This professional development session will engage participants in a round table discussion of the challenges, problems, and strategic solutions related to the invisible work of museum computing. Drawing upon preliminary results from 50 oral histories conducted in spring 2021 with museum tech professionals, this session will explore the invisibility of museum tech projects, and examine the wide-ranging responsibilities of museum tech professionals that take place behind-the-scenes in museums. Track:Professional Development
Unknown Speaker 12:58
Thanks. Welcome everybody, we're just gonna give it a minute to make sure everyone found the room. It's a busy day. There's a lot to choose from. And just want to give everyone a second. If you want to go get a glass of water, good time to do that. Also, if you have the ability to pull additional resources up in your browser, I'm putting a link in the chat. It's to our jam board where you might want to add your questions as we go through material don't need to look at it right now. But if you want to pull it up into another window on your screen, that'd be great. We're also going to use the chat window today. So if you can pull that open I know that seems complex but we we wanted to take advantage of all formats of communication this time is going to go by like this. And we know you'll have a lot of great ideas to share. So we want to make sure you had ability to do that I see a couple more of you have come in so I'm going to repost the link to the jam board. This is just a tool we use to facilitate the conversation. It'll come into play a little bit later. But if you want to pull it up open now that's great. You'll be ready to do so. In about a minute, I'll start with the introductions. Our plan for today is really to start this session with an overview of the oral history content and takeaways that we want to share with you. And then we'll open up for questions. And so we're going to use the jam board and we're going to use the chat to collect those questions. I'm going to put the jam board URL in the
Unknown Speaker 15:53
chat window right now if you want to pull it up. And I think we're going to get started in just a second.
Unknown Speaker 16:03
Once we get through the first part of our presentation, we're going to open it up for questions and conversation. That's really the meat of what we're going to do today. Um, and we also know that you we may not get to all of your questions, so you may want to put them in the jam board that the link is in the chat field. Here it is. Again. And that way when we're doing the review of what happened today, we'll have the advantage of questions that maybe we won't get time to do. So. I see a lot of familiar faces from all over. So that's great. It's great to see you all here. We've got about 30 of you and in the room. So I'm going to say let's, let's push this off. We'll push it off slowly with introductions. And I'm just going to keep posting that jam Board link in here because I know that the chat memory is only as long as however long you've been in the session. So here go introductions. Welcome everybody. I'm Deborah Howes. I'm a middle aged white woman with brown hair, and I live in a part of the Hudson Valley, New York that was the original home of Manabe people. I'm a longtime MC and participant and I'm a former board member. I've spent a lot of time wrangling technology in the service of educational outcomes. And also over the past 10 years I've dedicated a great deal of time in the professional development of emerging and senior professionals. I'm really happy to be part of the professional development day and this session is a perfect fit. When the speakers asked me to participate in their oral history project, I was so honored and I was also happy for our field because you know what, we don't look back often enough to really make the kinds of analyses that we're just going to have a second to discuss today. There's going to be so MANY more rich things coming out of this body of material, but I'm really glad to be part of this introduction to you and speaking of introductions, let me introduce our first speaker, Paul F. Marty, PhD, is a professor in the School of Information in the College of Communication and Information at Florida State University. His research and teaching interests include museum informatics technology, innovation and culture, experience design and the information society. I feel like that's like almost everything that could possibly be in the MCM universe. He has a background in ancient history, which makes it even more fun and computer science engineering and his PhD is from the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He has served on the editorial boards and committees of national and international organizations, including museum management and curator ship museums on the web, and emceeing and our second presenter who will come up second is Katherine and Katherine is the program director for the museum studies program at the Harvard University Extension School. Katherine has taught in the Museum Studies program at the Harvard Extension School for the last decade, and has served as the research advisor since 2004. Katherine volunteers for nonprofits in the New England area. She was Assistant Dean for information technology and media services. At the Harvard Divinity School for nine years after leaving the heart of your Peabody Museum. So great panel taken together. First, we're going to have Kathy speak, and followed by Paul and I hope that everybody has found their way to the jam board. I'm just gonna type it in the chat box. Again. This is a way that we can facilitate the questions, but also feel free to use the chat at any time to ask questions. We're just going to address the questions once the speakers have finished their introductory remarks. So if you can wait that long, go ahead and put anything you'd like into the chat and take it away Kathy. Kathy, I think you're muted.
