Tool Petting Zoo: Getting Hands-on with Airtable and Other Tools for Collections, Exhibitions, P…

Join this session to meet real live examples of museums getting creative with collaborative tools to support their work. Several presenters will provide focused demonstrations of Airtable, Trello, Slack, and more. They’ll illustrate how their teams leverage free or inexpensive software to establish and optimize workflows for digital content strategy, social media, exhibitions planning, collections data, project management, and professional development. In addition to our pre-planned presentations, we’ll crowdsource problems in search of a solution and invite attendees to share their own favorite tools with the group. Then we will open the room to the “tool petting zoo”: hands-on demonstrations and consultations in which participants can test drive the tools shared in the overview and begin building their own.


Unknown Speaker 00:02
Hi, everyone,

Unknown Speaker 00:03
my name is Emily Haight, and I'm here from the social media special interest group for MC n. Feel free to Slack us later if you're interested, and really excited about today's presentation on the tool petting zoo. If any of you are like me, I'm sure you are

Unknown Speaker 00:19
really eager to learn some more organizational tools for all the work that you do. And I'll hand it off to Janice.

Unknown Speaker 00:26
And I'm Dennis kradic, and chair of the

Unknown Speaker 00:30
information technology SIG. And we're just a group of members of IT departments throughout various museums. And so we have a wide variety of interests, and are excited to see some of these tools that they're using in this presentation.

Unknown Speaker 00:51
Okay, kick it off. And first, I just wanted to also introduce Heather. She's our volunteer Heather, if you want to waive, and then she'll be managing chat and also helping out with breakout rooms others, Leah, thank you, Heather for supporting this. Before we get kicked off, we just wanted to introduce panelists and I can go first. My name is Andrea Ledesma. And I'm the digital product specialist at the Field Museum, which is a natural history museum and go. I work on the Web and Digital engagement team and we have been remote predominantly since March 13. The museum has been open again since about July 17. But I've been here since our museum is about 500 employees. Over the summer, we did lose about 20% of our staff due to layoffs. Just some background to on our team digital is distributed across various disciplines and departments. I think that is a reality a lot of us know in museums. So while we predominantly field, the museum's main website and other digital storytelling projects, we work with digital colleagues in education and it all with specific needs and audiences and workflows and bringing them all together has been quite the fun challenge. I'm actively using air table which is is no surprise to anyone joining this session. But I'm also using Slack Google suite and JIRA and Zapier, which we'll get into, and I'm also actively learning JIRA still. And that has also been a great time. I'm going to pass it off then to Dina

Unknown Speaker 02:22
everyone before I introduce myself, I think if everyone could engage the chat and give Andrea Happy Birthday shout or cheer or dance, yay, happy birthday. Not only is she like running this whole conference, but also turning another lovely age. So happy birthday. I'm Dana Allen-Greil. My pronouns are she her. I'm a white woman in my early 40s and I am wearing the best $6 I ever spent blue light blocking glasses from Amazon, and a TELUS shirt. I'm the Director of Digital Strategy at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The aquarium is 30, we just celebrated our 36th birthday anniversary. And it typically attracts about 2 million visitors per year 80,000 plants and animals. We've been closed since March and we have no reopening date on the horizon. We have, I would not say we have all been working remotely because there's a ton of people who are caring and feeding for our animals and plants and water quality. But we have suffered pretty big laughs

Unknown Speaker 03:33

Unknown Speaker 03:35
almost a third of our team. So really, really tough times there. We are very like revenue admission revenue Reliant. So we've had a $50 million budget deficit already. And digital is in a lot of places. It's mostly in marketing officially. But, but obviously also our education folks and lots of other folks are either involved or actively running their own digital programming that we support and help engage people in. We have about 10 folks to work on content and design for web, email and social and we are actively using air table and have been for about a year. Teamwork is what we use for project management. I don't love it. We use WebEx teams for video meetings and chat. I also don't love that and then G Suite for saving and creating collaborative docs for most of what we are writing is in Google Docs.

Unknown Speaker 04:42
So that's me.

Unknown Speaker 04:44
And I'm going to pass it off to

Unknown Speaker 04:46
Hannah Oh.

Unknown Speaker 04:49
Stop Ostroff and I work in the Smithsonian Institution Central Office of Public Affairs, also known as the council. I'm currently working The catalyst satellite moving Virginia artists, man as I happen since March, a lot of our locations have many of our locations actually reopen, close. And in my role in our central communication shop and the day to day system means the brand access only channels. So doing the bulk of the research and writing the editing and those social media accounts. I work very closely we have a team to the social media strategists inside the central office. We also have a marketing department and other business folks who work with us. And then because this is a vast and semi centralized place. They're also communications professionals and Social Media Manager for profit. Research Centers work closely in terms of tools, and using as little for a little while now also, of course, always available on primaries. And I'm going to turn it over to my other hand.

Unknown Speaker 06:14
Hi everyone secondhand here.

Unknown Speaker 06:15
I'm Hannah Zuber.

Unknown Speaker 06:16
I'm the archivist for visual materials at the Chicago History Museum. I've been at ch m since early 2019. And I manage the museum's collection archival collection of still and moving image. Ch M is Chicago's oldest cultural institution. We were founded in 1856 as the Chicago Historical Society, and that is still our legal entity. But we rebranded to the Chicago History Museum in 2006. We are home to more than six and a half million still images and about 4 million feet of moving image as well. I've been working remotely since March 13. The museum close to the public March 15, and remain closed only to essential staff for several months. We also reopened in mid July. So since then, I've been maintaining two days on site and three days working from home schedule. museum recently decided to close to the public on Mondays as a cost saving measure. But so far, we have been able to avoid staff layoffs and furloughs. The museum has a total of right around 100 employees 150 if you include contractors, volunteers and interns, we are the archives as part of the collection department, we have two permanent archivists, myself, and then my colleague who manages our manuscript collections. And we also have kind of an abnormally large project staff. Right now, we are working on several major projects. And I will be talking about one of them in relation to air table today. And we're actively using air table G Suite and your basic Microsoft suite as well. So we'll kick it off to Sierra.

