Conference Sessions

Museums and the Web: An International Conference
Los Angeles, CA, March 16 - 19, 1997

Monday, March 17, 9:00 - 10:00 am

Session 1: Opening Plenary

Chair: Jonathan Bowen, Honorary Chairman, Museums and the Web Conference

Keynote Address: Eleanor Fink, Director, Getty Information Institute, USA

Sharing Cultural Entitlements in the Digital Age: Are We Building a Garden of Eden or a Patch of Weeds?
It is clear that we are witnessing a time of tremendous change and opportunity. While governments around the world are preparing for economic, social, and political changes spurred by new information technologies, those of us in the cultural arena cannot afford to sit in ivory towers and simply let events overtake us. While mounting more and more stand alone Web sites is a fundamental step into the cyberspace universe, it is just the beginning. In reality, cyberspace itself is currently raucous and untamed territory. Digital information alone is only a stream of millions of bits. It makes no sense if we have no way of knowing where to look for information or if different formats for recording text and images prevent us from access across Web sites. The great collective repository of our cultural heritage scattered around the world in libraries, museums, and archives contains vast numbers of art objects and literary works from the past and present. These are fragments of the great mosaic of human civilization. To make sure these pieces can be accessed across collections in ways that benefit our understanding of humankind and improve our quality of life, we need work together as collaborators in developing community and multi-institutional Web sites locally, nationally, and globally. Fortunately, a handful of models are leading the way.

Monday, March 17, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm

Session 2: Museums, Schools and the Web

Museums are collaborating with schools, both individually and collectively, to exploit museum resources. Meanwhile, schools are enriching K-12 education by constructing virtual museums as part of their educational experience.

Chair: Bill Kirby, Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art, Canada

Jamieson McKenzie, Director of Libraries, Media and Technology, Bellingham, Washington, Public Schools; Editor, From Now On - The Educational Technology Journal, USA

Building a Virtual Museum Community
Virtual museums provide an excellent opportunity for museums to partner with schools. Learn how the Bellingham (WA) public schools, a national leader in the development of school Web sites, recognized the potential of a partnership with the Whatcom County Museum of History and Art to develop a virtual museum devoted to local history at the turn of the 19th Century. This paper will describe the strategies needed to cultivate such relationships in terms which museum educators will find valuable as they weigh the opportunities in their own communities.
Candace M. Borland, Program Officer, and Naree Wongse-Sanit, Program Associate, Getty Education Institute for the Arts, USA

ArtsEdNet: Assessing an Arts Education Web Site
How do teachers use materials from Web sites in their classrooms? How can an art-oriented Web site influence the way teachers teach? Since its debut on the World Wide Web in September 1995, ArtsEdNet, the Web site of the Getty Education Institute for the Arts, has provided an array of art education resources: art images, lesson plans, curriculum ideas, articles, excerpts and other references, as well as opportunities for educators to interact with colleagues via an online community. The Getty Education Institute has utilized a variety of means to gather information about ArtsEdNet's audience: online feedback forms, user surveys, visitor logs, telephone interviews, and focus groups. The aim has been to identify which ArtsEdNet resources educators do find valuable and which they do not and why. Additionally, we have attempted to determine whether and how educators use these resources in their classrooms.
Laura Lewis, Education Coordinator, At Home in the Heartland Online, USA
At Home in the Heartland: Forming a Museum/School Resource Via the World Wide Web
How do museums and schools form a partnership via the World Wide Web? What can such a partnership look like and how can one make sure that all parties -- the museum, teacher and students -- benefit from the experience. The education coordinator for the Illinois State Museum project "At Home in the Heartland Online," worked in tandem with the curator of decorative arts, a computer specialist, and classroom teachers to create an online exhibit with an educational objective as a balancing act between three different learning environments -- the Web, the exhibit and the classroom. This paper will explore the main components of each learning environment and answer the question: In what ways are these learning environments different yet similar?
James Devine, Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow, UK
Finding the Muse: Lessons from Partnering with University Students to Build a Museum Educational Site
The idea of linking up with computing science students on the lookout for projects is not in itself exclusive to the Hunterian. However, an undergraduate operating independently, with limited resources is not likely to be able to produce a product of sufficiently high quality to meet the requirements of most museums. (We all know what most student home pages look like!) The Hunterian Museum in Glasgow has developed a close cooperation with the honors program course coordinators in the Department of Computing Science. Students receive full academic recognition for their team efforts in developing the Museum's site as the Department of Computing Science ensure that the tasks given are sufficiently technically difficult to meet the curricular demands of the honors program. They appreciate having a "real world" client for the students, and the success of the collaboration has meant we always receive the very best students for the projects. This doesn't come without a museum contribution, however. Museum curators must make time available and allow access to collections for the students. The students also need a lot of direction and supervision in order to ensure the final product meets museum requirements for design and corporate image, and is effective for the educational end user.

