How to Ride the Digital Wave: a Collaboration Between Museums and The Danish Broadcasting Corporation


Lars Ulrich Tarp Hansen, Denmark, Tobias Golodnoff, Denmark, Ivan Dehn, Denmark, Miriam Lerkenfeld, Denmark

Abstract

How can small-scale museums with limited resources ride the digital wave? By creating a collaboration between a group of museums and the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. When public cultural institutions share skills, content and technology significant value is being created.

In this paper the steps of the collaboration are explained, including the development of a series of smartphone apps for small and medium-sized museums and a shared domain, where all involved digital objects are search- and shareable. DR's strategy for the development of an open sourced “back-end” platform CHAOS: \ _ (Cultural Heritage Archive Open System), which serves as the backbone in DRs wish for flexible use of digital content from the heritage partners, is introduced. The creation of new content using methods from journalism, and not traditional museum communication, is described. And finally key learnings from the project are explored as identified in this phase of the project with two of the eleven future smartphone apps launched. The project shows that the smaller museums involved have come much farther than larger institutions can come alone. Together, it is possible to save money, develop the institutions, gain valuable knowledge and insight on how users want to explore valuable heritage content, and create new formats and platforms.

Keywords: use, value, skills development, content, technology, open source. sustainable data,

1. Introduction

Digitization, distribution and access have become one of the focus areas in the cultural sector in Denmark. It has brought new and earlier unimaginable possibilities to cultural institutions on how to reach many existing and new users. The potential offered by the technological revolution is indisputable, but it is also creating new institutional demand for different competences, collaborations, new strategies and products.

Denmark has a highly developed public cultural sector, where a large part of a country’s cultural memory is saved as collections. These collections reside in museums, libraries, with broadcasters and in archives, and many of these collections are currently being digitized. The digitization process often consists of both digitization of the object – being a picture, painting, document or AV material – and digitization of the metadata and object descriptions related to the object.

Before digitization became an option, the objects or the content was either “locked” away in the basements of the institutions or was impossible to see or use due to physical challenges. But with digitization, physical structures and challenges have to a large extent become obsolete. With the Internet as distribution platform, the objects and/or collections inherit new and still unexplored potential. New synergies can be found, metadata can be shared and better understanding of Danish history and development can be established and/or realized.

From 2005-2009, how digitization and better access could create more national value from cultural institutions was heavily debated in the Danish cultural sector. Three main areas were primarily mentioned in the debate: digitization, access and copyrights. The overall goal of digitization is a combination of preservation and valorisation, the focus being on how cultural institutions, through collaboration, can access the needed knowledge, develop their internal competences and share the cost of product development and the underlying IT-infrastructure.

The Danish broadcast Corporation (DR) re-launched a collaboration project in 2011 with a focus on trying to collaborate and create knowledge on new use and access to national digital cultural heritage. The project revolves around the collaboration, Danish Cultural Heritage. Around the same time as the establishment of Danish Cultural Heritage, KulturarvNord (HeritageNorth), a consortium of Northern museums, launched their project on mobile apps development. It was obvious that the projects could benefit from each other. Given that, the different players started to collaborate, and through this collaboration they have released two out of eleven planned heritage smartphone apps.

The original vision of both Danish politicians and the Danish cultural sector in the twenty-first century is that large collections should be saved and preserved by national and private institutions and organizations. However, the new focus is that collections should be used more extensively, and through this use create much more value for the public, institutions, and organizations as well as the government. This vision resulted in DR being given the task to facilitate and explore the valorisation process of “opening” the retro-digitised archives to the public and using new technologies to create access and use.

Key partners within the collaboration

KulturarvNord

KulturarvNord was established in 2008 and is the framework for a strategic collaboration between 10 art and cultural-historical museums in the Northern part of Denmark. The basis of the collaboration is to improve the museums’ possibilities to utilize their professional and experience-orientated potential, and make it easier to establish cross-disciplinary interpretation projects for the pleasure of the guests. Furthermore, the goal is to build and sustain expertise in areas where museums traditionally are too weak, e.g. regarding IT.

