“Perfect is the enemy of good” (Voltaire).
An early alpha version of our new ‘collection online‘ is now live.
I say ‘alpha version’ because all this version is trying to do is replace the previous standard eMuseum collection viewer that used to be on the website. I also say ‘alpha’ because it is full of ‘known issues’ both in design and content. I say ‘alpha’ a third time because before you know it, there will be a beta which will introduce new features and fix some of the most glaring problems.
But a public alpha release is important.
In a sector that is allergic to the idea of a ‘minimum viable product‘, a public alpha makes a lot of sense. It especially makes sense for a ‘design’ museum that preaches/teaches the ‘design process’. Early testing with real users will help us select which features to prioritise, and also which of our existing issues matter most. And we’ll find that the users we expected probably won’t be the only ones who come and visit.
Admittedly our museum is a little different.
On the back of two, far too short, years of transformation under the leadership of designer Bill Moggridge, we are in a position that many other institutions are not. We are trying to be more agile with our processes, more experimental with our products, and more promiscuous with our content.
We don’t have the choice not to be.
The world of design is changing – and that is the world we are documenting, collecting and ruminating about as an institution. And it is not just the world of design, but the world itself.
We need to not just be ‘on the web’ but we need to be ‘of the web’. And this is most important for our collection.
So what’s in the alpha release?
– access to just over 123,000 objects
– navigation by various metadata elements
– persistent URLs for everything including people
– people ‘concordances’ with the holdings of other institutions and online sources!
– random object mode!
Aaron Cope and Micah Walter will each be exploring these in much more detail in their own blog posts over the next week. Aaron’s also released some new bits and pieces related to our collection on our GitHub repository.
But right now, go and have an explore.
“This is our stuff, we have lots of it” – love it. And the people pages – I’m excited about the people pages. VERY EXCITED. Congrats on the alpha alpha alpha launch!
“more promiscuous with our content”.. Love it.. Get It our there 🙂
Very interesting and i really enjoy the exploration.
Just one thing :
“Perfect is the enemy of good” (Voltaire).
“Le mieux est le mortel ennemi du bien.”
Montesquieu (Pensées n°1007, XIII)
~”Better is the mortal ennemy of good.”
Sentence which was struck.
Congrats! The feel of being part of the web, instead of separate from shines through.
Since this is an alpha, time to pass along some comments here (I don’t see a specific place for feedback on the site). Some of these are my observations, some are from others viewing over my shoulder.
– “The map is really bright. Its the first thing my eye is drawn to” (on http://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18804363/ )
– random rules
– I assume “Who’s on first” is a placeholder for the pieces missing titles?
– Can’t wait to see people tagging stuff. I wonder what happens when artists whose medium is the internet tags things as part of a piece…
Congrats again Seb and team. I am also excited by this for so many reasons – and particularly the reach towards a web where, as Charles Eames put it:
“Eventually everything connects—people, ideas, objects… the quality of the connections is the key to quality per se…”
Or as you put Charles Eames: http://collection.cooperhewitt.org/people/18044269/ , http://collection.cooperhewitt.org/people/18044269/objects/ , http://collection.cooperhewitt.org/people/18044269/ideas/
Looking forward to reading the upcoming posts. Would you/Aaron/Micah be able to talk a bit more about the “Don’t / steal our pictures” (mainly in the sense of promiscuity, but also are there plans to interface more seamlessly with Art Resource)?
We’ll get better with the pictures in the Beta and beyond . . . .
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Hiya Folks– I just came from tripping across what looks like an exciting new resource. I had googled a poster, and found an excellent copy on your site. But that’s when I became completely baffled. I tried searching by a number of the options you provide, but ended up each time with endless unillustrated lists of works where no artist is named! Shall I just assume that these are just unworked-out-yet bugs, or something I’m just personally clueless about?
@google-cfbb7bae7d4266abdad6e9e0f17bd22e:disqus these are the result of there not being any detailed catalogue information on those objects, and often no digitised image (yet). These are the bugs, so to speak, of content that are hugely challenging to all museums. These were previously ‘hidden’ by simply not showing anything – but of course, if they aren’t shown on the network then they don’t exist.
What is happening behind the scenes here is the clean up of all of this data on one hand, and on the other, the working up of different user interface models so that when there is no information the site ‘degrades gracefully’.
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