Monday, March 17, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm

Session 3: The Immense Potential of Museum Web Sites for Research

The ever expanding Web has opened up immense new potential for research and for the exchange of information and ideas at all levels. A few museums have begun to make in-depth material available with opportunity for feedback from the public and scholars alike. Academics and curators report on Web sites in their disciplines and discuss their visions for the future of the Web.

Chair: Charles Rhyne, Reed College, USA

Session Introduction
In discussing the most advanced Web sites in different subject matter areas, we intend to focus not just on what is currently possible but especially on what is desirable for future research. Given the rapid development of computer technology, we hope this will be seen not only as visionary but also as eminently practical. The dynamic character of the Internet has encouraged us to rethink the nature of research and the essential role of museums in facilitating it. There is a widespread misconception that research is the preserve of an academic and professional elite, with needs too specialized and too remote from the public to deserve the major space they would require on the Web sites of public institutions. This is a tragic misunderstanding that fails to recognize the thousands of students in colleges and graduate schools preparing reports and term papers and advanced students writing graduate theses on every conceivable subjects, for which museums often hold the essential evidence. It also underestimates the serious interest and frequent specialized expertise of the public. Especially at the frontiers of knowledge, disregard of the potential of museum Web sites for in-depth research overlooks the central role of museums not only in the distribution but the creation of content. Pioneering attempts to provide for these needs in different disciplines will be presented.

H. Thomas Hickerson, Director, Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections, Cornell University, USA

Realizing New Means: Networked Access to Research Collections
At Cornell University, Web-accessible research sources based on museum, library, archives, and laboratory holdings illustrate the potential for integrating various materials and employing differing approaches to access. These Web-based "collections" form a testbed for critical review of the goals, implementation, and results of such efforts. Particular attention will be given to concepts underlying the aggregation of digital "collections" and the collaborative, curatorial, staffing, and audience/use implications of such developments. In conclusion, the design of new projects will be examined, including Cornell's botanical garden and university museum.

John W. Hoopes, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology and Associate Curator, Museum of Anthropology, University of Kansas, USA

The Future of the Past: Archaeology and Anthropology on the World Wide Web
In the final scene of "Raiders of the Lost Ark", a crate containing the object of Indiana Jones' quest is wheeled into an immense warehouse for indefinite storage and questionable research access. Unfortunately, this fate is not all that far from reality. Collections of archaeological and ethnographic materials ranging from stone axes, broken potsherds, and carved monuments to baskets, ceremonial masks, and skin canoes have been held by museums collections since the Renaissance. However, their inestimable value and unique conservation and curatorial requirements often conspire to remove them from the reach of all but the most diligent scholars. The potential of the Web to enhance the quality of research on archaeological and ethnographic collections is enormous. This paper will examine ways that one can use the Web to enhance research and improve access to a variety of materials. It will also explore the potential of the Web for innovative research strategies. Digitization of catalogs, associated documents, and images to help one locate and study collections and specific artifacts are just one approach. Others include the connection of devices to the Web, such as cameras and microscopes, the creation of virtual reference collections, and the establishment of research networks that will enhance the identification and analysis of material culture. This paper will also consider the role the Web will play in issues of cultural property, contributing to and in many ways intensifying ongoing debates of ownership, curation, conservation, and repatriation of sensitive materials.

