Creating a winning online exhibition – a guide for libraries, archives and museums. 1) Intro

    • An online collection is different from an online exhibit 0 the exhibit has a theme and text tying everything together, a collection is just a database of digitized stuff.
    • Five types of exhibit techniques
  1. aesthetic – organized around the beauty of objects
  2. emotive – designed to illicit an emotion in the viewer
  3. evocative – designed to create an atmosphere
  4. didactic – constructed to teach about something specific
  5. entertaining – presented just for fun

2) The idea

    • The idea behind an exhibition is what will set it apart from a random collection of objects or, in the case of an online exhibition, images
    • General topics for exhibits
  1. anniversaries of births, deaths or significant events in peoples lives
  2. notable events in the life of an institution or region
  3. specific materials from certain collections
  4. themes built around materials in the collection
  5. treasures
  6. work done by departments
  7. odd and unusual
    • Be sure to flesh out your idea fully! If you do not have the materials or staff support then it may be wise to no do the exhibit.

3) Executing the exhibition idea

    • Focus on the key elements of the idea, the objects and the script that will transform the idea into an exhibition.
    • Online exhibition planning process
  1. preparation of exhibit proposal
  2. proposal evaluation
  3. selection of objects
  4. drafting of the script
  5. preparation of objects
  6. exhibition design and web creation
  7. final editing
  8. additions, changes, corrections
    • A key component of any exhibition program (gallery or web) is a clear and well-defined exhibition policy.
    • Exhibition policy – lay out the mission and goals of the exhibit program and allow staff to understand what is expected in an exhibition program and how it fits in the institutions mission. Explains how exhibits contribute to outreach, how proposals are evaluated and by who and outlines staff responsibilities, standards and general formats that should be used in the exhibit.
    • Outline of an exhibition policy
  1. purpose
  2. content
  3. standards
  4. authority and responsibility
    • Elements of an exhibition proposal
  1. title and theme
  2. purpose
  3. audience
  4. design
  5. maintenance
  6. staff
  7. budget
  8. timeline
  9. preliminary object list
    • Exhibit organization methods
  1. object oriented
  2. systematic
  3. thematic
  4. organization by material type
  5. organization by multiple schemes
    • Try to maintain a coherent organization.
    • Elements of an exhibit script
  1. narrative
  2. pull quotes
  3. object labels
  4. object captions
  5. statement of authorship or responsibility
  6. credits and acknowledgements
    • Basic information you must present for each object in an exhibit
  1. what it is
  2. where it is
  3. credit and copyright information

4) The staff

    • Staff members who should be involved in an online exhibit
  1. director
  2. curator
  3. designer
  4. technical staff
  5. conservator
  6. editor
  7. education consultant - they can make lesson plans or targeted reading lists for each age group.
  8. production staff
  9. other

5) Technical Issues - Digitizing

    • Save your scan as a TIF image first, and then make it into a first generation JPEG at the highest quality and same DPI.
    • For the web save your images at 72-75 DPI and as a high quality JPEG (level 7 in photo shop)
    • Full size image requirements for web pages
  1. portrait – 650 pixels on the top edge
  2. landscape – 1000 pixels on the top edge
    • Thumbnail size image requirements for web pages
  1. portrait – 150 pixels on top
  2. landscape – 250 pixels on top

6) Mark up languages

    • General discussion of XML and other markup languages

7) Programming, Scripting, Databases and Accessibility

    • Active serve pages (Microsoft ASP) cold fusion (allaire), FileMaker Pro and PHP allow you to utilize a database (like Access) and then, through a combination of HTML and other coding, connect the data in the database to generate on-the-fly web pages.
  • Accessibility
    • Take into consideration vision problems and color blindness. Samu Mielonen’s article “Color Blindness and Link Colors” is a good reference. Try to view your page through the Color Vision Simulator available from Visicheck before you launch it.
    • General principles for designing web pages
  1. use ALT tag for images to provide image descriptions
  2. provide text links for image maps and button/image links
  3. make text links meaningful – don’t use “click here”
    • Bobby is a tool from Josh Krieger of the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) that will look at your page and alert you to potential accessibility problems.

8) Design Design process

  1. problem analysis – what is the purpose and how will it be presented
  2. synthesis – after analysis, put all the pieces together and see what you get
  3. development – start experimenting on the web and save all of your versions
  4. revision
  5. finalization
    • Avoid horizontal scrolling and use a browser safe color palette.
    • Use style sheets!! They will manage your font style and size as well as screen size and other issues so that your information looks the same on all computers.
    • Use sans serif fonts (Helvetica) on your pages they are easier to read.
    • Use bold face sparingly to call attention to words. Try not to use italics because they are hard to read and DO NOT underline text, people will think it is a hyperlink.
    • Do not use too many hyperlinks.
    • Provide metadata access points for your web page so that browsers can find you in search engines.

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