Links for April 2013

Photo by Pete Prodoehl.

Easily the best thing I read over the past month was Megan Gardner’s article for The Atlantic, A Brief History of Applause, the ‘Big Data’ of the Ancient World. It’s all quite interesting stuff but the reframing of social sharing is very neatly done. Especially the last bit of this quote:

Mostly, though, we’ve used the affordances of the digital world to remake public praise. We link and like and share, our thumbs-ups and props washing like waves through our networks. Within the great arena of the Internet, we become part of the performance simply by participating in it, demonstrating our appreciation — and our approval — by amplifying, and extending, the show.

Arts / digital links

I just discovered Keir Winesmith’s blog. He leads the digital media department at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, which I visited a few weeks back. Very nice it was too. This post on building the MCA’s new website is good, as is this write-up from the recent Museums & Mobile online conference.

Speaking of mobile, a post from the V&A asks What do visitors say about using mobile devices in museums? and summarises a session looking at the findings of two visitor surveys on the use of mobile in cultural venues.

In yet more mobile news, ME : CA have written up some notes from their recent symposium – another event looking at mobiles and cultural experiences.

Michael Rushton is the latest Arts Journal blogger and he’ll be writing about “innovative pricing models around the world, both inside and outside the arts, debates on pricing practices, and current research”.

In blogathon news, Barry’s Blog did a five-part series on nonprofit arts research and data which I’m still working through. Also, Jake Orr’s rounded up some good commenters for a series of posts on the future of digital in the arts.

A statement of intent from the Digital Curator at The New York Public Library who says “I have specifically made it my mission to:

  • make as much of our collection available online as copyright law, professional ethics, and our budget permits
  • provide both contextual information and software tools to make our digital collections as useful as possible
  • improve methods for preserving and providing access to the born digital materials (word processor files, digital musical scores, 3d set designs, etc.) that are now part of the creative history of most contemporary works of art”

On to the quickfire round:

  • Museums Showoff is “an open mic night featuring curators, conservators, librarians, collectors, Museum Studies students, archaeologists, social historians, educators, multimedia developers, explainers, visitors, theorists and everyone else associated with museums and library special collections”.
  • CalArts Joins the Free Online Course Experiment. That’s the California Institute of the Arts teaming up with Coursera
  • The British Library have launched labsbl and are looking for transformative research ideas, wanting to create new narratives from their vast digital collections.
  • ‘The Thing’ Redialed: how a BBS changed the art world and came back from the dead | The Verge – Recovering an arts focused bulletin board
  • ArtistShare is a platform that “connects creative artists with fans in order to share the creative process and fund the creation of new artistic works”.

Other links

Since reading How I became a password cracker, I now firmly believe that basic password cracking should be on the national curriculum.

I was really taken with Magazine Você from Brazil. Customers can set up their own stores on Facebook or Orkut and collect a commission on each item they sell. I can’t find the link now, but I noted down something saying that over 40,000 customers were taking part, with conversion rates far higher than on the main Magazine Luiza online store.

For all the Spanish speakers out there, Olemiarte es una red de arte, un lugar de encuentro y una oportunidad de brillar, mostrar tus trabajos y relacionarte, reencontrarte con el mundo artístico en sus múltiples manifestaciones.

Blueprint Search Analytics and Diagnostics was a new one on me and could be handy.

Trust Hide & Seek to come up with some interesting Kickstarter rewards.

I like this kind of thing – Vanity Fair are doing a series of interviews with people showing which mobile apps they use.

Apps, services, etc


The National Center for Arts Research held a panel discussion about Using Data to Foster Thriving Arts Organizations. There are some good fundamentals in there but I liked the starter question for attendees – what questions do you have about your organization’s practices that you think data could help you solve?

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.