Unknown Speaker 08:02
Hi, folks. My name is Sierra Van Ryck deGroot. I am the education programs manager at poster house. We are brand new design History Museum in New York dedicated to the global impact and culture of posters, which is incredibly exciting. Who would have guessed? We have been closed since March 13. That happened very abruptly. And we reopened the museum to the general public in late August. But most of the full time staff are not back. We just have part timers on site, we have about approximately 45 employees. It's changed since this slide was made. And we are all currently spread out over New York State New Jersey and Pennsylvania as we are working through this time. We have not laid off anyone at poster house, but people have moved on to other things. During that time. I I am actively using G Suite and Asana and air table and Slack. And you'll hear a little bit about that here. I'm currently learning figma on my own. And that's been a journey.

Unknown Speaker 09:09
And let's keep it moving. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 09:12
thank you, I realized now I'm like, oh, we're all actively using Slack, not just everyone in this presentation. So you know all be experts in that by the end. So just an overview, but we'll have for the next hour and a half. The goal is to discuss how our respective museums are using air table and air table adjacent tools to facilitate work and promote collaboration across teams. We'll start by sharing our tools each of us will present a very mini case study of what it is that we built for our teams and why we'll get into the details of each of these tools. How much did they cost? How are how hard are they to use and to set up and what is working and what isn't? We'll also talk about how our tools change and what's next, as we're like, again, actively learning and thinking about what's next and what else can you build and then we'll break from For QA, whatever one in the current zoom for would like to stay and participate in breakout rooms will also host that at the latter half of this deep dive, it's not mandatory, it's okay. If you don't want to join, there's going to be a 10 minute break before those breakout rooms start. So you can grab some water, grab a snack or step out. So your choice. So before we get started, I just want to give a very quick overview of air table very early on. With a deep dive sign up, I think we pulled a few of you to see how many folks were using air table. And I think there was very low varying levels of expertise. So just as an overview, air table is like the best spreadsheet and more or like a relational database, and you're like Andrew, what does that mean? But when you have an air table, you have your workspace, which is your account. And every workspace contains a set of bases. So this particular base, I know Brad Dunn is on the call, he knows as well, it's our digital team test space. And within each base, you have a table. So that's what those tabs are. And I see they're very grainy, but I swear they're there. And within air table, there are particular records, and that's the smallest unit within air table. And that is your data. And as you can see, air table allows you to highly customize each of these records according to their fields. They are incredibly robust and very customizable. They have built into the software functionality you probably had in Google sheets of like, Oh, I wish I could do this. But I don't really know the formula. Your table makes it easy to do so believe their mission is like democratizing software and no coding, coding without code. So the idea is that they want your data to be, they want you to be able to link your data and use it in the way that is most helpful to you. So you'll see as we walk through each of these case studies how it is we've used air table to build very specific tools to fit our specific needs and how air table just keeps on growing and how it's plugged into other tools available to our team. I think it was mentioned in the plenary panel this morning that like the best tools are ones that are like, easily adopted or universally adopted. And we'll talk a little bit to about like how we is we get staff investment or staff interest in the systems that we're bringing them into. So to get us started, Dana's gonna show us how she uses it at the aquarium.

Unknown Speaker 12:21
Yeah, so I'm going to show you just for now screenshots of two different ways we've used air table and then when we do the breakouts, then we'll have a chance to like really pull it up and dig in, I think it's kind of it's really hard to explain air table. So Andrew, really good job. And I think until you really kind of see it in action, it's hard to understand how powerful it is. So the very first time we use air table, we had just like this massive spreadsheet, it was a content audit of all the pages and PDFs on our website. And we knew that we wanted to go through literally every single page on the website and decide if it was good to migrate to our new CMS, if it needed work, if we could just not bring it over, because we manually rebuilt every page in our new CMS, which was super fun. And, and so we started with like an Excel sub Excel spreadsheet and just found that really difficult. So we use air table to kind of catalogue everything. We also had a separate blog and a separate newsroom microsite, we wanted to merge all of those into one. So we're talking probably 1500 web pages at this point. And we use air table to audit all of that content. And we had, you'll see sort of a keep update, remove add kind of categorization. But then we were able to also use it to manage review of content, the status of the design, if a stakeholder elsewhere in the institution needed to review it had we sent it to them had they approved, it was everything looking good technically was it ready to publish just sort of status. And we were also able to generate, which I'll also show you kind of I can't think of the next circle graphs, pie charts. Set a little brain right there to kind of keep our project manager and our senior leadership informed about where we were with this kind of massive migration project. So if you can go to the next slide. This shows you this is kind of like the most basic of air table views, which is a grid view, which looks basically like a spreadsheet with like pretty color coding. So here I've got an entry or record for every single page. They all have unique IDs, or cataloguing. What's the new title? Are we going to migrate it? We're going to Is it a new page we need to create? Which template is it going to use etc. There's a lot more I can show you in the breakout if you're interested. And then the next. So this is just showing you how you can visualize any of your records lots of different ways you can do Gantt charts and bar charts and pie charts and I don't even know what else And then what this is showing you on the right is, for example, you can see that the vast majority of that bottom pie chart, the vast majority, we migrated as is a big chunk we updated and a big chunk, we create about 25% brand new cages. The chart at the top shows that I could report out, hey, the bulk of our work is actually on the animal pages. And these are the staff we need to work on this. And, and also educators, I think there were some misperceptions about which parts of our website had the most pages and how much work it would be. So this was a really easy way to kind of visualize for people the like the shape of the project. Next slide. So we loved air table so much for this that we also decided, once we shut down in March that we needed a better content calendar across platforms. In the past, we were like a little bit siloed collaborating a little bit between web and social and email. Once we we closed and we were so digital forward, we realized we just needed to be a lot more integrated. And so for that, we really needed a way to see multiple platforms in one place on a calendar, you know, identify publish dates content, lead design lead, and link out to related documents, like the draft content, or if we had a project brief or campaign brief, or to our project management system. And the next screenshot will show you what that looks like. So this is just another view in air table is a calendar view. And the next slide shows a combined view. So there's lots of different ways with the same records and the same data in air air table to just filter or view them based on what the needs of your team are. So that's what I will talk about in the breakout room if you're interested. And that's it for me.