Maria Daniels, Visual Collections Curator, Perseus Project, Tufts University, USA

A Wish-List of Web Resources for Humanities Scholarship
The advent of scholarly resources on the Web already allows more people to research a greater number of topics in more depth than ever before. Increased access will bring about sophisticated understanding and questions from people previously excluded from the dialogues of professional scholarship. Because of the larger audience for scholarship, the Web will likely foster the skeptical evaluation of scholars' claims, the articulation of new questions, and a growing need for clarification through research. Thus, the playing field for academic scholarship will be leveled somewhat, but more generally raised. Experts will be called upon even more for their specialized knowledge and interpretive skills. In this environment, what sorts of online tools will humanists, including museum curators and art historians, need? For the groundwork of research, the utility of a digital library like the Perseus Project is obvious.

Computers simplify tedious tasks, such as compiling indices; resolve disparities, like variant names or spellings; and connect resources, including objects in different museums. A review of Perseus resources which facilitate scholarship also shows its current boundaries as a scholarly tool, however. By examining these limitations, we might generate a wish-list of Web resources which will provide scholars with the means for advanced research by allowing them to exploit the advantages of networked information.

Robert Guralnick, Systems and Network Administrator, University of California Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Bridging the Gap between Research and Education: The Future of Network Technology in the Sciences and Science Museums
Although the intent of media as a tool to educate the public is sometimes realized, just as often mass media is driven more by market forces than by accurate presentation of information. Recently, NBC broadcast "Mysterious Origins," narrated by Charleton Heston, which blatantly presented false information regarding evolution and human origins. The show was recently rebroadcast, because controversy is more important than accuracy when it comes to moneymaking. New media like the Internet promise to be driven less by commercial interests and have many advantages over television, radio or newspaper. One of the greatest potentials of the Internet, still mostly unfulfilled, is to bridge the gap between research and education in the sciences. Currently, research is disseminated broadly in only a few major journals like Science and Nature. Most research is of special interest only to other researchers. Although the Internet can provide a means to allow communication between researchers, more importantly it can allow access to and contextualization of material in a broader context. If research is properly handled on the Internet, I believe that institutions can make their products more valuable to society. I will discuss the notion of hierarchy of information in a laterally directed medium like the Web and present examples of bridging the gap between research and education taken from my work on the University of California Museum of Paleontology Web site.

Charles Rhyne, Professor, Art History, Reed College, USA

Images as Evidence in Art History and Related Disciplines
Over the past year, a few museums have begun to make available on their Web sites the types of in-depth material necessary for research in art history and related disciplines. Most significant has been the provision of images of entire collections, including thousands of works for which no photographs were previously available even in the files of the museums. Yet, understandably, most of these images have been put on at low resolutions that are useful for little more than identification. Details cannot be seen or visual effects perceived, much less inscriptions read or brush strokes distinguished, and the relation of the digital image to the original object is rarely specified. The fact that digital projects can be prohibitively expensive, the need for expanded band-width and massive storage, and the still unresolved questions regarding copyright and fair use do not alter the fact that for research in art history and related disciplines, scholars, teachers and students must be able to explore images in detail and with confidence in the types of the evidence they provide and those they don't. As a demonstration of what is needed for research in disciplines that depend on images as evidence, I will show examples of digital image assignments tested over the past two years in art history classes at Reed College. The attempt has been to make available to students digital images that can be studied in a process of in-depth exploration parallel to that of art historians when conducting first-hand research on works of art.

Monday, March 17, 1:30 - 3:00 pm

Session 4: Architectures for Online Museums of the Future

The World Wide Web, hypertext transfer protocol (http), and hypertext markup language (HTML) are the beginning, not the end, of technology developments that will transform museums of the future. Work is underway on numerous fronts to develop new architectures that support the requirements of online museums.