In 2011, four of the museums in KulturarvNord – two cultural-historical and two art historical – joined forces to create a shared smartphone app. Common for all four museums was that they previously have been involved in various digital interpretation projects. A high level of ambition and great content characterized the previous projects; however, the content was often tied to one single context or platform. It could be an audio clip that described a landscape and was accessible by calling a phone number, when at the location. It could be an extensive website. Or it could be a touchscreen interpreting the content in the physical museum. The projects served well in the context they were created for, but they were not generic or built on open source technology, which lead to missing cross-media applications of the content and high financial costs, making the projects expensive for other museums to establish and run. Furthermore, the experience was – even though the opposite had been the intention – that relatively a lot of money had been spent on consultancy and technical development, rather than on production of content.

Therefore with this new project, the museums did not only want to create a new app. The goal was to create a platform, which could distribute the content to all the platforms that the audience used when in contact with the museums. This means not just distribution of content to the institutions’ own platforms, such as apps, infoscreens and websites, but also to portals such as Flickr and Instragram and within cross-institutional collaborations. The museums also have this opportunity today, but it requires a lot of resources to be present on several platforms – and smaller museums do not have these resources.

The four museums were similar in their experiences with digital projects, but they were also characterised by some differences. The museums had widely different requirements for interpretation. Some museums would primarily use the app for interpretation in the physical space of the museum. Others needed to provide interpretation in the open landscape, and others had the need to create a relationship between the physical museum space and the open landscape. Thus, regardless of whether there was talk about an art historical or cultural-historical museum, there was a common need for interpreting an object or a topic. This object or topic can, for example, be described through text, audio, video and/or a gps-position. There could also be a need to create a relationship between an object/topic and other objects/topics. The similarities and differences among the museums in the project group had to ensure that the developed solutions could be used by other museums. In the first instance, they had to be used by the six other museums in KulturarvNord, as the core of the collaboration was: “Get museums to collaborate on the development of a project, which other museums can benefit from.” The advantage of a small project group is that the decision-making process is faster. The business model was: “Be small, think big, move fast.” It has proven to be a strategically wise decision, as even small projects can entail extensive project work.

DR’s Cultural Heritage Project

DR is the only fully funded public broadcast company in Denmark. It is funded through a national license fee, and has a yearly budget on roughly 450.000 million euro. Today DR runs six national TV channels, ten radio channels and the largest content website in Denmark on www.dr.dk. During a week an average of 98 % of all Danes are using one or more of DRs products or services.

DRs archives consist of radio and television materials saved on various formats since DR first began broadcasting radio in 1925 and television in 1951. Today the archive is estimated to hold 520,000 hours of archived TV and radio productions stored on about 35 kilometres of shelf space at DR’s facilities. The collection that needs to be retro-digitized is made up by materials saved before DR initiated full digital production in 2005, where all DRs departments in the Copenhagen area were moved to the new headquarters: DR city. The collections only hold a part of DR’s earlier programs and productions, because heritage archiving has never been a part of the objectives for the broadcaster. The most complete collection is the “news archive”, where all the broadcasted features have been saved, and where DR furthermore has saved all the shows from the mid-eighties.

In 2007 DR received a special grant from the state as part of the national Media Agreement and DR’s Public Service Contract with the Ministry of Culture. The special grant was for 75 million Danish Kroner or roughly 10 million euros. The primary focus of the grant is to digitize the DR’s audio-visual archive containing programmes, and the secondary focus is the valorisation of new digital cultural heritage. In order to secure these tasks, DR created DRs Cultural Heritage Project, which has these two key tasks as its sole priority.

Since the special grant was given in 2007, DR has managed to digitize more than 70 % of its archive. The Projection is that DR will digitize more than 80 % by the end of 2014, where the special grant will be used up.

2. The technological development of danskkulturarv.dk

DR’s Cultural Heritage Projects has tried to explore the relationship between use and value, discovering that use can be seen as a function including both digitization and accessibility. In this regard, Digitization is regarded as an umbrella term that covers both the digitalization of the object, its future format and the technology and platforms involved. Accessibility is considered a term that includes the level of metadata assigned to an object and the Intellectual Property Rights of the object. Together these elements define and control whether an object is usable and shareable, and its ability to generate value. This relationship is illustrated in the function: USE=VALUE

Digitising content makes it more accessible. The goal is to digitise and create access and by this creating value.