Unknown Speaker 16:53
I think keep going. Next slide.

Unknown Speaker 16:59
Great. And I think I'm next I apologize that I sound like my mic was not up to snuff earlier. I hope this is a little bit better. And I'm also just going to try to use my theater voice for a minute. So please do let me know if I need to be shot here. Okay, Emily, thank you. Um, so talking about social media management for my two actresses. And when, when I started about five years ago, the day to day Social Media Manager I was coming in from someone else who had been the one person and kind of doing day to day social for a number of years as well. And we have a good problem that we have a lot of content. There's a lot of things that you do, but it's a really steep learning curve is the institutional knowledge of, you know, how many collections there are, what the research is on who your experts are, but then also things like water has controversy with water, things that have done really well in the past. So when thinking about how do we do our beloved, a social, it's, you know, asking questions like, Okay, what did we do on a holiday last year? And it's things like, okay, it's International, our current stuff? Well, now I know that there used to be our list that we can cancel. But you know, and I'm ready to share that. But as even as I got my feet wet, in trying to learn all those things, it was also trying to remember, what did I post last year, and doing kind of just like Twitter, search for Thanksgiving, and trying to figure that out. So on the next slide, there is, you know, what I needed was one place that I could go and see everything that was going on, and something that's different than just doing a collection search for the word. Instead, something that's pulling social media content, it might not have Thanksgiving in the name, it might be an image of giant Tito's at the American Art Museum, or it might be a fossil to production at the Natural History Museum, the things that I can use to do social media like I'm going to the next slide. We started using air table, January of 2019, building out something that can help me and our team plan for everything's given. This is the puzzle. By the way, every winter solstice election season, Native American heritage, all those recurring things that you need to mark on social media planning. But also to think about, you know, it's a Tuesday and I come in, and it's not a hashtag holiday. It's not an historic anniversary, but I need to tweet something, which is sometimes how social media feels that you're constantly feeling like something that can help for those students that you need something written to go. And so on the next slide, I have an image of the table that I created and on this tab, it's broken. seasonal content. And it's broken down in sections, you have things like birthday and Easter. And some of those overlap, have a portrait of Hewlett Packard in our National Portrait Gallery that was started with us as an earthquake story. But it's also a women's history story. So finding those intersections, and it also allows me to track what the links are, it's a blog post that these pieces are coming from existing action information, if I already written it, I don't necessarily have to reinvent the wheel next year. What part of the Smithsonian it's coming from the museum Research Center. And when I posted it last, and this has everything that we've done going back years and years, but it's also a living document. And I think the other thing is, it's, it helps us in we have a lot of content buckets. And we have a lot of people on the plane with social media content do for us at the Smithsonian, some of those buckets are in the future, we had balance representation for disciplines, art, history, science, culture, but also the parts of the Smithsonian or museums big small Research Center in DC, oh, a knot, and making sure that we keep that balance, we have all those different parts that present content.

Unknown Speaker 21:22
And it's also to be able to have something that doesn't just live in life. And you know, it's great that I have a decent memory for this kind of stuff. But you know, we'd love for our team to grow the reasonably enjoyed from focusing on women's history. And to be really great, another person would not use this tool to contribute to it, understand it. But also with my role word of change. This is something that it's all behind on digital paper, and it will live on. And so in the next slide, it has a tab for what I titled evergreen goodies. And here's just things that you can do on social media. And so that, you know, I can say, Hey, I know I haven't done anything about the postal union in a while. So I can turn to this. And I think they Oh, I want to tell the story about how people used to be able to mail and which is a good one. And it lets us know sort of displace it different ways, really, visualize. nailing is a great story. And you can still do this. And thanks to the Postal Service, that you can put a stamp on it. I don't know the exact postage amount, but the equipment in the mail and happy to share more in the breakout room if anyone wants to know about those things. But I think this lets us plan ahead for those recurring moments on social media to also be more involved in the day to day. And then finally, I have when the pandemic we really shifted our social media attention. And on the next slide, you can see how I adjusted in air table, we wanted to think about how we could use the Smithsonian social media account to serve people to be part of their social media conversation, especially in March in a meaningful way. And that meant, you know, be able to find content that could offer grateful people scrolling, but we're still pretty mindful of the social media landscape that we're part of. And so air table allowed us to adapt pretty quickly pull in a lot of these data fields that were already in a different tab and feeling. Okay, here we are, is all of our content, ready to go? No, we're gonna keep it balanced. And in a difficult moment, to make my job easier.

