Notes from Curation and Research workshop 5/5/09.

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[Note: Yellow text signifies things to highlight/elevate. Green text signifies Action Required. M.E. 5/11/09]

(Leo - preface) We want to get to the stuff that matters - short end-to-end process of 2 months to gather the key points and act.

Q: There is difference of opinion of what the Smithsonian brand means. What's the single attribute that makes SI so unique?
  • collections
    • [I realize this is probably going to sound more heretical than I intend, but I'd like to interrogate this assertion a bit: there are many museums now that don't really have much in the way of collections (e.g. Newseum) but which do a wonderful job. What can we learn from them that will help us understand with greater depth and detail what makes SI unique? I wonder if 'collections' isn't too simple an broad a shorthand for explaining something that is much more complex, and not tied entirely to the object... NancyProctor 7May09]
  • the "look of knowledge" - people as well as collections. the way we're able to present knowledge.
  • (43): several domains of knowledge and professional learners coming together, along with collections.
    • [I really like this idea of "multiple domains of knowledge." Not so sure I know who "professional learners" are. I'd add "with the public" to the list of things coming together. M.E. 5/11/09]
  • (44): diversity and the fact that it's public. We don't keep our thoughts to ourselves.
    • [I read into "we don't keep our thoughts to ourselves" that we have a culture of outreach/sharing and need have integrity & say even unpopular things if they're true. Reading/projecting too much into this? M.E. 5/11/09]
  • interactivity, active engagement
  • knowledge that we can trust; solidly documented and backed up
    • [Variety, expertise in interpretation and trust seem to bubble to the surface for me. I think our broad appeal is a key strength. I think we should do a better job of embracing our diversity (vs. trying to make it too vanilla across the board). I also think we need to bring that variety into open conversations with colleagues and the general public around the world (community of knowledge concept). (VP 5/11/09)]

Q: What does SI do better than anyone else in the world?
  • combining mass array of collections, research, institutes and teaching initiatives. Combining diversity and complexity in one public institution.
    • [Q: Don't universities do this? What do we do better than universities? M.E. 5/11/09]
  • it's free.
  • convey legitimacy and significance - providing a place to exhibit and honor in middle of US capital. People see it as a place where important things happen and knowledge is held. Honor.
  • speaking on behalf of archivists - our goal is to make our resources available widely so that curators and researchers can use resources to add that stamp of authenticity. Our goal is to get it out there and put it out there. Collections range from 1 doc to many many docs. We focus on making them accessible to public, i.e. Web. Create virtual reading rooms.
  • conduct research in a number of fields that don't overlap strongly fields supported in other academic institutions, like conservation science. It's virtually not taught as a field, most come from other fields, but it's pursued here.
  • (67): create communities of knowledge by freedom in accessing govt academia. Because of our reputation and resources, we can go out and network. We can get into the deeper roots of certain topics that historians can't do on an indiv basis. [Great thing to bring to the Web and give public a voice as well. How much time is invested in making those connections? How do we know who to go to in the first place? Imagine the unknown experts out there that we may find via the Web. VP 5/11/09]

Q: Does the public "get" the Smithsonian?
  • no... [Are we failing at the job of interpretation - helping our audiences connect with our collections and exhibitions? Here is a blog post I recently wrote on this, in response to a paper by Peter Samis and Stephanie Pau of SFMOMA - NP 5/11/09]
  • I think there are many different publics. SI defines niches and builds loyalty. Need to build loyalty between museums and that we're on the map together.
  • there are things that we aren't the best at. Our breadth is our potential strength - coming together. But we stick to our pockets, niches. Another power we have is status, location. We can reach more people than most anyone else.
  • [A focus group of Milennials in San Fransisco told us recently (paraphrased) "I've been to your Web site and I can't see how you're an institution that understands me." M.E. 5/11/09]
  • [I have heard Smithsonian staff declare with utmost conviction what visitor(s) want and think many times, yet rarely with any evidence from actually talking to the public. Why don't we talk to them (and listen) more? I have also heard people equate listening to visitors with pandering to their needs at great detriment to our mission. Knowing what the public wants (how to engage) is different than our identity (what we stand for). VP 5/11/09)]