Fig. 1. Digitising content makes it more accessible. The goal is to digitise and create access and by this creating value.

One of the most identified challenges in the national collections is the lack of metadata. This has led to the exploration of several ways of creating new and sufficient metadata. These ways can be sorted in three types of metadata enrichment:

  • Collaborations with institutions or organizations that can deliver new metadata or contextualization that enrich metadata and/or digital objects. An example of this is several collaborators’ need for access and use of other institutions’ digital objects. These objects are often both enriched and activated in new products and services.
  • Technical projects, where new metadata can be generated through technical services or procedures or users – without, or almost without, interference. DR’s Cultural Heritage Project is currently a partner in a couple of other large research projects where a number of universities and their researches are developing algorithm and services that, for instance, will be able to identify a person in programs through voice recognition.
  • Crowdsourced enrichment, via users who either through use and input or sharing create more use and better usability and access. This type of metadata is created through synergies and visibility made by establishing a large online collection with materials from a vide range of collaborators, and also through specific projects focused on motivating the users to participate and enrich the content and collections.

In order to facilitate access and all these enrichment types, a shared front-end, www.danskkulturarv.dk, and a back-end, CHAOS, have been created. Danskkulturarv.dk is an online shared exhibition space for all the involved partners. This website now allows users to search the largest cross-institutional collection in Denmark. The collection currently holds more than 50,000 objects and is growing rapidly. Content comes from all the largest and some smaller national cultural institutions. The collaboration now counts more than 14 institutions and covers collections within the field of AV-materials, photos, books, documents, paintings and other artefacts. For institutions to become a member, they only need a digital collection of which they have rights to and want to share. For more information see http://danskkulturarv.dk/english

The Media Management System CHAOS: \

CHAOS: \ _ is an open source collaboration to lower the costs of disseminating cultural heritage to the Danes on the Internet. The project has developed the necessary technologies for archiving, searching and presenting media content. The foundation of the cooperation is a strategy securing better interoperability among content collections from various partners, and a need for sharing the development costs of a strong and flexible platform. The community has been established by DR’s Heritage Project, together with a number of institutions and organizations from both the public and private cultural sector.

The core technologies in CHAOS: \ _ are:

  • Media assets management with handling of flexible metadata (MCM)
  • Solr indexed search (Apache Solr)
  • Digital rights management (authentication)
  • Media Player for video, audio, pictures and documents
  • Open Archive Initiative – Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH)

CHAOS: \ _ serves as the technical platform where the content from the partners is aggregated and organized. This makes it easily accessible on both the shared domain Danskkulturarv.dk and as part of any other service or product needed by the partners, as for instance KUNSTEN’s smartphone app.

The content is being handled in the system CHAOS: \ _  - you control the content iin your own "sub-CHAOS: \ _  ", and decide who you want to share it with and where you want to share it.

Fig. 2. The content is being handled in the system CHAOS: \ _ – you control the content iin your own “sub-CHAOS: \ _ “, and decide who you want to share it with and where you want to share it.

The CHAOS: \ _ technology will continue to be developed through partners’ and projects’ various needs. You can read more about CHAOS: \ _  at chaos-community.org.

The Partners Working Together

The collaboration between DR and KulturarvNord was established in 2011. One of the museums, KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art Aalborg, came in contact with DR’s Cultural Heritage Project via another project, and they spotted straight-away that CHAOS: \ _ was the exact technology needed for the project. Moreover, DR and the museums shared the same ideology and vision regarding sustainable IT-solutions and openness in order to create synergy in favour of the users.

The distribution of roles in the collaboration was established with the museums being the ones defining requirements for the apps and technology. DR was the technological development partner, and originally there was not talk of an exchange of content from DRs database. The technology that had to be developed in connection with the project was open source, and all partners could use it freely.

A written co-operation agreement was not made, but a gentlemen’s agreement was entered into, which gave room for development during the process.