Chair: James Hemsley, VASARI Enterprises, UK

Janet Hitzeman, Research Fellow, Chris Mellish, and Jon Oberlander, HCRC Language Technology Group, University of Edinburgh, UK

Dynamic Generation of Museum Web Pages: The Intelligent Labelling Explorer [ed. note: paper URL invalid - - Sept. 10,2006
The first phase of the Intelligent Labelling Explorer project has built the ILEX-1 system, which uses Natural Language technology to generate descriptions of objects displayed in a museum gallery. Each description appears on a Web page, and the user can move from page to page, viewing the objects in any order, mimicking the experience of someone walking through the museum. Crucially, these descriptions aren't simply retrieved from a storage space, but are generated on demand by combining canned text with fully generated text in a coherent way. This use of "dynamic hypertext" allows ILEX-1 to generate descriptions appropriate to the expertise level of the user and, for instance, to refer back to objects the user has already seen or to suggest objects the user might be interested in based on what objects they've chosen to look at so far. For example, ILEX-1 can refer to previously seen objects as in "Like the brooch you just saw, these earrings were designed by Jesse M. King or "Other jewels in the Bohemian style include a necklace designed for Liberty & Co. and a ring made out of glass." To date, two versions have been implemented (ILEX-0 and ILEX-1); both describe objects in the National Museums of Scotland's 20th Century Jewelry Gallery. One of the central concerns of ILEX-1 is to ensure that the descriptions generated are coherent, and this paper will describe the module for choosing the appropriate noun phrase to use at a particular place in the text. This module takes into account the user's familiarity with the objects described based on expertise level and user history, and must take into account linguistic information such as the structure of the text.

Martin Doerr, Senior Application Scientist, Irene Fundulaki, Application Engineer, and Vassilis Christophidis, Postdoctoral Fellow FORTH, Greece

The Specialist Seeks Expert Views: Managing Digital Folders in the AQUARELLE Project
The AQUARELLE project will connect museum specialists across Europe to enable access to a variety of databases with cultural contents, such as collection management systems and image and text bases. Beyond that, a so-called Folder Server will support scholars, administrators and conservators to exploit this materials providing: a tool to maintain secondary SGML documents, that describe, comment and reference the primary material across the European borders through the Internet. The technical challenge of this undertaking is to cater for the diversity in specialization, organizational and cultural context, data validity and the adequate high precision in reference and retrieval. On the other side, the organization of agreement on shared contents and resources all levels poses as well interesting questions. The project so far provides first solutions and serves as a forum to obtain valid requirements for future systems.

John Eyre, Senior Project Manager, International Institute for Electronic Library Research, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

An Object Server for the Future (ELISE II)
The Electronic Library Image Service for Europe project is now in its second phase. The pilot project which ran from Feb. 93 to Jan. 95 looked at the feasibility of providing museum and library images and related text to users based across Europe via the Internet. Working with partners like IBM, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Tilburg University, we produced working prototype applications for MS Windows and X-Windows before the emergence of the Web and associated browsers. ELISE II has been funded for the next three years (from Oct. 96) and now has nine partners, bringing new material in a variety of subject areas, including scientific imaging. With the explosion in the use of the Web and browsers like Netscape, it is obvious that for wide access applications delivering data over the Internet, this environment is essential for developers to use. ELISE II will develop a system that will manage the whole process of providing an image service, including User Validation, User Profiles, Standard Metadata Models such as the Dublin Core, Thesauri Expansion, Searching by Image Content, Searching across Disparate Databases, Distributed Images, support for Multimedia Objects including Streaming Video and Audio, Copyright Requirements and Management of various Payment Schemes. This paper outlines the project requirements and suggests some of the ideas and system designs which we believe will fulfill these requirements.

Monday, March 17, 1:30 - 3:00 pm

Session 5: Museum Application of the Web: Experiences

Creative applications of the Web can enhance museum programming, attract new audiences, develop stronger relations with customers, and enable museums professionals to make multiple uses of their intellectual content and efforts. But these require good ideas and careful planning and execution. Some creative applications report on their experiences.