Q: Is SI one entity (global level) or just a holding company that's aggregated multiple research centers?
  • a couple ways to think about it. The public perceives us as 1 institution. [I believe this, but where is the data? VP 5/11/09] People on metro say they're going to the Smithsonian. They don't specify [I've seen on Twitter they say "Air & Space and Natural History" VP 5/11/09]. The staff looks at ourselves as conglomerate of small independent units, not good at sharing resources. Public would benefit if we combined our resources intellectually through the Web.
  • Throughout, the "public" is referenced a lot, but there no more is one public than there is one Smithsonian, and that is a factor in almost every question that is asked. A major aspect of our web strategy obviously must build on what we determine the SI's missions to be. Yes, SI is a conglomerate, and these questions and responses substantiate that it is a conglomerate, with few definable foci. At the extremes are serving up edutainment for Jane and Joe Public, but SI also has many narrowly focused missions. SI's credibility and uniqueness are defined by the professional communities of those foci and in some cases those professional communities may be the most important audience. For instance, we are or were unique in leadership in many areas of natural history research. Those defined themselves as discipline-specific missions of national and global importance by the fact that we are or were leaders in these fields. When we compete with well-established and well-funded academic or other external research, how important is our mission in that discipline, what is our relative contribution? We generally do not do biomedical research but could, especially at the zoo - how do we decide if we should? My approach would be to determine what we are uniquely qualified to do at a leadership level, and define SI by that principle. However, the main criteria I see for deciding what we do seem to be how much money something brings in or how popular it is, sometimes how big it is. Valid criteria, no doubt, but their appropriate relative weight should be determined by the specific mission in question - the second has great significance for exhibits, but I would argue that it should of secondary importance in determining which biodiversity we document. The same arguments apply to developing a multipurpose web presence. (JN 05.14.09)

Q: what's the barrier to that? What's keeping that from happening?
  • reality is that funding is not collaborative. Directors and units are almost rewarded for NOT being collaborative. They're almost set up to be competitive. Collaboration is really just a pretty word. No center to collaborate. But, the Web is a good way to do both.
  • my experience on the mall: mother with 3 children who looked lost asked "where is the Smithsonian"? She was standing in front of the castle. Explained that each building represented research, not just physical location.
    • Deep inside, we want to collaborate, but funding structure, limited resources, lack of staff are issues that make folks resort to what the can accomplish this day/month - unable to take the next step. Just trying to do their best.
    • [Is it just funding or also prioritization? There is always a wish list a mile long and it all is mission-focused, but what % of original plans actually get done each year? What are we spending most of our money on? How might spending be shifted/re-prioritized? VP 5/11/09]

Q: With mission to create and diffuse knowledge, would it be better if we collaborate?
  • definitely. If leadership at the top suggested that you could get X funding ... jumped through hoops, things that weren't friendly to collaborative structure. If funding structure was more collaborative in nature, there would be more of this type of activity.
    • ["Funding structure more collaborative" is an interesting idea: what does it mean in practical terms? M.E. 5/11/09]
  • in addition to funding, staffing, time obstacles, we have a lot of red tape. We spend an enormous amount of type filling out paperwork.
  • collaboration doesn't have to be the same as equalization. Some things may need to be kept separate. There are different publics. View geographically. Majority of the public doesn't come here. Everything that exists on the Web is at some point based on the physical structure. Web structure doesn't necessarily have to be modeled like the buildings. [Speaker mentioned example of GoSmithsonian,com, Smoot, 5/6]
  • some experiences I've had working with [other Smithsonian] sites: [some Smithsonian units have challenged me and] asked me who my insurance carrier was. How are "my" collections going to be represented in "your" exhibit...?
  • fan of photography initiative. Would be great to have SI staff where you could go to with specific questions, and they could possibly prioritize from there.
  • put a different twist on the budget - goes further than that. All units set their own work plan each year - not coordinated priorities. We should coordinate planning across units.
  • don't forget the organizational structure - makes collaboration difficult, but have seen pan-inst effort to work on Web strategies, media, etc. Good beginning. Good sign. On behalf of scientists, collaboration works well currently here and outside of the museum (which is more difficult). There are restrictions we have to go by, which makes it more difficult. Scientific computing is a good beginning to work with others outside of the Smithsonian.
    • We need to support larger impact external collaborative projects, such as, for example if a team from several institutions wants to support a collaborative platform, it should be a priority for SI to host and lead the way, and make it easy to collaborate. [D. Hasch NMNH 12-May]
    • And to support the such collaborative projects, we need to have a good collection of tools - things like this wiki, and to speed up the MS Sharepoint tools to support external collaboration. [D. Hasch NMNH 12-May]
  • [The Digital Media and Use Survey conducted in 2008 found that collaboration was reported as being easier to do externally than internally with other SI units. What roadblocks are we putting up internally with one another? PSmith 5/6]
  • [At AAM 2009, a small museum curator mentioned to me how much she likes the museum, but also expressed the difficulty she encounters in borrowing objects from our collections when they are at more than one SI unit. Each one requires its own loan form and insurance. PSmith 5/6]
    • [I believe inefficiencies and overly complicated process & procedures work against collaboration at Smithsonian. People want to do great things but aren't willing to go through the "pain" to get it done. VP 5/11/09]