The museums got funding from the Danish Agency for Culture, Den Regionale Kulturaftale, The North Denmark Region and EU’s Vækstforumsmidler. In total DKK 1.5 million (about 200,000 euros) were raised. Additionally the museums and DR have invested a great deal of working hours in the project.

3. The interpretation strategy of the app

The next step was to determine a intepretation strategy that could function as basis for navigation, structure and content in the app.

Fundamentally the app had to meet the needs of the audience when they visited the museum or travelled in a historic landscape. It should function as an advanced audio guide that benefitted from the smartphones’ possibilities to play audio, video, show pictures, hyper-textual navigation, GPS-positioning etc.

In other words, the app should not compete with something else in the context of use. This could be, e.g., when the users stood in front of a work of art and required more information, or they were in the open landscape and wanted information about the story of this exact location. Conversely, this meant that it was not expected that the users would use the app at home, where it would compete with so many other media (TV, Facebook, YouTube etc.).

A basic part of the navigation in the app is to address both those who know what they are searching for, and those who do not know what they are searching for. It was inspired by the MW2010 workshop, “Building and Evaluating Collection Dashboards” (Adamczyk, Twidale, Urban). This means that if the user knows the name of a certain artist or work of art, then information about it has to be easily accessible. But there have to be other entry points to the information as well, such as thematic leads or views of museum objects on a map or timeline.

Another foundation for the app is Morris, Hargreaves and McIntyre’s (2005) classification of the museum audience as:

  1. Browsers: those who want quick information about museum objects that captures their interest.
  2. Followers: those who want to see connections among museum objects.
  3. Searchers: those who want e.g. to explore an artist in depth.
  4. Researchers: those who read books, attend talks and want to know everything about a certain artist.

The aim is to give the museum audience tools to develop oneself from a browser into a follower – and then to a searcher and researcher. Fundamentally we wanted to make the audience more interested in the museum and its collection.

Finally, it was not expected that the app by itself could convince an audience that does not normally go to museums. Morris, Hargreaves and McIntyre (2005) considers:

  1. Attenders: frequent museum users.
  2. Intenders: view themselves as museum users, but rarely visit the museum.
  3. Open to persuasion: do not view themselves as museum users, but can be pursued.
  4. Resisters: view museums as uninteresting.
  5. Rejectors: opponents of museums.

To attract people from the two last groups calls for a project that to a large extent has the character of social inclusion. The app will not be enough here. On the other hand, it is believed that the app could offer tools that made the field of the museum more accessible.

Pre-pilot

The initial idea was to create a single joint app functioning as the gateway to the cultural heritage of Northern Jutland. By downloading the app, the users could get all the information they needed, regardless of their being at the physical museum or in the open landscape. The inspiration was Yelp and similar apps that help people with information based on their interests and physical location.

It quickly became clear that this would be a too large task organizationally and practically. It would confuse users to navigate through so much diverse material. Instead, it was decided to develop an app for each museum and a shared app that could link to the individual museums’ app. The shared app could also be used in the joint marketing of the project, and thereby make the different museums visible to the users. That several apps were created did not change the basic idea that the project should be built on open data and open-source, where generic app-modules are created so that several museums can use them in their interpretation solutions.

4. Modules in the app

The project has developed a number of different modules that the museums can choose among. The choice depends on the museum’s specific need for interpretation. If it is interpretation in the open landscape, then there is need for a map-function. Does the user have to scan a QR-code? Does the museum need to present cultural history on a timeline? The flexible system means that museums get a customized app built on general functions. Each museum decides in cooperation with the technical developers which modules shall be used, and where in the app they shall be placed. The museum cannot later on change the navigation structure without help from a programmer. The content is pulled directly from CHAOS: \ _, and the museum can constantly add and change the content and create new relations.

FRONT PAGE

Common for all the apps is that the front page, consisting of four navigation options in the middle of the screen. At the bottom there is a number of shortcuts that can be found on all pages in the app. At the top on the front page there is an introduction video that introduces the app and the museum. All of the structure and navigation of the app is determined in cooperation between the museum and the developers.