Unknown Speaker 20:41
Yeah, I got that. Thank you. The worst thing you want to do and Zoom right, so I am a white woman with blonde hair and I have also a little pink in my hair and I wear purple glasses. I live in the traditional land of the Nipmuc and Massachusetts people. And I'm grateful for their care of the land. Thank you. I live in Brighton, Massachusetts, which is near Boston and I work in Cambridge at Harvard. So I want to start by thanking all so MANY of the people who participated in our oral history project and if I don't call you out by name, don't feel bad. But I did want to thank you right away, because I see so MANY of you here. So separately, but for some years Paul and I were thinking about the history of museum computing. His ideas about the invisible work of museum technology and mine, borrowed from a conversation with David Behrman, MANY years ago, about about cycles of forgetfulness began to come together in 2020. Maybe you would say didn't they have enough work? To do, but it was the pandemic. So fortunately, we did come together. We started to have weekly Zoom meetings in June of 2020. about developing this project and who to include what topics might be covered, and we were surprised by what did transpire in the interviews. By November 2020. We sent out a call for participation and we were pleased to get mostly yeses. We got a few noes based on the workload that people had with their current projects. We were concerned about recording the history of museum computing from as early as possible to the present. As we all know what gets written down is what's remembered. And by having an oral history done, we give you another means of keeping that in our memory. However, sometimes we don't know where to look or what has come before us has disappeared from our memory. David Berman and I talked about how the field seems to have a 10 year cycle of forgetfulness due to folks leaving the field work not being documented and other shifts in technology, or even in the leadership of our museums where a direction is changed by a new director coming in. So how MANY of you have started a job and I don't really expect you to answer this right now. But you can in the jam board with no onboarding, or how MANY of you had to develop best practices yourselves, like Deb and I had to do how MANY of you struggled to get senior leadership to recognize the hard but invisible work that goes into making your project successful? I hope the answers are fewer and fruit fewer and fewer of you each year because we do document now and we do have best practices and standards. But there is more that we need to do. Through this project. We've recorded what came before and what we can learn from it. I want to highlight the importance of giving talks about your work at MC N museums in the web. The American Alliance of Museums annual conference, and other venues. David Berman's work was so important to the field and he's someone who made sure it was recorded in publications. Sub Chan is another and his main venue is blogging but he does much more than that. Sarah Kendra dine pushes the envelope on the use of technology through her brilliant and forward thinking work but she publishes speaks at conferences and give Ted gives TED Talks. Find a way yourselves to bring your work to light. We learned so much from the recordings made in capturing the history of the Museum Computer Network for the 50th anniversary. But this project the oral history project is important for MTN to in extending these stories and adding to the corpus of information about the work that we all do. We hope that you can see yourselves in the work of the 50 Plus individuals who are recorded for this project. And now I'll hand the mic over to Paul to talk about our focus on the invisible work of museum computing.
Unknown Speaker 25:06
Thanks Kathy. Really appreciate it. Hi everybody. I'm Paul. I'm a 50 year old white man with reddish brown hair and I'm coming to you from the traditional home of the Seminole Nation. Also at Florida State University, which is the university behind me. There's a lot of inappropriate things that people could say at this point. So I will not say any of those at all. But instead I will talk to you about the the as Cathy said the the key thing that brought us together on this topic is that Kathy is very concerned about these these cycles of forgetfulness in museums. And I've been concerned for years about how much the work of museum computing happens behind the scenes and unseen and I've been wrestling with how can we improve our overall understanding of the value of the contributions of museum technology professionals, when as we all know so much of that work is not just invisible, but taken for granted, frequently misunderstood, unsupported as a result, and what we know is that the more this work remains invisible, the more remains unseen and unsupported, the more likely that in times of change, this work is going to be forgotten about and the less likely it is that museum leadership is going to prioritize those initiatives. The other thing that I've always been very concerned about is that MANY people seem to believe that if our work is free to access that our work must be free to produce and how can we help people better understand that there is not magic elves working behind the scenes here, but real life people who need real life support and encouragement. So as Kathy and I were talking about putting these two ideas together to preserve our understanding of the field and to shine a light on the work that happens behind the scenes that so MANY people don't see we came up with this idea of documenting this, this secret history of museum computing, realizing that there were so MANY stories out there that needed to be recorded, that aren't necessarily recorded anywhere and to preserve that behind the scenes. Knowledge. I'm going to toss the ball back to Kathy here
Unknown Speaker 27:24