Q: which part of mission are you doing best?
  • gets published, put online, tours, talk to visitors, etc. No problem with collab, dissem, or increase among scientists in inst. Hard to get our info out to the public in an interesting way. Could use help here. [This came up in the SI Strategic Planning visioning session that scientist are often not the best person to communicate with the public for a variety of reasons. What may be needed is a translator who can bridge the scientist and different audiences. Technical writers, specialized around different scientific fields, could be this bridge. PSmith 5/6] [Agreed, this has always been a challenge. Educators/interpreters are good translators for this. VP 5/11/09]
  • difficulty getting our research out to each other. Leads to silo nature in working. Between scientists, humanities, and arts, I'm not sure to what extent we know each other's language. [If we can translate for the public, this will help everyone at SI as well. VP 5/11/09]
  • dollars for research, curators, staff have shrunk in recent decades. We can't have diffusion unless we have creation of knowledge in the first place. Priorities were shifted elsewhere. New administration we're seeing it change, but difficult economic times.
  • web casts, lectures... have a cost. [There are chargebacks for centrally-provided services that we can't afford!] SI should give more centralized dollar support for these efforts. [If we charge back for everything, it will never work. We'll become even more siloed/cutoff from each other and be forced to all be generalists just to get stuff done. Quality will suffer. SI shouldn't be charging itself and/or outsourcing at 10x the cost to do it inhouse. VP 5/11/09]
  • it's the nature of the researchers, curators, etc. SI Material Culture Forum has been going on for more than 20 years. Whether resources or structure is there or not, we ARE doing things. Lots of energetic, creative people here, which is another thing that makes SI unique. We overcome these difficulties in great measures.
  • [discussion of performance plans] is there a 15% public engagement element to your performance metrics (researchers, curators, etc) (PAEC) some units don't even use this measurement system. NASM - 50/50 research and diffusion. [My point with this was that according to PAEC guidelines, researchers/curators are doing a great job and exactly what they are supposed to. Perhaps PAEC requirements need to adapt? VP 5/11/09]

Q: agree that there would be a centralized platform to do some piece of it?
  • for sharing materials among ourselves, absolutely. If for developing our sites, no. Active collaborations currently doing well, with freedom to pursue their own objectives on the Web. At one point we were forced to use centralized software and platforms...put some in a straight jacket. Need rules of the road - digitization standards, i.e. meta data, that would allow us to exchange info across museum sites better. Huge mistake to centralize too much authority and control of Web operations in one place.
  • on the flip side, is when the public comes to us as a community of knowledge as well... writing a report or exploring their own interests, we need authority with how people can find something. Not "I want to see something on African Art, I have to go to this museum to find it."
  • agree there shouldn't JUST be a central, but both. We need more central Web staff to help us. I need to bounce ideas off others in the inst. so we don't spend $40k trying to figure it out. Sometimes I can't find stuff on my own museum's site. Some centralized ideas will make us more understandable and more appreciated by the outside world.
  • [Another view to being centralized is to let there be many different voices at SI but to link them together such that the web visitor can see the different voices based on different disciplines and compare and contrast them. This would be even more beneficial if taken to the next level where the visitors can debate among themselves and with us on what they are learning. Active participation in such debates generate more knowledge. To do this, we would need to be able to have a way to know what is on the web and standards could assist with this. PSmith 5/6]
  • branding / usability are 2 separate things. We talk about not being able to find things on the web [which is usability, not branding], but chalk it up as branding. [Central web professionals to draw upon should include usability/user-research professionals VP 5/11/09].
  • Branding should also recognize the diversity. Everyone doesn't have to look the same, regarding brand. [It is possible, for example, to have a consistent Smithsonian brand that also is adaptable in some part to each variety of unit or research office VP 5/11/09].
  • (intern): didn't realize what SI had to offer prior to working here. Diffuse, and public will be able to understand the institution better.
  • regarding centralization, look at (?) as portal to other sites. Lacking: finding things across all the websites. SIRIS cross-search - great! But lacking meta data and standards. Difficult to share info if can't agree on standards. Make it easy to share data. SIRIS has been noted by outside conferences. [Many are not familiar with metadata or what this all means. It is often understood to be one common language (i.e. set of collections database fields) that people must all agree to - an endless negotiation process with such a diverse collection. They also think it means everyone using the same CMS. I've tried to use SIRIS cross-search as a good example of NOT reinventing our systems or language, but finding the most basic commonalities for a metadata model that at least allows us to bring the content together. From there, you can branch off into details. When explained this way, people are much more comfortable about collaboration because they realize they don't have to start over from scratch. VP 5/11/09]
  • meta data and standards is absolutely important... to do first, and light-handed. Lays the groundwork. Takes years before there's a single website that can tie it together. Going back to retro-tag, sucks. Takes hours. Having horizontal matrix by which to view things - things tagged across museums - you can do that with expertise across the staff as well. [Can our Web viistors help tag our information? Let them volunteer for use virtually? PSmith 5/6]