Chair: Susan Hazan, Israel Museum, Israel

Susan Glasser, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, USA

New Ideas/New Audiences
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Web site is piloting a section called "You're the Expert," that presents each month a real-case scenario that invites visitors to play the role of a museum expert. One month visitors may have to decide the most effective way to light a piece of sculpture, another month they have to create an inviting title for an upcoming exhibition, write a label for a new acquisition, or select an appropriate period frame for a painting. The intent of this section is multifarious addressing the needs and interests of both the visitor and the museum. Visitors get a behind-the-scenes look at different museum professions, an opportunity to learn something about the art, and a chance to talk to us and each other about what they've discovered. The museum, on the other hand, has an on-going focus group that helps us "eavesdrop" on what general audiences find most interesting; e.g., what exhibition titles attract them or what information they want in a label. This information can then be used to improve our marketing strategies and educational offerings. This paper will explore these other models and suggest ways for museums to better exploit this new technology. Such models will help museum's expand their web site traffic beyond the current tourist and teacher audiences to include the traditional non-museum visitor who might just discover that there's something for them at their local museum after all.

Sandy Kydd, and Douglas MacKenzie, DMC Ltd., Glasgow, UK

Going Online: Moving Multimedia Exhibits onto the Web
Producing a computer-based multimedia museum exhibit involves a unique set of problems in the design of a software system to satisfy the needs of a wide range of visitors and researchers. When it comes to moving the exhibit onto the Internet, new problems and issues arise. The paper introduces TAMH (Tayside: A Maritime History), a PC-based multimedia project exploring some issues involved in allowing users to ask the questions which interest them in the way they find most appropriate. The process discussed is that of moving the TAMH system from its original standalone or locally networked form to a Web-based virtual museum site, allowing universal access to a multimedia database archive, and novel methods of searching the archive. The standalone TAMH system uses interactive maps and visual criteria selection to search the database, as well as more traditional field searching methods, allowing a whole spectrum of users to traverse the database and discover facts and connections. The original design concept was to move away from rigid hypertext-like links. Emulating this flexibility in the on-line version involves careful design of the Web-based system. Indeed, the fact that the underlying st ructure is a database will be of interest to only a small proportion of users. To the rest, to maintain their interest, this fact needs to be disguised. In addition, the Internet environment provides new facilities which can be used in the evolution of the exhibit, and a perfect medium for collecting feedback on system and content design from a large body of visitors.

Suzette Worden, Director, CTI Art and Design, Faculty of Art, Design & Humanities, University of Brighton, UK

Thinking Critically about Virtual Museums [ed. note: Paper URL invalid - - Sept. 10 2006]
Within the context of higher education students are able to gain access to a growing archive information for their studies in art and design history and practice. However, the educational aim in using these digital resources is to encourage a ' critical' understanding of data and its context. The aim of this paper will be to look at online and associated stand-alone projects that encourage students to be curators and authors with critical distance, rather than passive observers of endless digital spectacle. There is also a theoretical dimension to such a task. I will therefore refer to the ways in which critical theory has been used to influence and shape the development of software in a project called the Virtual Curator at the University of Brighton, (UK); ways in which an understanding of the transient nature of the digital image is crucial for an understanding of the virtual museum; and, most importantly, how giving power to the user as the creator of an archive, also re-interprets the concept of the museum itself.

Judith Gradwohl, Director, Smithsonian Without Walls, Smithsonian Institution, USA

Revealing Things: An Experiment in Museum Web Sites
Revealing Things, under development at the Smithsonian Institution, is a project to experiment with and learn about the Web as a museum-based communications medium. Created solely as a Web site, Revealing Things will combine object-based learning with new technologies the Web. The ultimate goal of the project is to experiment with and learn about the World Wide Web as a museum-based communication medium. Users will be active participants in determining the content and nature of their experience in Revealing Things. At the most fundamental level, users will be the designers of their personal exhibits as they decide how to navigate through the material and participate in mission-oriented use of the site. Revealing Things will also offer opportunities for users to leave their mark on the program, contributing objects and stories to the presentation. Most important, material in Revealing Things will change constantly. The choice of topics and themes will change often and unpredictably. Assembling data on the fly will allow many pages in the Web site to personalize the information. Users will interact with the program and provide information that will change the experience for themselves and others.

Monday, March 17, 3:30 - 5:30 pm

Session 6: Museum Application of the Web: Implications

When museums make use of the Web as a means of extending their program, the results can transform their institutions and their mission. Several applications which are driving museums to such reformulations of their roles are explored.

