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How would an art museum user search for a Jackson Pollock painting with no art history knowledge?
In a library, the user needs to have ‘entry points’ such as title and author, to find a book. Until recently, the art museum user needed to have similar identifying information for a particular work of art. But what if you can't remember an artist's name? A piece of artwork has no cover or copyright page where identifying information is recorded. Folksonomies help art museums to identify items in their collections for access by their users.
Taxonomies are hierarchical systems of organization that classify items into further and further defined groupings through a series of parent-child relationships. Art museums use controlled vocabularies to organize their collections into taxonomies; this structure then informs the way their online galleries are organized. A top-down structure is helpful to museum staff, who need strict control over their holdings, but makes it difficult for users to explore online collections.
An online collection's search interface helps art enthusiasts who wish to explore online art collections, but may be unable to effectively utilize taxonomic keywords due to a lack of art historical expertise or knowledge of art terminology. Adding a folksonomy feature to the search interface improves findability for the lay user. So if all the user can remember about a work of art is "splatter paint" he will still find the Jackson Pollack he was looking for.
Folksonomies in Museums What is a Folksonomy? Noreen Whysel
Folksonomy The user-created bottom-up categorical structure development with an emergent thesaurus. The result of personal free tagging of information and objects (anything with a URL) for ones own retrieval. The tagging is done in a social environment (usually shared and open to others). Thomas Vander Wal Principal and Senior Consultant, Folksonomy is created from InfoCloud Solutions the act of tagging by the Founder, person consuming the Information Architecture Institute information.Source: http://vanderwal.net/folksonomy.html, Vander Wal, Thomas (June 24, 2004).Message posted to http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/aifia-members
Folksonomy “Mass Amateurization of Web Publishing” “We have gone past a critical mass of connectivity between people that has introduced a new revolutionary ability to communicate, collaborate and share goods online. “To respond to these increased informational and exchange needs, new communication models are emerging and producing an incredible amount of distributed information that information management professionals, information architects, librarians and knowledge workers at large need to link, aggregate, and organize in order to extract knowledge. “The issue is whether the traditional organizational schemes used so far are suitable to address the classification needs of fast-proliferating, new information sources or if, to achieve this goal, better aggregation and concept matching tools are required. “Folksonomies attempt to provide a solution to this issue, by introducing an innovative distributed approach based on social classification.” -Emanuele Quintarelli, Folksonomies: power to the people http://www.iskoi.org/doc/folksonomies.htm
Folksonomy vs TaxonomyFolksonomy Taxonomy Unstructured Structured Personal Hierarchical Free and open Controlled Social Defines relationships folks·on·o·my [fohk-son-uh-mee] tax·on·o·my [tak-son-uh-mee] noun,plural folks·on·o·mies. noun, plural tax·on·o·mies. noun Computers. 1. the science or technique of classification. a classification system derived from user- 2. a classification into ordered categories. generated electronic tags or keywords that 3. Biology. the science dealing with the annotate and describe online content. description, identification, naming, and classification of organisms.Source: Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/
Tagging Identify/Label Hello my name is… Suitcase tag Price tag Describe What color? How big? Who made it? What does it cost?
Tagging on the Web Categorize Find Curator User Top-Down Bottom-Up Keyword Category Search term Directory Path Facet SKU Re-find Control Folksonomy Authority Files Metadata Systems Social Bookmarking Controlled Vocabulary Hashtag Thesaurus Taxonomy Ontology
Private Use vs. Public Good Private Tag Public Tag Personal Recall Group Recall Bookmarks (Deli.cio.us) Blog categories Twitter hashtags Formalized hashtags Search terms Facets Language of the User Language of the curatorSource: Weinberger, David (2007). Everything is Miscellaneous:The Power of the New Digital Disorder. New York, NY: Henry Holt & Company.
Social Tagging at Museums What is the best way for museum website users to discover works online? What language does the average website user use to describe an image compared to language used by an art curator? Before we get to this, Dana will present on traditional taxonomies used by museums.