Q: Is there an institutional taxonomy that everyone subscribes to as they tag their content. Should there be?
  • ... no
  • that will take us 10 years to develop and we'll have been sitting on sidelines for 10 years. Use open-vocabulary and just do it, start tagging. Torch website is 10 times better than central portal. Need certain amount of planning, yes, but need to act now. We don't have a viable central Web office - content people, curators, researchers that consider themselves Web people. Need centralized producers to help surface things to websites. Needs to be a content unit.
  • SI is a small universe living in a much larger universe. Need to comply to national and international standards. Start using existing standards.
  • Folksonomy and authority control are 2 different things. Folksonomy - spontaneous tagging by public. Be careful not to confuse the two.
    • [Some of this is awareness about tagging. Several curators/archivists I have spoken to are wary of public tagging because it will be inaccurate and unauthoritative. Powerhouse Museum does an excellent job of distinguishing between authoritative vs. public tags. We could certainly do this. VP 5/11/09]
  • ...anyone from Torch here? [Note: the Torch is the Smithsonian's staff newspaper, which has just gone digital. M.E. 5/11/09] Look at this as a case study from which to learn. Did it happen as fast as it seems to have? Regarding quality, lots to learn from that. Like the word interpretation - content aimed at an audience. Recipient and that audience's needs are considered in interpretation. Correspond to the audience's needs, not just the producer's.
  • Regarding Torch, people who were writing, got involved with the Web. OPA.
    • (Nancy) Torch is a unique example - that's my point. Can't compare Torch to the SI website. It's focus is to do 1 thing, really well. [And it's a recent effort using low-cost and open source tools with dedicated staff. Who wouldn't do this if they had the content freedom, time & resources? VP]
  • Need a place to contribute to a specific topic, i.e. food, climate, snails... major institutional topics that have been agreed upon that anyone can contribute research, collections, thoughts. [Love topics idea, but we tried defining topics to organize our content before (pre web 2.0) and getting people to agree to (and stick to organizing based on) a topics list is the time-consuming part. Maybe let it be entirely open staff/public driven topics ranked by popularity? VP]
  • like idea of platforms, but needs to be managed smartly, nimbly by central staff that can manage across units. Sometimes centralized efforts fail because they're too heavy handed. Need to be flexible. Also, efforts have been fleeting. Public is left with another weird little silo. Look, 5 museums have come together to contribute content - but it's really small. Thrown over the wall without any of my input - coming from left field. Needs to be longer term.
  • [Some centralized programs have trouble gaining support from the units because of a perceived loss of control if a project leaves the unit or department level. Working with centralized programs, however, can be mutually beneficial, and it helps to build that sense of community we need to foster. A central web unit would offer efficiency and allow SI to make progress by being able to navigate outside of unit hierarchies. GS, 5/5]