Chair: Bonnie Wolfe, Consultant, Los Angeles, USA

Dakin Hart, Assistant to the Director, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, USA

Private Room: Preserving Works at the Achenbach Foundation
Using the Web to create a unique museum experience. Robert Futernick, Chief Conservator at the Achenbach Foundation of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, created an art imagebase of more than 60,000 digital reproductions of works from the collection. Initially developed as a collection management project, the searchable database is now available on the museum's Web site, "The Thinker". Through the website, visitors and scholars are encouraged to become their own curator by following their own interests through the collection, or by setting up appointments to view specific works.

Junji Matsuzaki, Senior Vice President, NHK Engineering Services, Inc., Japan

Enhancement of the Museum Environment by HDTV
Many Japanese museums have installed High Definition Television (HDTV) systems and have been exploring ways to re-create a museum environment using digital technology. The HDTV display and digital image and data storage system which includes 3D HDTV provides various new features to museums. By re-creating a museum environment with HDTV technology, the visitor is introduced to a new experience in art immersion.

Elisabeth Roxby, Web designer, Cooper-Hewitt Museum and Ellen Lupton, Curator, Smithsonian Institution, USA

Mixing Messages: Graphic Design in Contemporary Culture
This talk will discuss an exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, exploring recent trends in graphic imagery (through Feb 17, 1997). The website accompanying the exhibition includes a compendium of 18 home pages chosen from various illustrators and designers as well as a series of highly interactive areas where viewers are invited to send "Webograms", design their own corporate logos, or post a message in the "Fog" room. Web designer Elisabeth Roxby and curator Ellen Lupton discuss the potential of web design as an emerging artform and the process of "virtual collecting".

David Francis, T. Hemmings, L. Marr, and D. Randall, Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

Situated Knowledge and the Virtual Science and Industry Museum: Problems in the Social-Technical Interface
The museum is a perspicuous site for analyzing the complex interplay between social, organizational, cultural, and political factors which have relevance to the design and use of "virtual" technology. Specifically, the introduction of virtual technologies in museums runs up against the issue of the situated character of information use. Across a number of disciplines (anthropology, sociology, psychology, cognitive science) there is growing recognition of the `situatedness' of knowledge and its importance for the design and use of technology. This awareness is fostered by the fact that technological developments are often associated with disappointing gains for users. The effective use of technology relies on the degree to which it can be embedded in or made congruent with the `local' practices of people who are working with it. This paper argues that the value of virtual technologies in museums depends upon the extent to which the design of such technologies takes account of t! he ordinary practices of museum users. Drawing upon field research in two museums of science and technology, both of which are in the process of introducing virtual technologies and exploring the possibilities of on-line access, findings are presented which suggest that the success of such developments will depend on the extent to which they are informed by detailed understanding of practice, both among museum visitors and curatorial and educational professionals.

Monday, March 17, 3:30 - 5:30 pm

Session 7: Users: Interface and Design Issues

Taking users seriously, and learning from them what they are interested in, what they need to know, and how they can best experience it, leads to design decisions that are not always self-evident. Designers who have conducted studies of different user communities suggest concrete ways to reach users through sensitive interface and design choices.

Chair: J. Trant, Archives & Museum Informatics, USA

Slavoljub Milekic, School of Cognitive Science, Hampshire College, USA

Virtual Museums: How to Make Digital Information Child-Friendly [ed. note: paper URL updated, Sept. 10 2006.] [ed. note: link invalid, Sept. 10, 2006]
Technological breakthroughs in the domain of computers and the increasing use of the Internet had a major impact on availability and dissemination of information. However, one large section of the general population has been hardly affected by this revolution. Currently there are no established means by which young children, ages 2-5 can access the relevant parts of this vast collection. The major problem is the lack of a child-friendly interface environment which would allow children to interact in a meaningful way with a digitally presented information. Although the problem was commonly recognized during the past decade it was not considered acute until the recent explosion of information availability. Using the model of an existing child-friendly interface environment (KiddyFace, Milekic 1996), I argue in this paper for the necessity of creation of a specific milieu which will make the information accessible in an age appropriate manner.