Front page menu. Guided Tours (danish: Guidede ture). Explore the Collection (Søg i kunsten). Special exhibitions (Særudstillinger). About (Om museet)

Fig. 3. Front page menu. Guided Tours (danish: Guidede ture). Explore the Collection (Søg i kunsten). Special exhibitions (Særudstillinger). About (Om museet)

Fig. 4. Menu Guided tours (danish: Guidede ture) with collections of audio or video files.

Fig. 4. Menu Guided tours (danish: Guidede ture) with collections of audio or video files.

Guided tours (Danish Guidede ture)

Here the audience finds collections of audio or video files. In this case it is introductions to KUNSTENs architecture and the art collection. Moreover, the museum lets the collection talk with different voices, and the museum has therefore asked a number of personalities, such as film directors, detectives, artists etc. to talk about selected works of art from the museum’s collection. “Guided tours” is aimed at the audience that wants to get a quick introduction to a topic, an alternative approach to the collection, or needs help to start exploring the collection.

If the audience wants more information about a work of art when they have heard an audio file, they can click on a link that leads them on to the artist’s page under “Explore the collection” (Danish Søg I kunsten).

Explore the collection (Danish: Søg i kunsten)

In KUNSTEN’s case, works of art, artists and a number of themes from the collection are described. Other museums can describe other object types or people. The three entry points to the collection are chosen at the top. The overview is presented like a list.

“Explore the collection” will typically be used by people who either want to browse through the works of art or who are looking for a specific work of art or artist. Further, one can search through a traditional search field in the top right corner.

A page of works of art can consist of:

  • An audio or video clip. The clip can also be attached to “Guided tours”, which is described above.
  • Text that describes the work of art.
  • Text that describes the artist. The same description can be found in connection with all the works of art by the artist in question.
  • Themes. These are broadly defined and cover periods and art-related “isms” and more abstract topics such as “body”, “love”, “myth” etc.
  • Work of art detail. This covers measurements, technique and ownership.

The works of art are connected to one another in hyper-textual grid. There are no dead-ends. The user can always continue to related information that can put the collection in a new context. It can be other works of art by the same artist, works of art by other artists from the same period or within the same theme.

Regarding the app’s interpretation strategy, the wish is to turn browsers into followers through the use of a hyper-structure that gives the users possibility to be immersed in the content and spend more time on the app than they had expected.

Fig. 5. Explore the collection. (Danish: Søg i kunsten). Filter: Works (værker), Artist (kunstner) or Theme (tema)

Fig. 5. Explore the collection. (Danish: Søg i kunsten). Filter: Works (værker), Artist (kunstner) or Theme (tema)

Fig. 6. A page for a work of art. The user can select an audioguide, text about the art work (danish: Værket), about the artist (danish: kunstneren), related themes (danish: temaer) or details (danish: værkdetaljer).

Fig. 6. A page for a work of art. The user can select an audioguide, text about the art work (danish: Værket), about the artist (danish: kunstneren), related themes (danish: temaer) or details (danish: værkdetaljer).

 

Special exhibitions (Danish: Særudstillinger)

Some museums often change special exhibitions, and there is therefore need for a flexible app structure that easily can be updated. Under this page of the app, the museums can create a special exhibition with related texts and audio guides.

About the museum (Danish: Om museet)

Here practical information about the museum can be found, e.g. opening hours, entrance prices and directions.

Fig. 6. Menu for the special exhibitions (Danish: Særudstillinger)

Fig. 7. Menu for the special exhibitions (Danish: Særudstillinger)

Fig. 7. QR-scanner

Fig. 8. QR-scanner

QR-scanner/Enter code (Danish: QR-scanner/Indtast kode)

At the museum or in the landscape a QR-code is placed e.g. near a work of art or object. By scanning the QR-code with the app’s incorporated QR-scanner, the audience is led on to information about the work of art. In this way the user avoids searching for the work of art in the app. If the user has not yet installed the app on their smartphone, they are instead led to the app store, where the app can be downloaded.

If the museum does not want QR-codes, there is instead an option for the audience to enter a number code.