Unknown Speaker 23:55
Thanks, Anna. I'm going to share a little bit about how my team and I use air table to manage requests of our time, but for websites special on the blog, as well as organize our work. So where I sit on the digital team, often we're fielding requests for content development updates, web features, and then I think I'm calling something else entirely, which since closures has included things like digital Wayfinding and virtual programs. The reality of the Field Museum is that currently there are very finite I mean, our team of editors for the website. So you can imagine there's like a constant influx of things can be built, written or developed out. So luckily, thanks to some other Bower users for our demo on our team, specifically Susan, oh God, Mary Caitlin Carney, we actually have an automated system built across air table and some other products that I'll get into that allows us to intake these requests, not unlike systems that are already built for that with like ticketing systems in terms of issues and feature requests. We built it to fit the particular problem And madness that is our museum. Also, I wanted to note to throughout, I'm gonna walk you through these past couple of months have been an incredible stress test for systems do you think are super important? As like as more requests came in and as how we worked change, we actually had to take a step back like, okay, it's great to have all of our workflows in one space, and be able to reference them each them and have our records again in a central location. But we realized, like where it is, we hit the limits of air table, and sort of reevaluated what else needed to be done, and then just sort of discuss, like, how does JIRA now plug into air table? And how does this base plug into this paid base, which I think is a very important part of setting up any system. So it just needs to be identified as that we needed to continue the process that we had of efficiently in taking digital requests, we want it to be able to review and prioritize our requests accordingly, and feed information to not on our teams, but to other folks as we needed to involve them. Because as we all know, we don't just work with our immediate teams, we rely on a ready cadre of collaborators. So I'm that girl at the Field Museum that says I filled out a form. So any sort of request of our team starts here. And in a table much like the G Suite, you can build out a form very easily. That's our for web team assistance right here. But what's nice again, as you saw with Hannah and Dana, is that because it plugs it in directly into our table, we're able to segment already the information very easily. So once someone submits a form, it comes into or when someone submits to the form, we get it in our incoming requests tab. And we actually use Zapier, which isn't like kind of like If This Then That automation, to duplicate the request in our individual trackers, this is sort of important to us, because we want to be able to retain the original record, but then get very tactical with how it's done. And that's not always the fields that people provide for us. And it also allows us to take a step back and look at our work of like, okay, what's being requested of us? And what else is on our plate? And how prioritize depending on like, what they need to know, what are their goals for this? What's their deadline, there is a sorry, I didn't do this sooner, but I really need this priority. And then we'll say like, Alright, that's ASAP or, that's not as much of an emergency, I think we can get this done by Friday. And we just need to be through that. And offset it. Like if you're just checking off a to do list you didn't make? Well, this is our sort of solution to that of like, Okay, what actually needs to be done in a particular amount of time. So we're not constantly watching this form, we set up an automated channel, in our slack instance, that will ping us whenever something is submitted. And even in there, we'll just start a thread, oh, yeah. Don't worry about it, or like, hey, please hold on this, this is actually tied to a larger piece I'll fill you in later now happens in our slack. And it's been really great small, every so often, we will still get things like oh, this is actually the request for something larger, or this is the start of a bigger conversation. Or on the other side of that I will still reach out to actually like individually. But it is really important. And we always consistently communicate that like thank you for this, we'll look into it. But please like the most efficient way for what you need done, and then directly into our workflow and allows every member of the team to evaluate it as needed. So what I mentioned earlier, is we actually had to move away from air table and in some instances, and this actually moved. Our move to JIRA started a little earlier before.

Unknown Speaker 28:39
Previously, we had air table set up to provide our website development tracker. It started with our agency in 2018. When we redesigned it was really helpful because we had built out like our roadmap and our epics all in air table, and we were able to ladder up that air table, just a nice dev tracker, and we were tracking our sprints, and we had our checklists for QA it was all nice and tidy. But as our development became more robust, and there was a air table really lacked. Some finer points for record keeping and touching are pieces of information to a record. As an example, you can only go your back into the commenting feature for every record, depending on your payment plan, which is not helpful if you're trying to track the development of a particular or look at history. We finally moved it out from air table into JIRA, which is what you see on the right. for liking it. So far, it was helpful that we were able to just sort of recreate and had an understanding based on air table and moved it into JIRA. It's also helpful that that is what JIRA is built for. But there are still some features we're weighing in between, like Well, this was actually a nicer in air table. For example, the roadmap feature in JIRA is not my favorite. I've actually been building out a different roadmap in air table just to sort of get used to like how things are laddering up to one another. And we'll move that into JIRA later, I think, I don't know, remember if Hannah or Dana mentioned this, but like air tables also just sort of very fun and easy to test something out in terms of the system because of how flexible it is. And then you can sort of see, it's like, oh, this might hold water, and this might not and I can move it into this different system. So other than JIRA, we actually also had to reevaluate our content tracker, which is what you see here, and looks very much like Hannah and Dana's, previously, when we redesigned like this table was much more robust, we had like, four three tiers of review processing, polled. And then we had like resources, staff and time for like a full 10 push. But as we sort of moved away a little bit from a redesign is more like, stacked up on a plate, we had to reevaluate and realize like, oh, that same review process that same, like engagement with our collaborators is still in place. But we don't need to be as deep in the weeds in these particular records. So we kept those items and that workflow from 2018. I just moved it into the reality of 2020. So this is actually more, I'll go back organized by quarter. And in that case, my colleagues, and I just sort of track Okay, like, here's a procedure called EAD here in a website who's on it, when do you need it done by and who else do you need to engage? We have a very squishy category called complexity, which is also just a good flag of like, how long might how tricky might this wrangle with content, and that, that and or owners and what's on our plate and trues, were able to figure out like, Okay, this is what can realistically get done by q3, and maybe let's reevaluate q4 at the start of it, and we'll move on. So that's all for me. But if you want to get deeper into we'll be in a breakout room and can walk you through any of these tools. So Hannah Zuber, I think you're next.