Folksonomies in Museums Museum Taxonomies Dana Hart
How Do Art Museums CreateTaxonomies? Curators determine to which curatorial department an object belongs. The department further classifies the object with appropriate descriptors. These descriptive terms are usually taken from a controlled vocabulary; understanding the vocabulary is the key to understanding the taxonomy.
Authority Controls Controlled vocabularies are selected words or phrases used to tag works. Getty is an established source of authority control for language. ICONCLASS is a specialized taxonomy of art subjects.
Example: British Museum If there is no authority control that fits a museum’s needs, they can create their own descriptors. The British Museum created their own taxonomy that has three “top terms”: organic, inorganic, and man-made.
Taxonomies: A Hierarchy Organic Inorganic Processed Material Man-made Natural State Metals Synthetics Bronze Silver Plastics Fabrics The Victorious Athlete Charles V
Managing Taxonomies Museums purchase software that allows them to catalog, publish and manage their collection IT department works with curators, data managers and conservators to determine which data fields to include/how to format. Maintenance is constant.
Example: The Museum System (TMS) The Museum System is a collections management software. TMS is open architecture, so collections data can be “Light box” display mode on TMS integrated with other management systems.
Taxonomies informing web galleries Museums use their taxonomy and reverse the structure to make a more user Balance The Victorious Athlete Charles V Dianna The West Wind friendly “bottom up” approach. Bronze Marble Processed Material
Pros Of Formal Taxonomies Taxonomies serves the needs of the museum workers. Top down approach allows for strict control. Authority control language insures consistency with other institutions.
Cons of Formal Taxonomies Taxonomies don’t serve the needs of visitors/users. Exploring is difficult to do when trapped in a strict classification system. Users who are not familiar with the authority control terms/descriptors will have a hard time searching for specific pieces.
Folksonomies in MuseumsProgrammers and Social Tagging In Museums Kathleen Dowling
Bridging the Semantic Gap Social tagging allows users to create a path to information using familiar search terminology. A social tagging interface builds a sense of community among museum users. Tagging-related projects develop relationships between museums and their communities, and provide added value to museum collections. Thoroughly tested tagging projects encourage more traffic to the museums website and inevitably to the museum itself.
Example: Cleveland Museum of Art Online Information retrieval tool called Help Others Find this Object, which utilized social tagging. Now in use at the Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester. Requires users to think of their social tags in an organized, Taxonomic way.
Example: Cleveland Museum of Art “subject:art techniques:genre scenes “ “Were looking for simple, everyday terms that describe what you see…as well as more complex terminology related to the works art historical or iconographical context. “
Example: AMARA Online collections search interface that helps art enthusiasts who wish to explore online art collections, but may be unable to effectively utilize taxonomic keywords due to a lack of art historical expertise or knowledge of art terminology. AMARA helps users determine what types of art they are seeking by answering a few simple questions about their current beliefs and feelings.
User Interface Museums have previously been inspired by social tagging applications such as Flickr and del.icio.us. Programmers need to understand how to encourage users to continue to supply terminology. Users should be able to login to a profile or account which tracks their activities. Users engage in on-going relations with the institution. Users want to continue their work from one login session to the next.
Example: steve.museum A social tagging system with a great deal of variability in its interface. Supports individual user logins. Records user details, including email, for future contact. Allows museum to record the environment (interface settings) within which new tags were assigned.
Example: Whitney for Kids Allows kids to collect and organize artwork in child-friendly version of the same content management system used by Whitney staff. Puts children in the shoes of the curator – intellectually digesting the artwork and encouraging children to assign meaning and value to a piece.
Example: Tagasauris National Endowment for the Humanities Grant was awarded to: The Museum of the City of New York and Tagasauris, a NYC technology company to improve the Museums digital record annotation capabilities with: open-sourced ontologies and crowd-sourced workers
The Future for Art Museum Folksonomies Curators need to determine how to utilize this new folksonomy alongside their own strict taxonomic vocabularies. Further explore how to engage people, keep them engaged and foster communities of users who share common interests (genealogists, hobbyists, art-enthusiasts). Use cyber communities to build real communities: research into creating this dynamic will be integrated into a museum’s approach to its public programming.
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