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Smart Web Exhibits: Carnegie Museum of Natural History Presented at Web-Wise 2002, Johns Hopkins University Smart Web Exhibits An experiment in providing access to a museum’s archival collections as part of both on-site and on-line exhibits

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Smart Web Exhibits:Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Presented at

Web-Wise 2002,

Johns Hopkins University


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Smart Web Exhibits

  • An experiment in providing access to a museum’s archival collections as part of both on-site and on-line exhibits

  • A collaboration between the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries, Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science

  • Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, 1999-2001


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Initial Hypothesis

  • Museum visitors want to know more about specimens on display than label copy provides, specifically the stories behind the discovery and acquisition of those specimens.

  • These stories can be told through documents in the museum’s archives.


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Design Considerations

  • Different types of visitors will want to see different types of information.

  • In-gallery kiosks will not have keyboards for query entry.

    • Trackballs were used for selection and scrolling.


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Selected Archival Collections

The documents selected for digitization were those dealing with the discovery of the Carnegie Museum’s signature dinosaur, Diplodocus carnegii.

  • Records of Discovery and Reproduction of Diplodocus carnegii, 1899-1932.

  • Papers of Earl Douglass and Dinosaur National Monument, 1894-1931


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One Data Set:Two Interfaces

  • Dinobase: User selects a persona, then selects a “packaged tour” or searches the entire data set.

  • DIVA: User can search the text of the documents or browse the entire archival collection, then select and view a particular document.


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Dinobase

  • Creation of “packaged tours” with links to pre-selected digitized images and documents, including hand-written letters used to illustrate the story

  • Introduction of icons used to link to the original documents


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Dinobase: Packaged Tours

  • Two groups of “packaged tours” were created for two personas, i.e. the child and the interested adult.

    • Each of the tours incorporates selected documents from the archival collections to tell the story.


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Dinobase: Researcher’s View

  • User may search documents and photographs.

    • Contrast and zoom control on both documents and photographs

    • Metadata displayed with photographs

  • User may read related publications.















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DIVA Searching

  • Users may search transcriptions of document’s text or the results of OCR, captured in metadata.

  • Users may limit search by document type and sort results by date.

  • Users may view collection by archival arrangement.


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Searching for Dinosaurs and Tourists




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Links

  • Dinobase www.carnegiemuseums.org/cmnh/imls

    • Development site for Researcher’s view gypsum.ul.cs.cmu.edu/cmnh/dinobase.cgi

  • DIVA (Digital Information Versatile Archive)

    • Diva.library.cmu.edu/CMNH/index.html


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Challenges

  • Museum staff’s reticence to release data to an unknown user, i.e. without direct contact with a museum curator.

  • Diffuse process of exhibition development.


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Contact Information

Bernadette G. Callery

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

4400 Forbes Ave.

Pittsburgh, PA 15213

[email protected]


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