Unknown Speaker 32:07
Yes, thanks, Andrea. So I am just going to talk a little bit about our usage, CH M's usage of air table just strictly as a non relational single table database. And I think, in a lot of ways, we could have used Excel but air table makes life so much easier for us. So our use of air table was specifically tied to a single acquisition. In 2018, the Chicago History Museum acquired the Chicago Sun Times photo more collection, which they consider their collection of historic images ranges from about 1940 to the year 2000. So this collection in total is over 5 million images. So it's one of the largest image collections that we have ever acquired, and it actually tripled our total image holdings when we acquired it. And it was a rather complex acquisition as well. We didn't acquire it directly from the Chicago Sun Times, they had sold it to a sports memorabilia dealer in 2009. Long story short, he was convicted of wire fraud and then obligated to relinquish his assets. So we purchased the sun times at that point, and it was kind of a mess. So we acquired the 35 millimeter film images, filmstrips that you see here, we also acquired some digital image surrogates, and the previous owner had also created metadata for roughly one and a half million jobs. And when I refer to jobs, or when I say jobs, I'm referring to a group of photographs taken at one time or at a single event. So the image here to the right, is indicative of a single job. So a job can have one or two images, or it could have several 100 images. So the way that we're managing the sometimes collection is from a job level slash folder level, not item level. So one job is equivalent to one record in air table. So we knew we needed a centralized database to manage all of this folder level metadata for about 250,000 photo jobs from this collection. Next slide. So our primary needs were kind of to manage the data, the metadata that we inherited, also create metadata for the part of the collection that we didn't have any and make sure we were cleaning and standardizing that data to our specifications. We had did not have really very many suitable tools at chfm. Like I said, this is the largest collection we've ever ingested. And we knew we needed to look beyond Excel or Microsoft Access, which are the two major tools that we use in collections. So our primary needs were kind of this low barrier to entry regarding technical knowledge, we didn't have a whole lot of time to learn a brand new tool. And we really had to get moving quickly. We wanted something cloud based, something easy to use, and easy to use interface, and the ability to have multiple users working within the same database at the same table at once. And kind of our secondary needs were project management based. We started the project in spring of 2019, using Asana and Asana worked pretty well for us for project tracking and task management. But we were, we needed to figure out a way to cut costs back in June. So we figured we could use air table also for project tracking, and it's worked pretty well for us.

Unknown Speaker 35:39
Next slide.

Unknown Speaker 35:41
So this is just kind of a typical view of one of our bases. Like I said, we're using air table as a non relational single table database, one record per line, we don't attach the digital images that we have within air table, if we did that, we would almost immediately go over our 20 gigabyte attachment per base limit. So I can talk a little bit more about some of the limitations that air table has as far as images. But we do store all of the corresponding images in box. So we've created several data dictionaries and authority list in order to standardize some of this data. And you can kind of see some of them here. Column A is just a job. It's a unique identifier, the job number, the date also pretty standard. We of course, go by the date of the photos were created rather than the date that they were published. Because the collection includes both published material and unpublished material, the description you can kind of see is pretty standard, but where most of the work for us lies. For example, if you look at record 554, the description is just pictures of general scenes of crowds, which is not really useful for us, we kind of want to know why the crowds are gathering who was there where it was. So a lot of the work our project staff is doing is really heavily research base to try to enhance some of these. We also have photographer field, and subject fields. These are authority lists in order to standardize some of this data. The topics or authority list is borrowed from the Chicago collections consortium of which we are apart, and their course Library of Congress subject headings. And then on the next slide is just a slightly different view of the same data. chfm has a number of gaps in our visual materials collection, for example, a major gap that we have is in regards to the south and west sides of Chicago, these community areas lack significant representation in our collection as compared to like the lube area or the north side. And so we're actively working to address these inequities in our collection. So with this in mind, our long term goal is to ensure that the entire sometimes collection is browsable by location, more broad location data, such as community areas or neighborhoods. And then also some targeted location data for some jobs, we have exact addresses. So we want this collection to be as kind of accessible as possible from that perspective. And then the last thing I just want to mention, my overview is just the views feature, which has really come in clutch for our team. So if you look all the way to the left there, you can kind of see a couple names and assigned dates. So that's I use the view feature to assign staff specific record groups to work on. So you can do that. And just make sure that each individual is only seeing the records that they're assigned to work on. And I'm happy to talk more about views in detail the breakout rooms, because I love them. And that's it for me, Sierra, on to you.

Unknown Speaker 38:58
Thank you so much. And please let me know if my internet is being difficult. We have a big drama queen router over here. So um, I have to start this off by saying posters is a brand new museum. Everywhere every other museum here has history has been established, there is already a status quo, and you are just changing and implementing systems. Whereas poster house was like literally brand new, there was no system there was no precedent to work off of. And one of the big things that we knew was that we really wanted to have a robust internship program. And we are going I noticed the slides are It's okay. So we had dreams of doing a super robust internship cohort and education has been a huge priority for poster house and we've continued to keep it to To be a priority, but we had to develop a brand new Internship Program, which for the educator in me and the systems person to me was exciting because what better way to have a working system for yourself than to design it yourself. So we had to design this program from scratch, and we needed to manage applications, review them and track them in the safest way possible. And this was even before COVID, we were just like, what are how we're going to collect all this information. Um, as soon as the museum closed in March, we had to make some very quick decisions. The first one was immediately that we had to go virtual, all the internships had to go virtual, and we had to move the entire internship process virtually. So the air table actually ended up playing a much bigger role than it had initially was planned to. And I'm super excited I'm going last because all of my lovely co presenters have shown you all the great functionality of air table and have shown you the layouts that I can't show you because our internship spreadsheet has all the sensitive information of the people who applied. So you get to see the beautiful functionality of air table in terms of the form you've gotten to see the charts and graphs that they can do, you can see all those things. And if you have ever tried to do a volunteer internship program, you know, those things are essential, you know, you need to be able to keep all of these things together and air table just like did that. So our big goals were a clear applicant management system, concise applicant review system and tracking applicants across the whole process. So next time. So the first thing that I immediately knew that I wanted to put all of this on air table for is that air table does forums. And from those forums, they are directly linked back into your base. That is revolutionary, high key amazing. Google does it but not nearly as beautiful. The slide that you're seeing here is the 2020 poster house internships. Application Form, it's just the top of it. And the reason why this is important to me is because this was what intern saw when they were applying to the application, they had a beautiful visual image, you saw our logo, it was inviting. It wasn't just like a generic Google Form like it had this like personalized look to it. And then you just filled out the application. After you get to the application portion, everything that they filled out went right into a base. And if you can go to the next slide.

