Tactical MCN

Guest post by MCN 2016 Scholar Emily Kotecki, Distance Learning Educator, North Carolina Museum of Art

MCN 2016 Keynote

As a first timer to MCN, I wasn’t sure how similar or different it would be to Museums and the Web. Similar crowd, similar topic. However, in talking to another conference goer, she explained it best: MCN is tactical, Museums and the Web is thought leadership. Don’t get me wrong, each conference has elements of both. But MCN felt on the ground, applicable and relevant, starting with the theme of the human-centered museum. At the North Carolina Museum of Art, we are launching several new digital projects with the prime focus of creating personalized, engaging and relevant experiences with art.

On the first full day of the conference there were a lot of sessions dedicated to evaluating interactive technologies. Perfect! These sessions identified key evaluation questions that I can bring back to my team as we install two interactive screens. The second day seemed to focus on thoughtful, audience-centered website redesigns. Check! The panelists shed light on interesting ways to gauge visitor motivations as we explore integrating our homesite and teacher resource site. On the last day of the conference, I had the opportunity to be part of the MCN Scholar Lightning Talks as well as present with my colleague about a new model of collaboration at the NCMA.  It helped to have a colleague from another department with me at the conference so that we could divide and conquer in attending sessions and come back with a shared language when we returned to work.

Looking ahead, MCN also helped me understand what questions I can ask my colleagues at NCMA so that as an institution we can continue to meet the needs of our audiences:

  • How are we connected, internally, on a systems level?
  • What systems (DAMS, CRM) do we need to better collaborate internally and share content and understand our visitors?
  • How are we collecting, utilizing, and sharing data?

The sessions, these questions, and the people, helped shape my experience so that I could take ideas and turn them into action.

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Experiencing the MCN Experience

By MCN 2016 Scholar, Luc Desmarais (@MuseoLuc), Exhibits & Design Manager, Beaty Biodiversity Museum (beatymuseum.ubc.ca)

What a week! This was my first time at the MCN conference, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the generous opportunity provided by the MCN Scholarship program. It was an honour to receive the scholarship, and very humbling to be included amongst the other incredible scholars.

After having some time to digest the experience (and the deep-fried everything), what I’m left with is the sense that now I’m part image01 of something bigger than I expected. It’s the feeling of spending a few days with new people, and now suddenly you’re part of the family. The community of MCN is what stood out to me from the start. It’s welcoming, warm, cozy, and inclusive. And I like it. These are my people. That’s my biggest take away from the week, as much as anything I learned in the sessions. My first MCN conference was an introduction to the family and an amazing opportunity to network and make connections. As the Canadian cousin no one had heard of before showing up to dinner, I felt welcomed and included. There was a seat for me, and everyone else, at the table.

The theme of “The Human Centered Museum” rang loudly throughout all of the conference sessions, and that is what inspires me going back to work. The traditional top-down model of operating a cultural organization is over. There’s no top; there’s no bottom. It’s us, standing with the visitor and the community, working together. Their stories are the future of museums. Talk to your visitors, build empathy, and have conversations. This is how we can be successful.

By the way, New Orleans is awesome. How many different marine invertebrates can you batter and deep fry? I’m not sure, but I image02think I ate most of them. As a musician and music lover, I was excited to see what the city had to offer and I wasn’t disappointed. The city is alive with music, and the best of it is found on the street. I was also lucky enough to catch a show at Preservation Hall, which was an experience I’ll never forget. Talk about the “open jaw of awe”!

Finally, the most eye-opening experience came on my last day in New Orleans. I visited the Lower 9th Ward Living Museum and was amazed at what they have accomplished. How often do we get to go to a museum where you are literally stepping into the story? The building, the neighbours, the people on the street, are all part of the story that the museum is telling. This brought the MCN conference experience full circle for me. There are no frills; there’s nothing fancy. It works because the roots of this museum are the people and their stories, and it created one of the most memorable museum experiences of my life.

What’s more human-centered than that?

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(photo by Mairin Kerr)

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Lights, Lights, Overstimulation

Guest post by MCN 2016 Scholar, Emily Haight – Digital Editorial Assistant at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

As a scholarship recipient, presenter, and first-timer to MCN I didn’t know what to expect. What I experienced was four days of non-stop information overload. (It’s a good thing.) Here are a few of my highlights:

emily-haight-toppicstitch

During the week, I ventured to Port of Call to indulge in a half-pound of “New Orleans’ Best Hamburger.” (Not pictured is the side of baked potato that came with the burger. I kid you not.) I stopped by Café du Monde for beignets (twice) and visited the World War II Museum, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Newcomb Art Museum’s exhibition of art by Australian Aboriginal women.

 

emily-haight-img_15231My first session was the half-day workshop “Beginner Hacking–Wearables” led by Chris Evans. Using a microcontroller, NeoPixels, ping pong balls, and a soldering iron, I constructed a light-up feature to clip on to my conference nametag. Diffused color-changing lights ensured that I would be obnoxiously visible in large crowds.

During several sessions I was too awestruck to tweet. I furiously scribbled notes about the Art Gallery of NSW’s artist profiles to delve into after the conference. I was blown away learning about the development of SFMOMA’s audio guide app with Detour, and—in a later session—captivated by their online content strategy (and confident adoption of fair use policies).

 

emily-haight-2016-11-15-13_38_00-twitterAs a social media manager, I was eager to pick up a few ideas from presentations about social platforms. I let out gut-busting laughs during “Disappearing Content: Snapchat and Instagram Stories” and was captivated by five case studies illustrating the criteria for participatory campaigns, including #GettyInspired and #Spunday.

