Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Brooklyn Museum announce ArtShare on Facebook

From the post announcing it, ArtShare on Facebook!:

What can you do with ArtShare? Well, you can select works from the Brooklyn Museum collection to display on your profile. But then, because social networking is about connecting and seeing what others contribute to the social fabric, anyone can also use ArtShare to upload their own work and share it with others. You can use ArtShare to select a wide variety of work, then each time your profile is loaded a different work will be displayed at random from your selections.


They contacted contemporary artists who still held copyright over their works and asked if they would give their permission for this use. They've even offered their application functionality to other museums:

If you work at another institution and want to share your museum’s collection this way, we can set you up with your own tab in ArtShare. When we set this up for you, your institution’s logo will be displayed alongside the works that you upload, so they are easily identifiable as being a part of your collection.


So congratulations to Mike Dillon and Shelley Bernstein at the Brooklyn Museum, and thank you for letting us know so that we all get to learn from your experience.

(Actually I've just noticed one problem - given the recent fuss about Facebook, advertising, applications and privacy, I wanted to read the application Terms of Service, but you have to add the application to read them, so you have to agree to them before you've read them. It's not a criticism of their application as I'm sure this isn't specific to ArtShare but I guess it does show that concerns over Facebook's privacy model are going to affect how cultural institutions engage with it.)

A golden age before copyright was king?

Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow in the Guardian on the pop art exhibition at London's National Portrait Gallery:

Does this show - paid for with public money, with some works that are themselves owned by public institutions - seek to inspire us to become 21st century pop artists, armed with cameraphones, websites and mixers, or is it supposed to inform us that our chance has passed and we'd best settle for a life as information serfs who can't even make free use of what our eyes see and our ears hear?

Perhaps, just perhaps, this is actually a Dadaist show masquerading as a pop art show. Perhaps the point is to titillate us with the delicious irony of celebrating copyright infringement while simultaneously taking the view that even the "No Photography" sign is a form of property not to be reproduced without the permission that can never be had.


Warhol is turning in his grave

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

New ways of experiencing museums

This article presents a lovely perspective on the ways different audiences now engage with museums. It's also interesting to wonder how these changing perspectives affect the online experience of a museum, exhibition or single object.

The idea of a museum visit as a kind of promenade theatre event is a comparatively new one for me. I am typical of my generation, I suspect, in still expecting a trip to a gallery to be improving - with the emphasis on it as a place where one will be educated, and above all, somewhere one will be infused with morally uplifting sentiments.

Younger gallery-goers, by contrast, go in search of a more immediate experience - looking for something emotionally challenging, against which to measure the tide of information that floods us, in our engulfing sea of online information.

Or, in the case of Tate Modern's Turbine Hall or the V&A's Friday Late, they simply go to hang out with similarly inclined others, for the shared sense of occasion.

Last weekend's outing to Tate Modern succeeded in convincing me that the excitement of the encounter is an important part of today's visit to the museum.

...

According to the French intellectual Andre Malraux - Minister for Culture under General de Gaulle for 10 years from 1959 - whereas once the visitor went to a museum to be provided with answers, now, the responsibility lies with us, the visitors.

The museum experience exists most richly in our own imaginations, created out of a collection of images we each carry with us, gleaned from books, magazines, photographs and film. We bring remembered visual material with us into a museum space which has thereby become imaginary. The installation or exhibition merely acts as a catalyst, prompting us to ask our own questions which we look to the artist to answer.


From the BBC, Making contact

Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design

Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design is a great resource for thinking about how to incorporate accessibility testing in user-centered design processes. It's available as a website and a book, that covers:
  • The basics of including accessibility in design projects
    • Shortcuts for involving people with disabilities in your project
    • Tips for comfortable interaction with people with disabilities
  • Details on accessibility in each phase of the user-centered design process (UCD)
    • Examples of including accessibility in user group profiles, personas, and scenarios
    • Guidance on evaluating for accessibility through heuristic evaluation, design walkthroughs, and screening techniques
    • Thorough coverage of planning, preparing for, conducting, analyzing, and reporting effective usability tests with participants with disabilities
    • Questions to include in your recruiting screener
    • Checklist for usability testing with participants with disabilities

Friday, 9 November 2007

Content licences in the UK's cultural heritage sector

An event to be held by Creative Commons Salon London on November 20 will feature a discussion on 'open content licences in the UK cultural heritage sector':

This time round we'll be joined by Jordan Hatcher, a lawyer and legal consultant specialising in intellectual property and technology law, who will present and discuss his work on a new report entitled "Snapshot study on the use of open content licences in the UK cultural heritage sector". This study primarily examines the use of the Creative Archive (CA) and Creative Commons (CC) licences among UK museums, libraries, galleries, and archives. The key objective has been to get a snapshot of current licensing practices in this area in 2007, and Jordan will report on his findings.


Via A Consuming Experience.

The MoLAS 'Roman glass' research project blog is live

Hooray! The first proper MoLAS blog is live. The Roman glass blog is written by Angela Wardle, a Finds specialist for the Museum of London Archaeology Service. To quote from the 'about' page:
In 2005 at 35 Basinghall Street London, a large dump of waste from a glassmaker's workshop was excavated by the Museum of London Archaeology Service for Stanhope plc.

...

This website tells the story of the discovery, and how John Shepherd and I, with other colleagues, are working on this amazing collection of glass in order to learn more about the glassworkers of Roman London.

There's also a related photo gallery on Flickr. Angela will be explaining more about some of the images in the gallery as the project progresses. I hope the blog will provide a fascinating insight into the kinds of things we can learn from finds, as well as how specialists actually discover those things.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Breaking out of the walls of the museum?

Wired on a location-based game at the Tower of London.

Through a thick drizzle I gaze at the ominous gray stone buildings of the Tower of London, England's most notorious prison. I wander from one to the next, trying to imagine what it was like to be held captive here hundreds of years ago. That's when I hear a ghost. "Psst, you there... I'm sentenced to die tomorrow morning. Please, I beg you, can you help me escape?" I stop walking and look down at the screen of my HP iPAQ. There's a picture of a portly Brit in 18th-century garb. His name is Lord Nithsdale, and he was involved in a plot to overthrow King George I. In my earphones, the voice tells me I've entered the year 1716 and again asks if I want to play the Lord Nithsdale adventure. I wipe the raindrops off the clear plastic pouch holding the PDA, a GPS unit, and a radio transmitter and hit Yes.

The adventure is part of a prototype location-based game designed for visitors to the tower, where inmates like Guy Fawkes and two of Henry VIII's wives were executed. The idea is that instead of reading plaques and staring solemnly at the Bloody Tower, tourists skulk around with PDAs, re-creating classic prison breaks.

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These historically accurate scenarios were created by the charity group Historic Royal Palaces, working with Hewlett-Packard and using software developed by HP Labs. The free app lets anyone layer a virtual landscape — what HP calls a mediascape — over real-word terrain using maps and GPS coordinates. Audio and visual media can be triggered by a user's location or by sensors that detect proximity, light, heat, trajectory, and even heart rate.