Oh, it's that mute thing that always gets me tripped up. So Paul, and I were able to travel through time with the participants that we interviewed and it was so much fun to do that MANY of you came to us with artifacts from your personal collections, your archives. I can't even imagine all the types of flexible media that we were able to see during this talk and for Eleanor Fink to bring a video to us as well about the work that she did. The interviews not only captured the stories of our participants, but also their enthusiasm, sometimes discussions of what they didn't know how to do and how they found the solution. One story of the visit by the Queen of England to the micro gallery and her request, which you'll have to listen to the interview with Nik Honeysett To find out and from fiddler crabs to Dinosaur chatbots and you know who you are. Most of what we heard was about pioneering not just in the past, but now and allowing freewheeling spirit to take hold and get the job done, to experiment to prototype to take risks, sometimes having support from the top and sometimes going out on a limb and sometimes having direction from generous donors as in your case step. Paul and I witness the humanity of the process. Our participants were not shy about listing their failures as well as successes, about robotics that cost an arm and a leg No pun intended. And then an educator who brought a paperclip to solve the problem. We heard about lessons learned in some projects that led to other projects along the way for each one's career, about sharing expertise, finding solutions and always about trying again. So Paul, I'm back to you now.
Unknown Speaker 29:30
Great, so I wanted to talk a little bit about the process here and how we did this and it I just start out first by saying that this has been a lot more time consuming than either Capture about to be right. We started kicking around this idea in the summer of 2020. We reached out to participants in November of 2020. We set a total of 130 invitations to participate. We went back and forth with a lot of those people. And we ended up with 54 individuals sharing their oral histories with us and we recorded those over a six month time period this year. And those oral histories resulted in more than 50 hours of Zoom video and audio recordings more than 400,000 words of transcribed text and just getting that text cleaned up to a point where we can share it back with the participants for their approval and authorization has been an incredibly time consuming process. I want to very quickly shout out to the two student workers who have assisted on this project who are both here in the audience, Margo Winnick and Kate Peterson, whose work has just been phenomenal on going through these transcriptions as you can imagine, it's not just a matter of cleaning up transcribe text. It's a matter of so MANY of these stories referred to people's names, acronyms, projects that don't exist anymore software programs that nobody literally nobody can remember what the acronym stands for. I was having a marvelous conversation with Diana Folsom just the other day about a software package that she worked on at LACMA, which was called latters la de de RS and literally nobody seems to know what the D in ladders stands for. But there's so much history that has been lost over these years and trying to Capture all of that. Oh God, Amanda, thank you. I would really appreciate that. And of course, I just realized I spelled the acronym wrong. It's la de R R S. And if you could put it in the chat that would be super helpful.
Unknown Speaker 31:46
And so we're I also want to apologize to those of us that those of you who were participants in the project who are in the audience, because some of you are we have not yet gotten the transcripts out to everybody to review we've been beta testing the process. Deborah Howes was one of our participants and very kindly beta tested the process for us at the time consuming processed data. That's what we guessed it was. So there's a blog post from the late 90s. About that, about that system that leaves the word data out. So we were guessing it was probably data. Thank you. Thank you so much for confirming that, but and multiply that times 1000. Right. There's there are so MANY examples like that. So we're trying to get as much of that cleaned up as we possibly can. But even so, we're kicking these back to the to the participants and saying, there's user these are the people we didn't know these are the names we didn't know can you help us fill in the blanks. So I promised those of you who are who are watching, we're working on that we're gonna get back to you as soon as possible Dead has been through the process. Now we can talk about how that went. We're very It works very, very well. We do have one clip that we do want to show right now because it's been approved by Deb. Now that's the other thing I want to say is part of this oral history process is that we don't want to share any of these stories with anyone until they've been 100% approved by the people who told them because you know how when you're telling a story over Zoom, sometimes you may say some might say something that then when you listen to it later you're like well, maybe I shouldn't have said that. Right? So it's it's a back and forth process. And that's what takes so long because this isn't just about recording something and pushing it out. Right. You know, as sometimes happens, but this is about that, that that that sense of authenticity and ownership and autonomy and making sure that people are telling the stories that they want to tell. But As Kathy said earlier, just wait until this collection of stories is online. That's our plan to put this all online at a digital library repository here at Florida State University so that people can watch and read the stories on the transcripts, and skip this insight and what's been happening in the history museum computing. So to give you a quick example, I'm going to bring up a clip that is Deb talking. And here Deb is telling a story about a time when she was working at the Art Institute of Chicago and the late 1980s. And what the clip shows is how the museum was trying to figure out how to respond to some of these behind the scenes information requests the the clip is two minutes long we're gonna let it play and then we'll come back and Kathy will talk about some of the things we learned from this clip.
