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Ways to Tap the Wisdom of Crowds

Page history last edited by sherriw@thincdesign.com 13 years, 8 months ago



Museums are looking for successful ways to engage new audiences and create communities of interest, on the internet and through mobile technologies. Crowd sourced projects are one means to accomplish these goals and there are many inspiring, useful and playful projects out there.


We’re proposing an unconference session that looks at a handful of successful examples to see how they are relevant to museums, and challenges the group to come up with other creative, productive approaches that are inherent to the strengths of their institutions.

We plan to review several types of crowd sourced projects, such as those in which people:

- create a unique artwork, photo or piece of writing to contribute to a single larger whole:
      o http://medialab-prado.es/article/riverrun_obra_online_colectiva_y_colabo...
      o http://www.aaronkoblin.com/work.html (Johnny Cash project)

      o http://www.exquisiteclock.org/clock/index.php?live=1&tag=random (as seen at the V&A in Decode: Digital Design exhibition)

- collectively re-use materials, for example: Natalie Jeremijenko’s feral robot dog project where she teaches people in workshops to hack disposed-of robot pets and  turn them into environmental toxin sniffers, where they then create toxin maps of their local environments: http://www.nyu.edu/projects/xdesign/feralrobots/

- participate in games that inspire behavior in the real world: http://www.urgentevoke.com/

- contribute skills, expertise and time, as in the The Extraordinaries: http://www.theextraordinaries.org/, which some museums are using to collect information on their images; or http://expertlabs.org/

- contribute to citizen science projects like searching for extra-terrestrial intelligence, http://www.seti.org/Page.aspx?pid=1366, or helping scientists identify solar storms, http://solarstormwatch.com/ and the backyard bird mapping project: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/news/yardmap_survey

- actively collect data for public use, http://noisetube.net/ and http://traffic.berkeley.edu/

- use public data to create useful maps and tools, as in the NYC Big Apps competition http://www.nycbigapps.com/ and SF’s http://www.DataSf.org

- interact with curatorial staff and other experts, like the Click exhibit, http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/click/ which could have been used create a dialogue about what makes a photograph "art" or how expertise brings something worthwhile to the table etc.


as well as projects aimed at different audiences:

- kids
- grown ups
- families
- young adults
- individuals vs. groups


As a result of the conversation on mining the wisdom of the crowd, we could also do just that within our own community. We could consider setting up a crowdsourced research/resource project where people could contribute recommendations of successful projects or ideas for projects!



Session Info

  • Type: Unconference session
  • Keywords: crowdsourcing, community, creativity, social networking, user generated content
  • Relevance: Curators, Digital Media or Interpretive Technology staff, Marketing & PR. The relevance lies in the concept of crowd sourced projects to help museums build community, be places or provide content that people use, not just visit (to borrow a term from Nina Simon!)


Presenter Bios

Robin White Owen, Principal, MediaCombo

Robin has been a content developer and producer of multi-media projects for museums for many years. She is accustomed to thinking about the visitor experience on site, off site, and online, and has recently developed expertise in the design of art, science and history museum content for a truly satisfying user experience on mobile platforms.  She writes the MediaCombo blog about museums, mobile development and web 2.0 technology, and consults with clients on how to use social media to engage new audiences on the web and on site.

Her work for a broad spectrum of internationally known clients includes projects for The Shelburne Museum, The Jewish Museum, American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA), UBS, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Museum of Science in Boston, Urban Institute, American Federation of Arts (AFA), and the Liberty Science Center (LSC). Prior to forming MediaCombo, she was a principal at Owen Electric Pictures for ten years, and before that, a media consultant to The Jewish Museum, the National Alliance of Media Art Centers, and the NEA. (email: robin at mediacombo dot net)


Sherri Wasserman, Strategist, Thinc Design

Wasserman is Strategist for Thinc Design - a multifaceted, interdisciplinary design firm with extensive experience in the design of interactive museum exhibitions, aquariums, zoo exhibitions, and public space installations. In roles ranging from conception to management - and with particular eye to the seamless design of media-rich experiences, Wasserman has worked on projects for the National September 11 Memorial Museum, Gapminder Foundation, Connecticut Science Center, Maritime Aquarium, Johnson & Johnson, American Folk Art Museum, New York Hall of Science, and Miami Science Museum.


Prior to joining Thinc, Wasserman worked for famed photographer Bruce Weber as a curator, publisher, archivist, and registrar for dozens of exhibitions and publications. Her familiarity with museum-based programming is rooted in three years that she spent with the Allen Memorial Art Museum, of Oberlin, Ohio, developing and teaching arts workshops for children. Her experience also includes stints in urban planning, film production, freelance design, archives, and fine arts. She received a BA in History and Art History/Studio Art from Oberlin College and a Masters degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU. (email: sherriw at thincdesign dot com)


Comments (1)

David Klevan said

at 9:58 am on Oct 26, 2010

Love the backyard birding project. It raises important questions and some answers about the emerging role of mobile tech in citizen crowd sourcing of content. We've begun some discussions about this potential at the Holocaust Museum. Of course, the usual issues of authenticity, authority and accuracy, and historical sources vs created content need to be hashed out. If interested, I'd be happy to delve a little deeper into our concept of "citizen history" and the Children of the Lodz Ghetto moderated crowd-sourcing project.

Finally, if anyone is planning to attend the DML conference in March and wants to form a panel on this topic, let me know!

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