On the last day, I presented a case study with my colleague, “Can You Name #5WomenArtists? A Viral Campaign for Women’s History Month” and bolted afterward for lightning talks with my fellow scholars.

 

 

Temily-haight-mcnstitch1wo off-site events during the conference added to the experience. The Ignite reception at the House of Blues and the gathering at the Audubon Aquarium also allowed me to see more of the city—and spend some quality time with my scholar cohort!

 

 

Overall, I felt inspired and empowered by each of the presentations I attended. MCN provided a fantastic opportunity to meet people that I had previously only known virtually, share ideas with them, and plan for future collaborations.

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Mapping the #MCN2016 Twitter conversation

Guest post by Andrea Ledesma

 

GIF is TAGS, a tool to map twitter conversations

As someone who fancies herself a lurker on Twitter, I was a little intimidated heading into the MCN 2016. Would I be able to follow along? What exactly should I tweet? How fast would I need to type?

Luckily, someone’s made a script for that.

I trackedss_dashboard #MCN2016 using TAGS v6.1. Developed by Martin Hawksey, Innovation Community & Technology Officer at the Association for Learning and Technology (@mhawksey), TAGS is a Google Sheets template that pulls data from Twitter. It runs directly through Twitter’s API.

In this instance, I set TAGS to search #MCN2016 every hour, on the hour starting November 1st. To control the archive, I only collected data from users with over 150 followers.

 

At the end of the conference, TAGS logged 9000+ tweets from over 1000 users. (Good work guys!)

A map of twitter conversations at #MCN2016

The most compelling feature of TAGS is its TAGSExplorer. This maps tweets across a network graph with all the interactivity of d3 and JavaScript/JQuery with none of the headaches. Each edge represents an interaction. Each node represents a user. Rolling over a node reveals a feed of tweets, as well as a replay feature animating conversations as they unfolded over time. For those who like a bit of competition, TAGSExplorer also ranks users. Top tweets are based on number of tweets, conversationalists the number of interactions.

TAGS is not without its glitches. For one, it only allows users to reach as far back as 9 days from the date on which the sheet is activated. Also, the archive is a little messy, truncating tweets seemingly at random and distinguishing retweets with the classic “RT.” Most importantly, Hawksey himself recognizes that TAGS prioritizes “relevance” over “completeness.” Some researchers have found that his makes for a visualization that “over-represents the more central users and does not offer an accurate picture of peripheral activity.”

ss_tweetersss_conversatinalists

Still, armed with a predetermined window of activity and a hashtag to capture all the goings-on from the event of interest, TAGS proved the ideal tool for real-time, quick-and- dirty data analytics. As a first time MCN attendee this was invaluable. Sitting in my hotel room on the first night, I made and sifted through the first day’s network map forming a game plan the rest of the week. What were the conversations inspired by and happening around the conference? How would these develop over the course of the week? Who to follow? Who to talk to?

Now, looking at the web of nodes and edges in hindsight. There’s a material trace of #MCN2016’s major dialogue and debates, creations and critique to take us into #mcn50.

 

 

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#MCN2016 recaps, reactions, and responses

A panorama shot of MCN 2016 Ignite at the House of Blues, New Orleans

Last year we did a follow up blog post on the conference but instead of us trying to sum up the conference, we let you do that. We value our community here at MCN and love reading about your conference experiences. Over the last two weeks we’ve combed the #MCN2016 tag looking for posts but if we’ve missed any please do let us know!

Robert WeisbergThe Human League: 10 Takeaways from Museum Computer Network 2016

A Storify by Racheal Ropeik: https://storify.com/TheArtRopeik/mcn2016-a-human-centered-conference

Racheal Ropeik – #MCN2016: A Love Letter

Mark McKayMy Key Take Aways from MCN 2016

Jennifer Foley#MCN2016 and the way forward

Liz FilardiInnovation, The Mission, and the Business: Frameworks for Institutional Success at Museum Tech Conference #MCN2016

A Storify by Miranda Kerrhttps://storify.com/Mirandarhk/museum-computer-network-2016

Cuberis – #MCN2016 twitter moment

Phil Leers – https://storify.com/altitudemadness/mcn-2016

Susan Edwards – https://storify.com/jolifanta/mcn2016

MCN Twitter moments:

#MCN2016 Day 1

#MCN2016 Day 2

 #MCN2016 Day 3

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Axiell-MCN 2016 “Market Trends” survey

MCN is pleased to announce that Axiell partnered with MCN as its 2016 “Market Trends sponsor”. This gives Axiell the opportunity to develop an annual survey, whose findings will add new market intelligence to our sector in the form of a free industry report that will be shared throughout MCN’s community and Axiell’s customers.

Axiell is interested in knowing the predominant strategies that museums use to improve your collections data and to what degree your institution is leveraging volunteers and crowdsourcing. Leveraging volunteers and crowdsourcing are often lauded as solutions for addressing digitization backlogs, data cleaning and increasing the depth of data records.

However, this is often much more difficult than it sounds and comes with an inherent set of challenges. While some institutions make fantastic strides in this area, others struggle to get started.

If you’re interested in responding to the survey, use the info below:

Axiell MCN Survey post

The findings of the survey will be made available in a free report which will provide readers with insight into how different institutions use volunteers and crowdsourcing to improve their collections data; how different institutions prioritize this approach, how much progress has been made, what challenges are being faced and what solutions are being implemented. The report will be co-presented by Axiell and MCN.

The full report will include case studies and practical advice from successful programs, identify challenges and potential pitfalls and provide an overview of how the industry prioritizes volunteers and crowdsourcing.

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