Unknown Speaker 42:25
Everything that they had when right into a base, I can't show you the basic the the master base that I have, because the master base has all their information. But what I can tell you is that poster house prioritize blind reviews during our internship process because we wanted to really be serious about our diversity, equity and inclusion plans. And we wanted to ensure that people were being judged on being judged people were being reviewed. And we're looking at like their qualifications as a person looking at their their responses to the short term answers the short answers, and we were looking for, you know, some key details as opposed to like, where you went to school or like you know what you did. And so the form feature was such a huge deal, because then I could create things like this, we had a master document that had everything, this is your name, your ad, like your address, your birthday, your phone number, your everything was on there. And then from that, as Hannah just very lovely mentioned, we had the fantastic option of putting in different views. So when I was sending out these forms, sending out all the information for all these applicants, I was able to not only take out pieces, but I was able to kind of smooth things around so that they made sense. What you're seeing here is the two rounds of blind review. So you can see the major GridView you see that there's five groups groups A through E that we were able to send out to different reviewers. And they as you may have noticed on the last slide, the names were not names of people, we decided to change the names of all of our applicants over to birds. It was easy to find birds in New York City and some outside of New York to make that all happen with they were grouped by letter and then this allowed us to kind of as air table moved as I think Andrea said, are tables is masterful platform that you can really it's like a spreadsheet like times a million. And so we were able to kind of group these move people around and then we were able to move them into a battle royale bought Battle Royale round without even having to worry about moving outside of our air table base. And this also led us to track requests for feedback. I want to move over to what's next so that we can tell you things but I'm happy to show you more in the breakout.

Unknown Speaker 44:54
So I think Thank you everyone for sharing very quickly. We just kind of wanted to like round robin it in terms of You know, other things that we consider using and our challenges and data? Thank you for asking the question of how many people have used air tables. So far, I noticed that a few folks like have been playing around with the free version. So maybe we could just talk a little bit about cost. I can start in that like, the most frustrated, one of the most frustrating things for me for air table is that you have to pay per user rather than for an actual like suite with X number of users attached, which really limits depending on the resources available to your team, or organization, how many people you can bring in. So oftentimes, I do find myself like, Oh, this would be great to involve like graphics, and but they have such a big team that we can't possibly carry those resources. So we end up moving part of the process into like Google suite, because we know that they can access it, they've already used it and figure out some way to then bring them back in. Did anyone else want to weigh in on how much they're paying currently to get all these features? Yeah, so

Unknown Speaker 45:58
on that note, you there's a lot, once you're in the pro version, there's a lot you can do with giving people read access, so that we've used read access judiciously and you don't pay for that, in terms of doodle pay for that by user. And like forms can be used by an unlimited number of people. So we try to make sure we can at least come up with views that make sense from a read only standpoint, air table does give a 50% discount to nonprofits, if you are on our website. Um, and then we've been exploring, upgrading to the enterprise version. Because as people see it, like the content calendar, there are lots of people don't actually have a whole lot to do with your content. But they are really intrigued. And I want to start using it and other places in the organization. So we're looking at the enterprise version. And frankly, it still is by user. So it's not like a but at that tier, you get some additional functionality. Or capability, let me say, where you get an implementation manager and a customer success manager, we haven't done this yet. But they're in the process of trying to sell us on this. And I'm really intrigued, because frankly, for me, I think air table is so powerful, but it's so flexible, that you really have to have someone who's a great systems thinker, and has time to set it up properly. And so an implementation manager at that enterprise level would actually meet with you say, Hey, what's your process, and they will actually just configure it, for you, at least is what they're trying to sell me on. So I'm intrigued by that. And I do think for us, it's one of the limitations of air table that it's so open and flexible, that we really have to take a lot of time kind of internal, internally training our team on like, can you use this field this way? And if you if you use a tab versus a view versus like a separate base, those are all things we're kind of having to learn on the fly rather having, rather than having someone who can represent the product and tell us what's the best way to do it.

Unknown Speaker 48:06
I just want to say that we're using the free version. And I think we might get into this a little bit later. But you'll be in quasi government approval. So using platform and I think we're experimented with air table officially. So you know, I know, some folks who filled out the survey said that they were having to use Microsoft Teams. And I think I I'm not trying to use SharePoint for anything. So this is you moving things over into, into air people, but I'm still still doing on the free level has been working for us so far. But we're

Unknown Speaker 48:47
and ch M is using air table at the pro workspace level. And we are also using it using grant funds to pay for it. And your table won't invoice or kind of break out different projects for you unless you're at that enterprise enterprise level that Dana was talking about. So for grant funded projects, air table can can be can be kind of tricky, depending on, you know, invoice documentation that needs to be provided to funders. And the only other thing I wanted to mention too, we billing is done per user per workspace. So you have if you have one user into multiple workspaces, you're paying for that user twice. So just one more thing to kind of keep an eye on when you're if you if you have multiple workspaces.

