Regarding openness and sharing, the Brooklyn Museum is an exemplary institution. They are major contributors to The Commons on Flickr, license their online image collection under a CC Attribution-NonCommerical license license, provide API access to this collection, and recently ran a CC-licensed remix contest with Blondie‘s Chris Stein. Needless to say, we were eager to catch up with Shelley Bernstein, Brooklyn Museum’s Chief of Technology, and learn more about how they are using our licenses to open up their catalog of amazing work, shaping the role museums play in a digital age in the process.
Can you give our readers some background on your role at the Brooklyn Museum? BM’s Twitter page describes you as the “Museum’s Chief Geek” – what does that entail?
Officially, I’m the Brooklyn Museum’s Chief of Technology, which means I work with a team of folks here to manage the Brooklyn Museum’s web presence, our gallery technology, and our computer network.
BM’s digital stamp is impressive – an active blog, social network presence, and the 1stfans program in particular all point to an organization that uses technology to better engage its community. What is the benefit, from your end, to this sort of interaction?
A big part of the Brooklyn Museum’s mission is about growing community and visitor experience, so much of what we do online closely ties into that. The blog, the social networking and 1stfans all help put a personal face on the institution and, we hope, allow visitors a chance to see what goes on here direct from staff and interact with us on a very personal level. This kind of engagement grows a more natural relationship with our constituents and one that we hope makes the institution very accessible.
BM licenses all of its images under a CC Attribution-NonCommerical license. Why did you choose this license and what has the experience been like? Have there been any interesting cases of re-use?
The Brooklyn Museum Collection API consists of a set of methods that return structured data and links to images from the museum’s collections. This is particularly exciting since all of the images owned by Brooklyn Museum are licensed under our Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerviatives license.
To get an idea of what can be created based on their API take a look at this clever example of an interactive time line of objects in the catalog ranging from 4010 B.C.E. to now.
Keep up the great work Brooklyn Museum!3 Comments »