Unknown Speaker 34:38
The thing about the artists who Chicago which being a public educator there which I quickly had to learn how to do is that they have a very well known collection and I couldn't believe that people were coming to my two o'clock general tours and saying, I want to see this painting with a guy in a nighttime coffee shop. And there's a yellow light in the background and I'm like, oh, Edward Hopper's Nighthawks. Sure, let's go see it. Or I'm looking for that painting with the pitchfork and the lady in the Met, you know? And so I'm like, Okay, we'll do it. And then later I made this connection. That those works of art. Were part of a board game we all play called masterpiece. And I didn't realize that the collection of that board game was actually a big overlap with the Art Institute of Chicago. And the reason that's important is that it also meant that in the late 80s, when I was working there, and um, you know, Microsoft, Bill Gates was building his house is like amazing technology house in Seattle. He came knocking at the Art Institute of Chicago his door and said, You know, I have this idea that rather than buy art for my new house, I'm going to just project the images I love and the images I love. MANY of them are at your museum and I'm thinking masterpiece, but, um, the, the museum said, Oh, Mr. Gates, we would love to have a partnership with you. Um, what do you require? And he says, Well, can you send me? You know, my 100 favorite pictures in a digital format? And we're like, what's that? You know, what do you mean by that? And Ellen Newman was like, not giving away the digital file. The richest man isn't like, we need money for that.
Unknown Speaker 36:48
Alright, great. Let me so that's fantastic clip of Deb Libby. I'm gonna put the transcript on the screen to while Cathy talks.
Unknown Speaker 36:58
So that that's great. I just love that story, Deb, because I had a similar experience at the Peabody Museum at Harvard, but I'm sure we can all imagine Bill Gates just saying, don't worry. If they're not digitized, we can do that for you. But of course, that meant something like and will then own the rights to the digital surrogate and blah, blah, blah. So a lot of us were then approached by Corbis, which was part of Microsoft and other libraries like Bridgman. And we needed to know as museum professionals, what, what we should do about copyright protections, and what this meant to existing offices of rights and reproductions because those offices, work had a revenue stream then that was in place and had been for MANY years. So it just shows the passion of for the field for participants like Deb, and she mentioned Ellen Newman and thank God for him saying no, we just can't give the rights away. To this. But we all were looking at that and we were also looking at should we put anything online, MANY museums were afraid to do anything more than a very small image, nothing big, didn't want anybody to steal our stuff. And then at some point we realized that if we had it online, people would use it and would know our collections better. So we started thinking about it, what resolution should we should we present it to the public? So a lot of good things that we thought about during the 1990s have informed our standards and the way that we work. And I want to just move back to Paul now so that he can talk about more of the themes that we saw when we were working with our wonderful participants.
Unknown Speaker 38:58
So those of you that have done qualitative research in the past, know that if you have 400,000 words of text to go through that as a massive qualitative research project projects, so but what I want to share with you is some of the emergent coding that's coming out of the work that we have that we really just started right but already we're seeing some some key issues that are coming out the cut across all of these stories and all the people we're talking about that we've talked to. And the first big thing that I want to mention and if you just remember one thing from this presentation, I really hope it's this that when we step back and look at that 30,000 foot view of how the field of museum computing has evolved since the 1960s. It is a picture of positive change. And it is it was such a rewarding experience. And now that I've listened to all of these stories at least twice, right. It is such a rewarding experience to see the growth of this field. Any individual story just like think through your stories, your experiences, any individual one might be you know negative and concerning and I see Max was talking about academia right it's the same thing there right I look at as a as a full professor at Florida State University. My day to day is full of crap, right? Just like just like yours are. But when you look at the 50 years scope of the field, that sweep of history, if you if you get out of the trenches and look at what we've done, you see this incredible positive change and the strength of the field. Over time, which is incredibly liberating the field because the challenges that we face in this field are significant. Right. Thanks, Kathy. Yes, the challenges that we face in this field are significant. First off, we have this issue that's so much of the underlying infrastructure that we support is invisible and we all know this, right? We work in a job where if I'm doing my job, right, you don't see me working. And that's a problem for a lot of people. You tend not to get the support that you need if your work is invisible. And if you if you are only visible when something goes wrong, right good and good infrastructure is invisible until it fails, then that also raises a lot of difficult questions for people in the field.