Fig. 8. Search by number instead of QR-codes

Fig. 9. Search by number instead of QR-codes

Fig. 9. Map function. Based on OpenStreetMaps. Choose between your favourites (danish: favoritter) og predefined routes (Danish: ruter)

Fig. 10. Map function. Based on OpenStreetMaps. Choose between your favourites (danish: favoritter) or predefined routes (Danish: ruter)

Favourites (Danish: Favoritter)

Here the user can rediscover those works of art that the person has marked as favourites under “Explore the art.” The users can thereby create a collection of works of art which they later can return to.

Map function (Danish: Kortfunktion)

The map shows the object’s geographical attachment. It could be, for example, a landscape painting or a building. “Favourites” (Danish: Favoritter) or “Routes” (Danish: Ruter) can be chosen at the top. “Favourites” are those works of art that the user has marked under “Search the art” (Danish: Søg i kunsten). “Routes” is defined by the museum and can be e.g. a collection of works of art by a certain artist. The works of art are shown as points on the map in the middle. There is a coverflow at the bottom of part of the screen where the works of art are represented. If the user clicks on a pin on the map, the relevant work of art is highlighted in the coverflow. Vice versa, the pin on the map is highlighted if you click on a thumbnail in the coverflow. By clicking twice on the thumbnail the user is led back to the description of the work of art, as it is seen under “Search the collection.”

Timeline (Danish: Tidslinie)

The last option to present the content in the app is through a timeline. The previous modules have presented the content as a list or on a map. The content of the timeline can also be found under “Explore the collection.” On the timeline there will, as in “Guided tours” and “Routes” on the map, be a selected collection of objects. This creates a better overview of the extensive content presented in “Explore the collection.”

5. Production of content

Throughout the years, museums have produced a great deal of interpretive content. All this is often tied to a single media or a single platform. This can be content for a website, for touchscreens in the exhibition area or sound for audio guides. But it can also be “analogue” text that is used on signs, in brochures, books and other publications. A lot of this content works best of the platform it is created for. Text from a book, for example, does not work well in an app, which has to communicate short and precise content. Meanwhile, several texts will work just as well, or in some cases even better, on another more digital platform, as the distribution of a text in print is more resource-demanding than if it were distributed via a digital app. An audio guide for a work of art can also function on a website. Existing texts and images for a brochure or a sign can be usefully versionized to other platforms, and thereby reach a broader audience.

For these reasons, CHAOS: \ _  also became the prerequisite for an experiment that collects interpretation content and reuses it across media.

Content with a personal feel

Despite the fact that the museums already had a lot of content, it was still necessary to produce new content, either based on existing material or as a supplement to the existing material. In the museum world, the best interpretation is personal interpretation: it is when the audience meets the passionate expert that they are transformed.

The basic idea with the produced content was to get as close as possible to the personal story. It will never be as good as the personal intepretor who adjusts the interpretation to all situations and all sorts of questions – but we try.

A typical process for an audio guide is: the museum selects some works of art for interpretation, and then writes a script. Perhaps the script has to be rewritten a couple of times so all the relevant details are included. For the inexperienced, it can be difficult to read a script and sound natural, therefore often an actor must be used. The audio must be recorded in a studio. During this process, there is a risk of losing the personality and passion of the museum, creating an unnecessarily large gap between the audience and the museum.

In this project, as many filters as possible had to be removed between the museum experts and the audience. Inspiration was found in journalism and the Danish dogma movies from the 1990s. A strong journalistic interview has a frame, but cannot be studied or have a script. In the Danish dogma movies obstacles were set up to prevent the scenography from stealing focus from the actual story.

We decided to draw on another strong competency of DR – the journalists. The project hired a radio journalist and a video journalist. The employees of the museum were not allowed to use a script, but had to talk “a cappella.” It was a great challenge for some. Did we get it all in there? Did I express myself clearly and correctly? Could a museum that displays the finest of cultural heritage also interpret it well without being backed up by a large production team?

