Museum Mashups

termitemound.jpgToday I’m conducting two half-day workshops at the Museums and the Web Conference in San Francisco. This blog post contains the workshop description and the course materials for Museum Mashups, there’s another post for Real Science 2.0: Interacting with Scientific Imagery and Live Data.

The image on left is a termite “catherdral” mound, an example of the theory of emergence in nature. I decided to use this image after rading Alex Iskold’s article on Yahoo! Pipes, where he talks about emergence (part of complexity theory) and its relation to Web 2.0.

Workshop Description
Perhaps more than any other approach or Web technology, mashups exemplify “Web 2.0.” These unique web applications draw on content from more that one source to create something new. With hundreds of open APIs (Application Programming Interface) to choose from, over 1000 mashups have been created in just the past two years. Google maps, Flickr photos, and many other data sources and services are now available to designers and developers.

Unfortunately, few museums have explored the promise that mashups present. While some of the APIs are commercial in nature, many are relevant to the museum world and could be used to create compelling interactive experiences for museum visitors. Mashups have the potential to allow visitors to access archives, collections, and scientific data in innovative and exciting ways.

As museums slowly begin to explore other Web 2.0 technologies such as blogging and social networking applications, the potential for tapping into these communities with mashups increases. Our visitors are already using mashups and many of the core technologies that open APIs are making accessible.

This half-day workshop will explore the technical and design aspects of mashups. We’ll look at some of the examples that are out there and discuss the technology behind them. We’ll explore some of the more popular open APIs and talk about the possibilities they present.

Finally, we’ll explore the design issues surrounding these unique web applications. Due to the complex nature of mashups and the fact that many are produced solely by programmers, usability and visitor experience is often compromised. We’ll look at what is emerging as “best practices” in the development on mashups with a focus on design. Through a rapid design exercise we’ll take a look at the conceptual, information, and visual design aspects of mashups.

Bookmarks (for this workshop and RealScience 2.0):

The Presentation (The activity is not included):
museummashups-2007.pdf (800K)

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