For the last six months we’ve been working on an NSF-sponsored project called ExhibitFiles. It’s a three-year project and our mission is to “create the infrastructure for an active online community of informal science exhibit practitioners, including shared records of exhibition descriptions as a core feature.”
Wendy Pollock from Association of Science-Technology Centers is the principal investigator and Kathy McLean from Independent Exhibitions is a co-PI. Ideum’s role is help design, and build the site which will launch this winter. We’re building it in Ruby on Rails.
For now, we’ve created a development blog for the project partners to post evaluation and design documents and to solicit feedback from our core contributors and others in the field. It just went up yesterday but we’ve already posted a few things that might be of interest. The Welcome message describes the ExhibitFiles project in more depth, a User Needs Assessment Summary provides information about the potential users of the site, and our own Competitive Analysis document explores some of the potential features of the ExhibitFiles website.
There’s a great quote that was used in the original proposal and has helped guide our thinking…
“Learning is least useful when it is private and hidden; it is most powerful when it becomes public and communal. Learning flourishes when we take what we think we know and offer it as community property among fellow learners so that it can be tested, examined, challenged, and improved…”
— Lee S. Shulman