Unknown Speaker 41:36
Combine that with the fact that the technology that we use keeps changing and the purpose of that technology keeps changing as well. One of the things that came through loud and clear in our in the stories we heard was the evolution about why technology exists in the museum world moving from plugging in computers to plugging in networks to realizing the technology could be used to provide access to content, whether that's content in the galleries or content online. And moving from there to the realization that technology can help people have meaningful experiences with museum content, a focus on engagement and then moving even further from there about the role of technology and bridging cultures and embracing our shared humanity through empathy. And that's a transformation that has caused a lot of trouble over the years. Where does it belong? Who owns it? Where should it live? Who's in charge of it? It's hard to get support for what you do if people can't even figure out what it is you do and where it lives. Combine that with the challenge of the loss of institutional knowledge, these cycles of forgetfulness, the fact that the knowledge we need to make museum technology work keeps getting lost and has to keep being relearned again. And again and again. Right. We're constantly reinventing the wheel. And the dangers we face there is that the more we outsource and we heard this from person after person, the more we outsource these projects, the more the knowledge gaining is happening outside the museum. The museum gets the product right but five years later, the product is out of date and obsolete and who learned from the experience it was whoever you paid to do it. You go from those challenges to a whole bunch of problems that pile up upon each other because of them the changing nature of the job the increasing demands on museum technology professionals, the need to wear MANY hats to speak MANY languages to be a bridge between different groups to work in ways that are very different from our former ways of working to constantly reinvent your job over time and with people who tend not to understand what it is that you do or that your job is actual real work. We're back to the invisible nature here. People don't see the work you do. A lot of people think it's magic. Combine that with a fear of change, or resistance to change. And by the way, I'm speaking as a professor of Library Information Science where the standing joke is how MANY how MANY librarians does it take to change a lightbulb and the answer is change. And
Unknown Speaker 44:12
and getting people to understand that they don't have to be afraid of change, especially in a world where change doesn't always pay off. One of the things that we heard from a lot of people great stories of when museums were first going online, how MANY people were comparing what the online exhibits look like versus say cd rom exhibits or kios, which looks so much better. Why would we put all of this time into developing online projects? What are in house projects looks so better? And all of this piles up on people? I see some of the comments in the chat. You know what I'm talking about increasing frustrations? Right, almost a form of disillusionment and how do we overcome those frustrations? Well, we've seen we saw a lot of that in the stories two solutions that work the importance of having a champion for innovation, a champion for digital champion for technology, someone who needs to have a seat at the table. One of the hardest lessons to learn is all of our good work is meaningless if people don't see it. And if people aren't championing your work to your upper administration, nobody will know that you are doing it. So as a result, one of the things that was super helpful in so MANY of these stories was the importance of these professional networks, the importance of having a professional community of practice a group of people who who get you who know what you're doing, especially in a world where nobody back home, understood what you were doing or cared what you were doing. Having a group of people who had your back, who understands the problems that you were facing is so important. And that also connects to the fact that another solution that really works is having a director who understands the vision and the role of technology in a museum, which not everyone is lucky to have. But if you do that's a huge help as well and speaks to the importance of institutional leadership. And when we take all of those positive solutions together, we see new cultures emerging in the museum with a focus on human centered design and a culture of empathy and understanding and the role of technology for making the world a better place. Which takes us back to this importance of changing philosophies. The ever evolving idea of what's acceptable of why this matters, open access as a good example where we are now was almost unthinkable just 20 years ago, we have made tremendous leaps and bounds and achieve radical change and our ability to to help people think about museum information technology and information resources differently and the results in time as a result over time have been this positive focus and enthusiasm moving forward. And as I said, one thing one takeaway, that 30,000 foot view is that we have a positive scope of change over time, and where we saw this in these 50 plus hours of stories is the enthusiasm of the storytellers. People who are looking back over their history in the field and seeing this was worthwhile. We did this for a reason. So that's my quick capsule summary of the key lessons that are coming out of this right now. So I think we're going to move this now to q&a. We got jam board. Deb, I'm gonna knock this over to you.