Unknown Speaker 49:36
I'm also curious too, in terms of bandwidth here, you mentioned that like as part of the fun of like, doing this as you can customize the system exactly to the way that you want to do it. But as Dana mentioned that like it takes a fair amount of time and expertise. So like generally, how long did it take you to first build it and then get it to a point where you're ready to introduce it to others of like, okay, here it is. Here's this thing.

Unknown Speaker 49:58
Yeah, we've been using the Pro version, just for everyone to know. And as Hannah and others have said, we pay per person. So it ends up being a chunky bill. But we also get a lot of credits because people come in and out. So we also have been riding that wave. But in terms of bandwidth, I will actually honestly say, when I first introduced air table to poster house, I was using it to plan my wedding. And I was doing it as like a, like a spreadsheet, I was using the free version of the spreadsheet, I was like, this is just a fun spreadsheet that does groups. Um, as I've like, kept learning and reading and learning more about air table, it has like exponent, my understanding of air table has exponentially grown. And I like refuse to look at my old wedding air table because I'm embarrassed by like how I've used it. So there is absolutely a learning curve. But if you have the time and if you're one of those people who love just like tinkering around with platforms, air table will absolutely reward you exponentially if you can do that. I think learning about using the forums learning about all these new things that they've added such as automations automations, were like my favorite new thing that they added because now you can send out emails like you can update someone's status in your site and automatically send an email. And these are things that I've been looking for things we've been waiting for. So I would say that this was a huge learning curve, but the payoff was great.

Unknown Speaker 51:19
Thank you,

Unknown Speaker 51:20
I was actually going to say like all of them San is rather for the virtual conference is built on air table, the automations is super important. And those charts that Dana showed are blocks, which are only available on the tier plan kind of function like it, some of them at least function like a pivot table elsewhere. But that sort of functionality, you can only unlock once you start paying the automations big fan. In terms of time, I'm looking at what's up, so I'm actually going to speed through and maybe we can open it up to some general audience q&a before our break, but I just wanted to highlight first, another Slack channel, yay. To keep the conversation going after this, I've set up air table, underscore, etc. In Slack, there's nothing in it quite yet, but we figured it's public. So please join it. If you're looking to continue the conversation. We'll open it up again to to folks who are on the waiting list. But we're eager to see how this channel could might live on as like a museum centered power users group for air table and all like wonderful product planning tools in that channel will also share the shareable version of the slides we have today. So just as a reminder, to open it up to q&a very soon for some general q&a. If you have a question, drop your name in the chat. And Heather, our volunteer is going to keep an eye and call on you. And at that point, you can unmute your mic and ask the question. Or if you would prefer, just write your question straight into the chat at about two, let's say two o'clock to up to five magentas 205 will break for 10 minutes. At that point you can stick around for breakout rooms or you can head out before the break though if you are sticking around in breakout rooms. Oh 305

Unknown Speaker 53:05

Unknown Speaker 53:06
sorry, I'm in Chicago. So 305 Eastern for if you're on that timezone drop in the chat before break which Breakout Room you'd want in a room one or room two, and this is the info for each. And then during the break, we'll sort you in so when you rejoin you can get in the room you want to be in? So question looks like Michelle's first.

Unknown Speaker 53:31

Unknown Speaker 53:34
Um, Has anyone here used Microsoft 365 or Microsoft planner or anything? I'm trying to figure out how those how that compares to air cable and some of the other products that you guys are talking about? Yeah, so I'd love to hear it if anybody's using them.

Unknown Speaker 53:59
No, do you mean like, like Microsoft Project, but on 365?

Unknown Speaker 54:03
Yeah. So there's Microsoft has planner and project. And it's got a whole series of things that we've already got that are part of our Microsoft Office Suite. And one of the things that while I love air cable a little bit that I've that I've played with it. I'm wondering if it might be better to use something that the entire organization actually has access to. Which is why I'm kind of looking at that. But I don't know enough about it or people who use it to know if it's worth my while to really start getting into it.

Unknown Speaker 54:45
I have not used Microsoft Project in many years or anything kind of Microsoft de emphasize outlook. But I will say one of the things that has not been particularly strong for me and it may be a learning issue on my part is you Gantt chart, like there's a very basic Gantt chart idea in air table. But it seems to me to really rely on like a start and end date. And that's it. And that like, dependencies and the layers that you might get in more of a, like sophisticated Microsoft Project style.

Unknown Speaker 55:16

Unknown Speaker 55:17
I think it just depends on what, what your need, what you're trying to accomplish. Okay,

Unknown Speaker 55:24
a lot of what I personally want to accomplish are actually a lot of the things that you seem to be accomplishing with your Monterey Bay Aquarium content management, which is what I'm looking at. Part of the thing that attracts me to the Microsoft suite is that there is the possibility of getting things, tasks and things like that onto people's outlook calendars, which would then set a reminder, which are things that I find to be really helpful. So I'm kind of looking for something along that line.

Unknown Speaker 55:56
Can I jump in and say something even though I'm not a presenter? Okay. Yeah, I think, for me, my experience, one of the critical challenges to these tools is getting your, your team on it, right, one person can't use these. So if there's a system like office 365, that your whole organization is using, that's huge. And I think it's worth looking at, it's worth like investigating just because of the ease of getting everyone in your organization on board. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 56:28
gration issue has been

Unknown Speaker 56:29
one of the major challenges with air table in that like, well, we're not on Slack, for example. So we can't use that lovely integration that Andrea showed you. Um, and, yeah, we're in a different project management system. And we're like, literally manually linking the two. So that part is not ideal. And I think there are ways to overcome it, but it's going to take work on her and

Unknown Speaker 56:54
yeah, Susan, that's a really good point. And something like we usually try to work on at the field, like on a very similar presentation, such as this, what other departments have like, like, sort of generated interest with like, shared views of like, oh, here's what the web team is working on exhibitions, if you're curious, and trying to bring them in. But we are just like continually thinking about like, well, if this team isn't using it, it's it's not a useful tool, right? Like if it's not helpful. So just trying to figure out again, meeting them where they are, and like, what they will if maybe this will work, or if they're interested, how much time it will just take to get staff buy in, and like shared learning, with people you need.

