Museums and the Web 2005
Best of the Web:
Best of the Web Trophy
Photo Credits

Recognizing achievement in heritage Web site design, a committee of museum professionals selects the Best of the Web each year.

Nominations for the Best of the Web Awards closed January 15, 2005. Winners will be announced in Vancouver, April 15, 2005.


The Best of the Web judges consider Web sites nominated in each of the following categories: On-line Exhibition, E-Services, Educational Use, Innovative or Experimental Application, Museum Professional's Site, Research Site. In addition, the Judges select the Best Overall Museum Site, from all sites nominated.

The judges will all use the same set of Criteria when reviewing nominated sites. See the list of sites nominated.

Best On-line Exhibition

These sites excel in presenting and interpreting museum collections and themes, providing a rich and meaningful virtual experience. They may be a section of a larger museum Web or be a collaborative project between institutions and/or individuals and communities associated with museums.

Entirely virtual museums are eligible to participate in this category as are exhibitions of Web art and other "born digital" collections. Quality characteristics include:

  • Effective use of multiple media formats
  • Innovative ways of complementing physical exhibitions or providing surrogates for physical experiences in on-line only exhibitions
  • New ways of representing museum processes and structures
  • Imaginative audience participation and engagement of different categories of 'visitors'

See the list of sites nominated.

Best E-Services Site

These sites provide on-line services and promote improved on-line communication between institutions and their audiences. They may be a section of a larger museum Web site and may include sites that apply e-services such as secure on-line transactions, electronic memberships, e-mail broadcasting, and personalization services. Quality characteristics include:

  • Innovative approach to e-service activities, including gift shop items, images, memberships, event tickets, on-line registration for programs and events, fund raising activities, philanthropy, corporate sponsorships, and planned giving
  • Effective ways of using on-line communication, such as renewing membership information, customizing email newsletters, and creating personal on-line image gallery
See the list of sites nominated.

Best Educational Use

These sites educate a specific audience on a particular subject. They present material in an effective and relevant manner, provided depth of content. Educational sites may be sites designed by and for children. (This category does not include search engines and on-line databases intended for research which are judged in the category for Best Research Site). Quality characteristics included:

  • Presentation of supplementary material for schools and teachers, and support for collaborative spaces for teachers to work together
  • Presentation of supplementary materials for students of any age, and provision of collaborative work spaces for students
  • Interaction between museum staff and students, teachers, or educational groups of any level
  • Integration of experiences of 'real' visits to museum and the educational Web site
  • Provision of non-curriculum-based learning experiences and support of lifelong learning activities
  • Easily identifiable target audience and clear pedagogical strategy
See the list of sites nominated.

Best Innovative or Experimental Application

These sites make innovative use of Web technology to provide new and creative services. They are judged less on the technical expertise they demonstrate than on their originality and potential for development. Quality characteristics include:

  • Introduction of new technology to museum Web sites
  • Creative uses of older existing technology in new ways
  • Uses of technology that offer new possibilities for further development
See the list of sites nominated.

Best Museum Professional's Site

These sites serve museum professionals and their specific requirements, such as administration, exhibitions, education, public relations, registration, collections management, or development. They may be reference resources that are employed in professional work and study, including reports of conferences, pre-publications, reviews and technical literature. They may also include multi-site indexes and finding aids that collocate resources critical to the professional community. (This category does not include search engines and on-line databases intended for research).

Quality characteristics include:

  • Support for the distributed activity of a consortium or group of museum partners in ongoing collaborations
  • Contribution to their institution or to the museum profession as a whole
  • Mechanisms for fostering innovative projects that help in the development of electronic media in museums
  • Providing valuable on-line forums and discussions for museum professionals
  • Providing software, guidelines, templates and packages for museum professionals
See the list of sites nominated.

Best Research Site

These sites support research on museum collections and provide excellent resources for researchers from any discipline. They are primarily on-line databases and search engines that provide detailed information for individuals and/or groups. Quality characteristics include:

  • Ease of use for both experienced and novice researchers
  • Accuracy and depth of content
  • Consistency of material
  • Currency of links and updates
  • Extent of links and references to other related resources and sites
See the list of sites nominated.

Best Overall Museum Web Site

Together, the judges pick their "Best of the Web". This award recognizes the outstanding nature of a site and its overall contribution to the institution, museum profession, and museum and archives informatics community. Quality of content, ease of use, accessibility and stability are all considered.

March 31, 2005 7:31 PMMarch 31, 2005 7:31 PM