for potential donors to see how their collections would fit with ours.

This could also be a really great discussion of what we’re all afraid of — do users of archives and museum collections really want contributions from other users? What kinds of contributions would they find useful? And we hear tell that archivists and museologists and curators are *afraid* of these contributions, but we haven’t gotten at what this fear is based on.

Hopefully, this could be a good discussion of what would work, what wouldn’t, why not, and what tools are available for working together to create new and better content.

Discussion or Writeathon: preparing cyberinfrastructure for digital humanities

As digital humanists generate an increasingly huge and diverse body of digitized and born-digital artifacts, institutions that support them need to build up an array of technology structures to sustain their work. Archivists, curators, project creators, technologists, publishers all see different sides of the cyberinfrastructure issue. We work on digital repositories, media servers, storage and backup servers, high-speed networks, content management systems, web front-ends, databases, flexible online collaboration spaces, etc.

It would be very useful at the outset of projects, whether they are internally or externally funded, to have a set of guidelines, checklists, and key questions to work from. In a short THATCamp session, we may not be able to develop those resources, but maybe we can map the terrain of things “we know we need to know,” with an eye toward stimulating ongoing conversation through a report, article or project proposal.