Unknown Speaker 57:39
So I think Aaron had a question.

Unknown Speaker 57:42
Hi, I'm Yes. So my question was actually something that you didn't get to, which is about that institutional buy in at the upper level. So I'm a temporary grant funded project manager. And on my first day, I was like, Hey, can we use air table? Could you look, there's like a big wall that came down on that. I'm still officially experimenting with air table in the free version, and we're using it to organize a bunch of research. So that's just like another another application for air table. But I guess my question for each of you is, what were your conversations like about bringing air table in as a tool? And what were some effective? You know, what was your effective language?

Unknown Speaker 58:38
I can start if no one else's current thoughts on this. In our case, actually, it was just like showing the thing to sort of like, Hey, here's what it can do. I think a new tool is scary to some men trying to like and adopt it is scary. But he thinks starting small and like, Okay, well, maybe use the free version, maybe tinker around with it a little bit, get it to a place, that would be helpful to them as well. And then you're sure of having the conversation from there, like, oh, imagine this at scale? Or especially if you're thinking about working with other teams, like, bring them into that process of planning of like, Hey, I'm working on something. I don't know if it's like, it'll stick. But I'd love your thoughts on that. They could just be a starting small was sort of helpful in that regard. But at the same time, too, so just like it because there was a free version, which I don't know if you're in the position to do or try and am doing.

Unknown Speaker 59:36
If this was a Google Doc, I'd be anonymous troublemaker in this session.

Unknown Speaker 59:41
Yeah, for us. I actually started our visual during the government shutdown, which is a hard and weird time, but I'm not a federal employee. So it was a situation where I was still working, working. Speaking for other people, how do you start this One thing from scratch that I don't think I would have done it, if it were not for having that fun, but it was something where I was able to work more independently in my presentation. So on a free version, and getting it to a place where it works for me, and I could prove to myself like, Oh, this is going to change how we do everything that I could go and take it to my boss and say, here, here's where this is going to be able to make a difference. And I think that's starting small. And it sounds like we're doing that to show how it works for you. And, and I think trying to, it can be really intimidating as a tool for the breaking down to get to spreadsheet, labels. Those things are always.

Unknown Speaker 1:00:50
So we have a question in the chat box from Jonah for Hannah. They're asking, they're curious to learn about how you connected the digital image asset to the air table records that you made. They felt that you mentioned a box.

Unknown Speaker 1:01:06
Yes, yeah. And it's just as simple there as file naming. So each of the images that we hold in box, the file name matches the job number. And so that's how we're able to tie the images that are hosted on box to the metadata that's on your table.

Unknown Speaker 1:01:28
Heather, are there any other questions? Yes. Sorry. I'm scrolling through. So Susan is asking how do you track dependencies in air table?

Unknown Speaker 1:01:43
Can you quit?

Unknown Speaker 1:01:45
I think we addressed that.

Unknown Speaker 1:01:46
Yeah, it was addressed.

Unknown Speaker 1:01:50
I mean, I think that that is something that I have not figured out the very best way there a couple other things haven't figured out the very best way to do an air table, for example, you can read one of the things we love about your tables, you can drag, drag and drop things up and down. But then if you kind of resort or look at a different filter, that leg ordering doesn't carry over. So I've tried like literally manually numbering things I've tried, you can have like a star ranking of like 10, you know, if we're trying to, for example, have a priority list of like, what needs to get done this quarter? and in what order? Those kinds of things? Are? There's probably five different ways to do that. That and none of them are like, exactly perfect.

Unknown Speaker 1:02:30
Yeah. I mean, to the air table likes to link records to other records, which is super helpful. In the contractor we had, for example, we can like say, Okay, this exhibition page, or this section of the website will include all of these pages, and vice versa, like this page actually is dependent on all of these other sections of the content or in other sections of the website, right. But you cannot link records across bases as carefully. They just pushed an update earlier this year that allows you to share views. But we're not yet at the point, at least in our herbal or how I'm using air table where like if something is marked done in one base, or changes in status and one base, it changes its state in another base. I think it's getting there. And I hope so

Unknown Speaker 1:03:22
I'm gonna do it with an automation now.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:24
I think see where we go. But I know you can always push shared views to a different face, which is helpful.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:31
Yeah. And I would also say that like, yeah, the linked records are like a huge deal. And that's basically how we ran the entire thing. Because you can literally start with a master sheet and then like, go down into the minutiae into the other ones. And so like, you have one, you can have a big like unwieldly she, but then I think as Dana mentioned, like you can group things and you can sort of things and then literally take that into another document and to go from there, which is how we actually ended up doing the anonymous, the blind reviews actually.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:06
So I think we are at time, so thank you everyone for joining. Obviously a number you've put which Breakout Room you'd like to be in. So as a reminder, if you'd like to do so please drop that in before the break. You don't have to stay for breakout rooms, it's okay. But again, the shared Slack channel is going to be available. And thank you for joining if you are hopping off, but otherwise, we'll see you back here let's say at 210 or 210 Central time, so as a five minute break just so we can get some more time in the breakout rooms. I'm going to go off camera and mic but I will come back around in five minutes.