Tuesday 28 April 2009

Wish I'd been there

Last year I was lucky enough to go to the Museums & the Web conference in 2008 in Montreal. This year I didn't make it to Indianapolis, but I've been catching up on the write-ups.

As Mia Ridge observed, "some of the most important ideas weren't about presenting new, flashy things but rather reflected a maturity in approach, and a consolidation of the role of the web in museums." Some of the things that really tweaked my interest were:

  • Discussions around APIs (application programming interfaces, which allow you to, for example, let other people make web applications using your collection records) especially Richard Morgan's paper challenging the assumption that your collection data is your most interesting asset.
  • Geo-everything, particularly Aaron Straup-Cope: I love that feeling you get when you just start to grasp the enormity of an idea, and I get that from his presentation, even at a distance.
  • Questions around whether your digital and physical experiences and attitudes should try to match each other, or not - see this earlier post.

Here's a selection from some of the people I follow:

Virginia Gow, DigitalNZ: sites and projects to check out, recommended papers, why Twitter ruled the conference.

Seb Chan, Powerhouse Museum
: Apart from noting that "Indianapolis is a flat city surrounded by endless corn fields which accounts for the injection of corn syrup into every conceivable food item", Seb muses on the opportunities offered by cloud hosting, APIs, geolocation, and the online/physical experience debate.

Frankie Roberto, Rattle: recaps his workshops (which some really useful observations about what/how he'd do things differently), and talks about the occasions where we might be asking - so, we *can* do this, but *why* do it?

Mia Ridge, Science Museum: this was the first MW to feature unconference sessions (where time and rooms are set aside for people to fill with spontaneous topics for discussion, cf. the usual call for papers->presentation slot conference organising method) and Mia recorded the session on failure. Failure is hugely popular with museum web developers - check out Nat Torkington's presentation from Webstock this year to see why we're all so keen to talk about it.

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