Noni Korf Vidal, Digital Projects Archivist, Rare & Manuscript Collections, Cornell University, USA

User-Centered System Design [ed. note: paper URL invaid - - Sept. 10, 2006] [ed. note: project URL invalid Set. 10, 2006]
The Utopia Project was conceived as a means to test the ability of a unified, digitized database to reshape teaching and research and to encourage interdisciplinary and cross cultural approaches to learning. From the beginning, it was felt that a "Build it, they will come" approach would not meet these ambitious needs. For the project to succeed, there needed to be active involvement of faculty in the design and use of Utopia. The author will detail the involvement of faculty in the design of the Utopia project, the changes that have been made or are anticipated in response to their requests, and how the faculty have then tried to incorporate Utopia into courses at Cornell. Faculty involvement is only part of the process of developing a user-centered system design, however. Input from students is also needed. This fall the Utopia database was incorporated into a large general undergraduate survey course. This paper will present as well the findings of a recent survey of students in the course and discuss the implications of the results of the survey for Web-based cultural heritage projects that hope to appeal to undergraduates.

Lin Hsin Hsin, Artist, Information Technologist, Poet, Singapore

Building an Ultimate Art Museum on the Web
In real life, an art museum landscapes around a building design concept with a defined exterior and adjustable interior spaces with a permanent collection and curated exhibitions. Implementing an art museum on the Web can either simulate or represent its real world environment or it can be completely built upon a virtual space. Currently, with exceptions, many real world art museums are represented by a 2D design concept filled with icons and its associated links together with snippets of collections. The prime objective of such a digital brochure is simply offering a vehicle to inform visitors of its physical presence. Using current available technological tools, this paper distinguishes the difference between the Web representation of a real world museum and a Web museum. Based on the author's extensive Web site visualization, design and implementation experiences, this paper examines and presents an art museum design philosophy and concepts. It details design elements in appropriating and apportioning multimedia contents (e.g. exhibits, art critic essays) selection in the extent of text annotation, image size, quality and quantity as well as the inclusion of audio sound bytes, music and video clips. As such, it suggests and offers the determinants for the basis and demand of creating animation (e.g. Gif89a, Shockwaves, JavaScript, Java Applets) for both 3D and 2D Web Sites. As it offers an array of a Web Page layout format, it offers an insight into the Site's navigational psychology and pattern with strong emphasis on aesthetics interests, Site ambiance versus systems performance considerations. It provides and reviews the choice of Site architecture with or without business transaction-oriented capabilities and problems concerning security issues and measures. Beyond which, it offers tools and methodologies for links validation and Site implementation guide. Ultimately, this paper is concerned with the ways to build a Web Site that excites -- one that is content rich and punctuated with fun elements with the possibility of setting up an art museum Intranet with archiving, inventory control and visitor profile databases.

Mikael Fernstrom, Hunt Museum, and Liam Bannon, Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, University of Limerick, Ireland

Virtual Visitor Experience and Use
The authors report on tests with the Hunt Museum Web site to discover how structure and content affect the use of the site. Two approaches are being employed: monitoring the hits per page in the structure, and gathering comments from users. The site is undergoing a revamping as the museum is about to re-open in a new locality. In conjunction with the redesign, the staff has been working with the National Museum of Ireland and interviewing and interacting with curators, architects, multimedia designers, and other professionals to conceptualize the requirements and specifications for the new expansion in Collins Barracks in Dublin (which is one of the major European museum developments).

Monday, March 17, 5:30 - 9:00 pm

Exhibitors' Reception

The Exhibit Hall opens with a cash bar, complementary hors d'oevres sponsored by the exhibitors, and an opportunity to see the commercial exhibits. Displays will feature computing consultants, software developers, educational publishers, image distributors, museum consortia, Web site designers, and not-for-profit organizations showing their own developments in a shared booth. The Exhibit Hall will be open all day Tuesday, March 18.

Program for Tuesday, March 18, 1997.

Archives & Museum Informatics Museums and the Web Register Exhibit Sponsor Program

Last modified: March 4, 1997
This file can be found below

Send questions and comments to