Unknown Speaker 47:50
Well, I'm actually it's pretty straightforward. We imagined three questions that might get your juices flowing. I see in the chat that you guys don't really need too much help. So we can just address maybe there's one issue that's getting attention by Aaron, certainly more of an idea which why not let's start with an idea. It says I'd love to emcee and to bring together view Les and Andrew Russell and leave Enzo to set some fires at one of the upcoming MCM conferences. Aaron, since I'm not familiar with those names, do you want to just sort of talk about how you see that as being relevant to this discussion?
Unknown Speaker 48:35
Sure. So Lulay is the founder of nonprofit as F. And he basically writes about how back completely backwards philanthropy and nonprofit is in general, like I can't even encapsulate he just had to visit his blog. I can then the maintainers are essentially you know, one of the things that philanthropy and nonprofits right now, oh, philanthropy mostly want to fund his projects that don't have any overhead which is a complete fantasy, and they don't want to maintain anything. They don't want to pay for infrastructure and they don't want to pay for any ongoing cost of maintaining anything that they will fund. So I don't think anybody's ever put these people in a room together, but I feel like they would set some stuff on fire. And that would make me very excited. It just goes along with everything that you've just said about you know, institutional knowledge is lost. Why are we outsourcing things if we you know, if then the product is out of date, we continue to have to justify our existence, but it once we don't exist, then everything falls apart. And there's just i I'm having this particular argument right now that the infrastructure for the museum collection database is not is so incredibly small that we cannot maintain what we have. And you would just want to buy another system which is going to cost more to maintain How are you going to pay for that? Yeah, it's all horrible. I'm sorry. But that's not really what I mean.
Unknown Speaker 50:25
You know, because today is about professional development. And I'm imagining that there are at least a few people in our audience that are emerging professionals. Let's just like turn that into a more hopeful message, which is I think the problems that we are having a car now No, it's okay. But But I do feel like it's connected to our first question, which is, how do we make our value visible? You know, this is one of the main problems. I mean, I come from an education background. And I think that in my case, I'm always thinking about the value to the visitor, which in this case, could be a physical or an online visitor. You know, what are we doing for the public? How do we visualize what we're what we're bringing to a public face? And it's surprising to me that when we just spent a little bit of time like really thinking about that, and visualizing quantifying it, evaluating it and bring that to leadership? You know, we'll start turning. I just checked today. One of the online courses that I launched when I was at MoMA is now up to 100,000 enrollees. 100,000 I mean, that's huge, like that museum has reached over the past, I don't know seven years 100,000 People who want to learn about modern art in a way that they had never used before. And I don't know that we, I mean, that's just one way of counting, but there's so MANY other things that we can do. And I'm going to pass over to Paul, and I'd love to know people's comments in the chat go
Unknown Speaker 51:59
over just jump in and say that that what we're talking about here, so one of our emerging codes in qualitative research is called process over product right? And this is an important lesson that's really hard to get across in a lot of institutions, not just museums, so people are so focused on I want this product that they don't think about the most valuable thing is the work that goes into creating the product. As I said earlier, products gonna be out of date within five years, but the work you put into it is about preparing your staff for the next generation. of product. This is just like back in the day. Remember everyone, all the museums were jumping on the second life bandwagon, and people kept saying, Well, are we ever going to use this on our roads? Anybody come to a museum in Second Life and I would say to people, none of that matters at all. This is about helping the staff in your institution, develop familiarity working in virtual platforms. It doesn't matter if it's second life or Oculus quest today. You need to have you need to have a staff who are comfortable working in these environments. You need to focus on what they get out of the learning process, not the actual product itself. Boy, is that a hard lesson to get across.
Unknown Speaker 53:11
Really good point, Paul. I'm Kathy, did you want to add anything to that?
