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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

Smart Web Exhibits:Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Presented at

Web-Wise 2002,

Johns Hopkins University

smart web exhibits
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
initial hypothesis
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.
design considerations
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.
selected archival collections
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
one data set two interfaces
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.
dinobase
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
dinobase packaged tours
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.
dinobase researcher s view
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.
diva searching
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.
links
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
challenges
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.
contact information
Contact Information

Bernadette G. Callery

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

4400 Forbes Ave.

Pittsburgh, PA 15213

[email protected]

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