Q from the audience: Who should be the managing editor for the centralized SI website?
  • currently is none, which is one problem.
  • rush to bring contractors onboard. These things need care over the long haul. "care and feeding". We serve 200+ websites - need to be some sort of platform commonality, but they need to be maintained, which requires staffing. Currently, OCIO staff = 5 people.
  • should be a combination of scholars and transcribers, which can make SI particularly distinctive.
  • competancies and skills should be considered - not just about content or technology. Missing piece of experience design, drawing all the various elements together in a usable/logical way that users can understand it and that's a Web-based skill. Special skills involved. Web 2.0 needs to start by trusting your staff - those who want to get out there and get involved with the public.
  • [Need to have nimble processes so that the managing editor can help lead innovation and take advantage of new Web and New Media offerings when they present themselves, both on official SI websites and in third party websites such as Flickr, Facebook, and SecondLife. PSmith 5/6]
  • [I prefer the idea (dream) of an editorial team that is part of a core web group to include technical/innovation, user-experience design, IA, content coord/researchers, educators/interpreters, etc. all with knowledge and experience specific to web & new media. They would work in an agile environment, collaborating closely with content experts, OPA, OCIO, etc. across the Institution. VP]

Q: What prevents them?
  • Policy, resources, processes...

Q: Will SI ever decide to stop investing in buildings?
  • ...can't do that
  • no
  • we have to keep up buildings too
  • not either/or situation. Don't have to give up buildings to put things on Web.
  • based on underlying understanding that collections still count and we are taking care of them.
  • (Leo) everyone has referenced lack of resources to do things you want to do.
  • do we trust Office of Public Affairs to add content? We encourage that but it hasn't been followed through. More about exhibits, Web is considered a waste of time, not a priority.

Q: How important is Web (i.e. knowledge dissemination and creation with Internet as a tool for your career at researchers that we "get good" at this) to museums?
  • depends unit to unit
  • when times are tight, Web is cheaper in a lot of cases. Not sure if we're prioritizing resources appropriately.
  • begin thinking of Web as integral to what we're doing, instead of something that gets tacked on at the end of exhibit. Web should be integral to research (i.e. Folkways) - working with online communities to help document gospel music in their community. Our curators go through that UGC and produce more curated content online. We'll choose some groups to make digital downloads. We'll use it as a research tool for festival. Combines skills of curators with expertise of communities. Need to turn things around that way. Fundraise for website as part of your exhibit -integral as opposed to an afterthought.
  • [As part of thinking of the Web as integral to what we are doing, we should in some ways look at formalizing the process of Web development when it is an online presentation that is scripted. What I hear is that too often our current controls are done by restricting access to digital assets to control use, versus sharing digital assets freely to encourage use and implementing formal review processes as done for exhibits and publications. Cristian Samper talked about this need back in 2007 but I have not heard it discussed recently and I think it should be. PSmith 5/6]
  • we're always proud to say the SI has a huge # of collections, but no one talks about what % is accessible to the public. We brag about our in-museum visitors, but never Web visitors. How do we measure our success - what are the criteria? How can the measurement enhance the performance of our staff?
    • This seems like a good spot to mention the need for continued but expanded and more systematic collections data interoperability both internally and externally. Internally, it would be great to easily find, use and integrate species conent from the zoo on a page at NMNH or some other science unit. Extrnally, examples would include better ways and tools to share scientific content with the Encyclopedia of Life and the USGS through facilities like the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). Yes, some efforts are already underway in these areas, but they are not as well promoted or funded as they ought with SI leading the way. [D. Hasch NMNH 12-May]

  • NASM we have 24 curators or so, we do a new gallery 2-3 years. Only 1 or 2 curators involved in that project. So there's a great deal of pent-up desire to diffuse knowledge. We do conferences and books, and some curators are satisfied with that model, but those maybe under 45 or high propensity for outreach are interested in this new engagement. There's a strong push-back on Web right now because of process. No funding, approval process, resources, etc. come up.
  • [NASM: One curator told me that social media made perfect sense for research on our collection (esp. post cold war). Most of our major objects were created not by one individual but by many many people. The experts are out there, only a few are at SI. Many with important knowledge are unknown to us. Web is perfect way to reach them. Yes, some of the information may not be accurate, but that's where our expertise at research comes in to interpret, inquire and verify. Also, many new curators/researchers coming to SI are going to have internet skills and will expect the freedom to use the web as part of their regular work VP]. [How do we get those (curators, directors, researchers) who are reluctant to let the public comment/interpret information on board with 2.0? Some see this collaborative nature as "threatening" to their own research. (JRossi 5/12/09)]