Unknown Speaker 53:15
Yeah, I wanted to go back to how can you see me I don't think so. How people get their work visible by publishing. And also a lot of our professional organizations have awards that you can apply for. So directors love to be able to say, Oh my God, our social media manager won an award at the Museum, Computer Network, or museums in the web or ATM, or our regional organizations like New England Museum Association. So don't forget that you can be visible in that way as well. And I think I'm saying this more well to anyone, but to emerging professionals, for sure. That's a wonderful way to show the quality of your work and to get the praise for it. Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 54:11
it's true. And you know, a lot of times we think we just don't have time because we're too busy doing stuff and making stuff. And I think that, you know, I mean, that's a tangential conversation, but, you know, making time to, to make the things that we do visible and the impact they have. I mean, you can't raise any more money unless you can do that. Am I right? Koven.
Unknown Speaker 54:37
One of the things don't pull me into this
Unknown Speaker 54:44
Unknown Speaker 54:47
I think he said don't pull him into us. So alright, nevermind. About About the reference is a lot of you might have seen the Knight Foundation report that came out in actually this was just about exactly a year ago, right. It was October 2020. And there were some really disturbing statistics in that report. And I think the one that frightened me the most was the one that about one in 10 museums have somebody representing digital or technology sitting at the directors table at the President's table, right sitting in the C suite, one intent, and that's that's chilling because if you don't have a seat at the table, you're not going to get your views across. And this is this is another thing that that came through a lot. But this notion of invisible work, it doesn't matter how hard you're working. In fact, I was just talking about this with a group of graduate students in library information science the other day, MANY of them think that they work really hard, right and and their work will be appreciated because their work is good. I'm like, well, that only gets you so far. If you don't have somebody advocating for you up, then people aren't going to see the good work that you're doing. So how do we get can everybody still hear me okay, good power just went over our house. battery backup power now. We're almost done. So how do you get that invisible work? Oh, it's back the invisible infrastructure right to support your work and help the people within the institution know this.
Unknown Speaker 56:25
Kevin, we lost COVID Maybe he's part of your electrical areas. Okay. Kevin, did you have something to remark even though you said you didn't want to
Unknown Speaker 56:36
know actually for once, I don't feel a need to mouth off.
Unknown Speaker 56:42
I'm just enjoying this conversation. Okay. Well, thanks for clarifying. I also want to shout out to the two intrepid participants who put their questions onto the jam board. I encourage you all to do so. The links in the chat. And these questions if we can't get to them. We will incorporate into a kind of summary that's going to happen after this panel is over probably after the conference is over and we'll distribute it through the usual MCM channels. And I'll just read one. It's really tough to advocate for technology especially technologies that's in an operating cost or incurs operating costs like software and software maintenance. Yeah, we've all been there. I mean, I think the person who was talking about having a Limited Collection Management System and then not being allowed to do more, you know visualizing those systems as part of a larger information infrastructure and taking that challenge from so MANY different angles. It you know, I can't say it's a silver bullet, but I mean, it's that has to be part of the general leadership awareness. It seems to me. And I think, Paul, should we go to the next question, maybe
Unknown Speaker 57:59
we're maybe almost out of time. Okay. Well, that's true. On what you just said was that part of the problem is that all of these changes can cost money. We have a small History Museum here in Tallahassee, and the last time I was there, the same story. They've got a database that was designed in Visual Basic in the 1990s that is still running, and every time they tried to get money to upgrade it to something else, there isn't any money so they just hope and pray that they can hold this thing together for another year or another two years or another five years, and how long will the Visual Basic database last? And again, because the work to hold that together is invisible, and the director is really only going to see it if everything collapses.
Unknown Speaker 58:43
Yeah. And I I just want to point out that in the question about what MC N Can do, we're really sincere about this. Like we were an active, growing, changing group of professionals who really like working together and being together and we really want to be productive in in our association and I think there's two really great ideas in the jam board right now about how MC N could help this work become more visible and I welcome MANY others. Note that whatever you put on the jam board is more or less anonymous. So your Your name isn't necessarily associated to this. And and I think yeah, it's 245. Sadly, we got to bring this to a close but if you do have lingering thoughts, go ahead and add them to the jam board. The chat is going to be cut off when we when we stop this meeting. I want to thank Paul Marty and Katherine Jones for a great session putting together and all of you who've participated and hopefully will continue to participate in this really important topic. Take care