At the time of writing, two apps have been launched, which have been in the app store only for a short time, so the audience’s response cannot be evaluated yet. But it is certain that there is nothing wrong with the content of the apps. Also, the different way of producing content in this project will not move focus from the content. Quite the contrary, the audience can feel the person behind the content and will become more strongly attached to the spoken word.

The journalists’ skills also helped the museums to create a sharp story. If a story was unfocused and had too many messages, the museum and journalist would edit this, so there was only one focus within a given clip. Alternatively, several clips were made, where the various messages appeared.

Cheap production method

Another advantage of this way of producing is the low production costs. The production team consisted of two journalists that recorded, edited and helped the museum with cutting the story. The journalists could both cooperate and operate on their own. Within three months the radio journalist produced around 175 audio guide messages, incl. preparation, recording and editing. The video journalist produced more than 100 video clips within a six month period. The video clips are used in the app, but have also given the museums the opportunity to create their own YouTube channels.

It was necessary to engage two journalists, as the museums had to tell different stories. To a great extent, the art museums used the radio journalist and thereby sound, as their story typically was focused around a work of art that the audience viewed while listening to the audio guide. On the other hand, the cultural-historical museums mainly used the video journalist, as their need was mainly to show how items worked and were applied. They also needed to display a specific item in a room that the audience would have a hard time locating if they were only guided by audio. The journalists worked with several museums at the same time. While one museum was briefed about how to tell their story, then another museum would be further in the process and ready for recording.

All in all, the short and flexible production time has led to value for money – without comprising the quality.

6. Status and Perspective

The cross-institutional collaboration between DR and the museums has supplied the project with various skills and resources. DR has contributed knowledge about journalism and technology. The shared ideology about openness, democratization and accessibility of the cultural heritage has been an important prerequisite for the project, and meant that the project could evolve continuously in the making. Two smartphone apps have already been produced within the collaboration between DR and KulturarvNord; the remaining are being produced and should be done within this year.

There is a clear financial benefit for the different participants in the collaboration. The museums have received the development of eleven apps and around one and a half years of journalistic aid from DR, equivalent to approximately 200,000 euros. This is cheaper than if the museums had chosen a solution that wasn’t based on open source technology and had to hire a freelance journalist to produce the same amount of editorial content.

With CHAOS: \ _ , the museums have gained access to a powerful IT-system that builds on open source, and which they did not have the opportunity to develop themselves. For DR, the project has shown examples of how CHAOS: \ _  can be used further, and it has inspired DR on how to present their radio and TV archive.

By sharing technology, the collaboration has created significant digital skills and a communications boost for museums that previously were not able to ride the digital wave. Additionally, content from the museums engaged in KulturarvNord is now searchable and viewable at the domain http://www.danskkulturarv.dk. This means that content from the smaller museums is now connected to content of larger Danish cultural institutions.

Museums outside the collaboration are also being invited to use the technology, and they base new projects and concepts on the resources and experiences that have been gained. Furthermore, the museum KUNSTEN developed more projects on top of the shared technology, and today the museum pushes the same content used in the app to touchscreens in the physical museum space. The next step is to create a new website in Drupal, which also uses the same content in CHAOS: \ _ , making the investment give a substantial return once more.

Besides these concrete plans, new projects are being defined. One of them is to create an open API around CHAOS: \ _ , so that external partners can use content to create new products and harvest content to other digital exhibitions. However, only selected parts of the content will be available through the open API due to copyright restrictions.

Originally the collaboration was set out to produce a single app for four museums, instead it will create eleven apps for ten different museums.

Overall, the goal of creating synergy in the cultural public sector has been achieved through an unexpected collaboration.


Cite as:
L. Hansen, T. Golodnoff, I. Dehn and M. Lerkenfeld, How to Ride the Digital Wave: a Collaboration Between Museums and The Danish Broadcasting Corporation. In Museums and the Web 2013, N. Proctor & R. Cherry (eds). Silver Spring, MD: Museums and the Web. Published February 1, 2013. Consulted .
http://mw2013.museumsandtheweb.com/paper/how-to-ride-the-digital-wave-a-collaboration-between-museums-and-the-danish-broadcasting-corporation/


Leave a Reply