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Web person at the Imperial War Museum, just completed PhD about digital sustainability in museums (the original motivation for this blog was as my research diary). Posting occasionally, and usually museum tech stuff but prone to stray. I welcome comments if you want to take anything further. These are my opinions and should not be attributed to my employer or anyone else (unless they thought of them too). Twitter: @jottevanger

Friday, April 11, 2008

Standing back for a moment [cross-post from mymuseumoflondon.org.uk]

[cross-post from mymuseumoflondon.org.uk]

Hi, it’s the web-monkey again. Things have been pretty intense lately, due in large part to the end of the financial year and the need to wrap up all sorts of budgets.

My part in the various projects I work on ranges from major to peripheral - sometimes some serious programming, sometimes offering advice on commissioning, sometimes just doing a little tweaking ready for integrating someone else’s work. All the same I’ll flag up a couple of things I’ve been involved in lately, at least of those that have now launched, even if I didn’t do that much myself - after all, where else do we sing about some of this stuff? Too often it ends up sort of dribbling out because we’re all too busy or exhausted to make a song and dance about it. So, here we go:

  • The Great Fire of London website, orientated at children of Key Stage 1 age (5-7) and their teachers. This is the result of a partnership between the Museum of London, National Portrait Gallery, The National Archives, London Metropolitan Archives, and London Fire Brigade Museum. It’s cool. Thanks to ON101 for building the game and designing the site, and our own Mariruth Leftwich for shepherding the whole thing. Also via Mariruth comes a game to complement our Digging Up the Romans learning resource.

  • At last we have sort of launched “The Database of 19th Century Photographers and Allied Trades in London: 1841-1901“. This is the electronic representation of the amazing work done by David Webb in cataloguing thousands of people in that industry in Victorian times. I built the database, hmm, several years ago for another partnership we’re in, but it was never launched for reasons that even now seem obscure. Anyway, it’s now live and, though it needs an overhaul even now, it’s great to think it may at last start being useful. I want to open the data up for mash-ups….when I get some time.

  • The Sainsbury Archive, a fantastic resource at Museum in Docklands, has a new site through the efforts of archivist Clare Wood

  • I can’t tell you about the work I’ve been doing on republishing an archaeological reference text, because it’s not ready yet. If you can find the test URL, well, you’re very sneaky.

  • Any day now we’ll see the launch of the “Family Favourites” pages on the Museum in Docklands website. Go and seek it out, there’s a fun game and an introduction to various highlights of the galleries there.

  • It’s just a promo site until the exhibition itself happens, but have a look at the Jack the Ripper pages. That’s gonna be well worth a visit - get yourself some tickets!

  • Geek stuff: some time ago I made a machine-friendly interface to look at the database of publications our archaeology service (MoLAS) produces. Whilst working towards the launch of http://www.museumoflondonarchaeology.org.uk/ I decided I wanted to change the architecture of the publications application, which for one thing makes it easy to drop little nuggets of info about our publications around the site, all fed from a database. The solution I went for also works for machine access by anyone, and I hope it will be just a start: we’d like to make our events available like this, and in time our collections. For the record, it’s basically REST/XML, drop us a line if you want to use it (though I imagine that it will be the collections and events that will have wider appeal - note that events already have an RSS feed, which is used on sites like docklands.co.uk).

  • And check out our events programme, I’ve just uploaded the May to August programme.

Now, what have I forgotten to mention?

Of course, there’s more in the pipeline, keep your eyes on all our sites!

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