- The Minnesota Historical Society’s 2016 Digital Imaging for the Small Organization is a 25-page guide of best practice standards. The document covers the basics from defining technical terms, along with equipment needs, standard scanning and storing conventions and much more.
- The Pew Research Center has a huge set of data on all aspects of internet demographics. The site is very useful if you need to convince yourself or your governing authority that being digitally connected is indispensable for reaching all audiences today. Examples reports generated by Pew Research Center data include the Mobile Technology Factsheet including on emerging nations, a report on Social Media use Trends From 2002 – 2015, a study on the teenage social media use in 20015, and a report on the move to mobile messaging. Simply, the Pew Research Center should be your first stop to investigate research trends in internet use.
- Heather Mansfield’s Nonprofit Tech for Good, besides being a resource on fundraising, is an excellent guide to develop a comprehensive and cohesive social media plan. Mansfield’s approach, as exemplified in her book Social Media for Social Good, is to view different social media tools as separate components of an integrated whole. Her more recent book Mobile for Good: A How To Fundraising Guide for NonProfits offers planning strategies for institutions to assess their status and needs to develop plans for fundraising campaigns using social media outlets.
- PastPerfect is a collections management software tool used to keep track of a museum’s collection including digital images, associated records, and a full range of metadata. AASLH members receive a discount when purchasing.
- Guidelines for a Collection Development Policy using the Conspectus Model was published by the International Federation of Library Associations, 2015. The downloadable document is “. . . a brief guide on how to write a collection development policy, making use of the Conspectus methodology. . . The guide is intended to be of particular value to staff new to collection development and in areas where there is little written tradition of collection development.”
- Hootsuite Academy’s, The Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing offers six free courses that cover topics such as optimizing profiles, content strategy, growing an online community and more.
- The Best Time to Post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in 2016 is a useful guide for establishing institutional posting guidelines. Be aware that “Best Time” guidelines shift seasonally, through time, and by audience.
Website builders and hosting services abound, ranging from no-cost to a modest expense of about $150.00. You are well-served to fully investigate the options to determine your needs.
- A great place to start is with the book written by one of this volume’s contributors, Kelsey Ransick. Her recently published Free and Easy Website Design for Museums and Historic Sites is an excellent guide to the process of website construction, including a comparison of the major website builders available.
- Wix vs Weebly vs Squarespace: The Best Website Builder For 2016 by Todd Pettee is a visual introduction that compares three of the more popular website builders.
- WordPress is perhaps the largest and most diverse web hosting option. Wordpress hosts tutorials and guides for their many products. WordPress Get Started introduces the different options available. The Wordpress Blogging University has a rich set of tutorials and community networking links with a special set geared toward nonprofits.
Online Exhibits and Collection Presentations
- Omeka is used by several of our contributors for developing online exhibits. The Omeka Showcase links to several sample sites that use the platform. The Omeka website contains a strong set of documentation to guide creating online exhibits, including in educational settings .
- Omeka projects reported by the contributors to Positioning Your Museum as a Critical Community Asset include:
- Mukurtu “. . . is a grassroots project aiming to empower communities to manage, share, preserve, and exchange their digital heritage in culturally relevant and ethically minded ways. . . committed to maintaining an open, community-driven approach to Mukurtu’s continued development.”
Digital Planning & Trends
- The Digital Engagement Framework is a tool developed by Jim Richardson of Sumo and Jasper Visser of Inspired by Coffee to help organizations structure their thinking around digital engagement.
- Horizon Report, 2016 Museum Edition is a valuable guide published annually about strategic technology and identifies six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments in technology with a specific focus on museum settings.
- Journalist Resource hosts an extensive list of “copyright-free” images along with an introduction to Creative Commons licensing, public domain resources, and related tips and resources.
- Cuberis, a web development and graphic design firm with a museum focus, lists Seven Easy Ways to Bring Digital to Your Museum
- The National Digital Stewardship Alliance through the Library of Congress provides a set of resources on best practices in digital curation and preservation and hosts a blog.
- The City of Memory is a prime example of bringing what is typically referred to as user-generated content to the fore. All of the stories contained on the site are contributed by users who visit the site. While certainly a expensive operation to put together, a more cost-effective version of the same concept is within reach of the small to medium size museum. For example, consider the possibilities in using the Google Tour Builder or History Pin for a comparable type of project.
- First there was the Google Art Project that became the Google Arts and Culture where users are invited to curate content and develop their own tours and websites.
- Galleries Libraries and Museums (GLAM) in Wikipedia “. . . helps cultural institutions share their resources with the world through high-impact collaboration alongside experienced Wikipedia editors. It is an unparalleled opportunity for the custodians of our cultural heritage to present their collections to new audiences.”
- Google for Nonprofits “offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story.”
- The general link to the Library of Congress seems almost like a true no brainer, but if you have not been there, go now and witness what the digital age has brought in online resources.
- New Philadelphia, Illinois was ” . . . founded in 1836 by Free Frank McWorter, embraces the compelling stories of African-Americans and European Americans residing in a community founded by an exceptional figure during times of extreme racism.” The website is a digital presentation of archaeological, historical, and other research in a timely and effective manner for dispersion to all audiences.
Our Contributors Recommend
Free On-Line Articles
- Jaime Schumacher et al., 2014, “From Theory to Action: ‘Good Enough’ Digital Preservation Solutions for Under-Resourced Cultural Heritage Institutions” Huskie Commons.
- Peter, et al. 2009. Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for Digitization for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, Cornell University Library – a comprehensive guide for the legal end of digitizing and copyright.
- Koelling, Jill Marie. Digital Imaging: A Practical Approach by Jill Marie Koelling AltaMira Press, 2004 – Koelling’s book examines the process of digitization and explains the best practices for creating and maintaining digital files.
- Rowena Cullen, “Addressing the Digital Divide,” Online Information Review 25, no. 5 (2001): 311-320.
- Neil Selwyn, “Reconsidering Political and Popular Understandings of the Digital Divide,” New Media & Society 6, no. 3 (2004): 341-362
- John H. Falk and Lynn D. Dierking, “Re-envisioning Success in the Cultural Sector,” Cultural Trends 17, no. 4 (2008): 233-246.
- Padilla-Melendez, A. and A.R. Del Aguila-Obra, 2013, “Web and Social Media Usage by Museums: Online Value Creation.” International Journal of Information Management. 33 (5): 892-898.
The Kitchen Sink
- Writing for the Web – Great set of tips in writing best practices for web-based content.
- Top Ten Worst Websites You’ll Wish You Hadn’t Seen is just that – examples of some of the worst websites from a technical perspective.
- A description of the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set, Version 1.1. used by Omeka from Metadata Innovation, 1995–2015.
- Lucid Press for creating online graphic and digital presentations in a drag and drop format.
- The Internet Archive is ” . . . a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format.”
- Socialbrite’s “Social media glossary: The Top 100 words & phrases in the social media dictionary to decode all of those mysterious terms and abbreviations that you think you should know and are afraid to ask.
- What about copyright and the web? Here is a simple flowchart that summarizes copyright law.
- Chronicling America ” . . . is a Website providing access to information about historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages, and is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). NDNP, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC), is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages.”
- The Giza Archives hosted at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is an excellent example of the potential of the digital access in a topic area ranging from lay interest, to educational presentations to scholarly research.