Q: If focus is on local audiences, is there a national ambition to your relevance?
  • who are you targeted on the Web? We have 3 curators with a museum that has 4 changing galleries. Web offers opportunity to reach out to special communities (contemporary artists...). Collective information gathering on the Web. One example, place rules around who can add to collection - be more creative in asking what we want out of putting things on the Web.
  • (web practitioner) I have a network of other colleagues across museums if I have questions. Lots of enthusiasm to do things, but most lack of skills and not sure where to begin. Can we have a place or method to share best practices, information sharing?
  • using Web as part of collaborative research: workshops for curators would be helpful, to introduce curators to social networking and the ways of the Web. Look at the potential for the Web. She's gone to conferences to get this info.
  • agree. How this new technology impacts our work and how we can use this technology to improve our work, diffuse knowledge. Not only wiki, blog, social network - web 2.0 is just a word - it's more than that. It's tools that can be used to improve our presence/work.
  • American Art - figure out a way to integrate digitization into our existing workflow. Sustainability is key topic. Be creative. Those who catalog the material are also creating the meta data, for example. Think of ways when you're doing curational work, putting together exhibits, etc. There are certain standards for certain collections regarding taxonomy and cataloging terms, so that we can share info with other museums. Should be used in digitization effort so we can share with others as well.
  • Differences between exhibits and online - somethings can't be made into online exhibits. [...and some things can be made or allowed online that can't be done in the physical world. Think about it. PSmith 5/6]
  • Sound exhibit - you need to be in the box and experience it. Hard and sometimes expensive to replicate online.
  • Agree, and realize that some feel Web may hurt integrity of exhibits unless done correctly. Especially a concern at the American Art museum.
  • [Note the question asks about National ambition. What about Global amibition? PSmith 5/6]

Q from audience: Have there been exhibits created primarily for the Web? i.e. web designer that's considered art?
  • traveling exhibit service - weren't able to pull in funding so we created an online exhibit for it.
  • American Art - several curators have explained things Web can do that they can't do with traditional tools. I have all this material that's not really making it into catalogs, but would like to put it in wiki, for example. Need to think about how we serve curators and their audiences needs. Make a compelling case. Most use the Web for their own research - a starting point to connect with them.

Q: Are there things from curatorial/research perspective that need to be considered in strategy that we haven't talked about?
  • resources. Each time you're asked to do something new, you're asked to give up something else. Define priorities.
  • talk about engaging public, but curators and researchers need to interact with each other outside of the institution in a collaborative way. A semi-private space.

Q: How can we use Web to help generate revenue to help offset some of these costs?
  • if we were more aggressive and generous about publishing digital images (public domain anyway, on most) we'd see image requests rise and we'd make more $$$. We're holding on tightly to generate revenue. If others don't know they're there, how can they be interested?
  • We don't discuss [the bricks & mortar] museums as revenue generating opportunities, but they are!? Restaurants, shops, etc. Equalize the platform.
    • [I think this was a very good point & well delivered. Puts the digital revenue-generating debate into perspective. We can generate some revenue while still being true to mission. M.E. 5/11/09]
    • [Agree, but also think Web will never be self-sustaining with purely online revenue model. We need to be mostly an integral part of SI mission (like collections, exhibits, research) and funded accordingly. I also think the barriers to online donations are procedural, not philosophical. VP]
  • (Leo) Look at NPR, there's sponsorships, advertising, etc.
  • disagree putting any ads on sites. We're relied upon as trustworthy source. Distracting.
  • I trust many sites with ads on them. Journalism sites, NatGeo...
  • Archivists, part of photo services division - love accessibility but worried we can't respond to the demand. We're only keeping up right now. We could make more money with more staff.
  • As researcher, I've used Nat Archives Lib of Congress a great deal. Their amount of content, high-res maps is outstanding. Valuable resource. We're a public institution and should follow the same suit. Yes, it will take lots of resources and time, but we owe it as a government funded institution to do that.
  • [Wish there was a question on what we are doing that needs the most improvement. One thing that we need to do more of is to answer a lot of tough questions on how to best use the Web in a museum and educational environment, do it, and then provide leadership to smaller museums in how they can do something similar that scales within their resources. There is a vocal need for the Smithsonian to take a leadership role in this area. Our leadership could be offerred for free, but also as paid training and conferences sponsored by the Smithsonian for museum and educator communities. Not only would this help with the increase and diffusion of our knowledge, but also with the increase and diffusion of knowledge of musuems and educators around the world. PSmith 5/6]
  • [What is our benchmark? Do we think we can be Library of Congress? Libraries and Archives are well ahead in many ways, but they also have a different process and goals. Smithsonian is complicated. So what should our goals be? VP]

Q: Secretary Clough said to really listen to the people in this organization. If you only had 1 message to deliver to him, what would it be?
See Tell the Secretary

Index of Workshops