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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Digital Channel Strategy: onsite, offsite and online #ndf2012

Digital Channel Strategy: onsite, offsite and online
Karen Mason and David Reeves (@requironz), Auckland Museum
How does an encyclopaedic museum, that is also a war memorial and a classified heritage building located on a sacred site, develop serious street cred with a virtual community?
Auckland Museum is in a process of renewal. Within a broader, strategic context – which includes the future vision for Auckland City – planning has begun towards significant enhancements to public and back-of-house spaces, the roll-out of a new brand, new collections, research and audience engagement strategies and commercial initiatives. Lock-step with these developments is the upgrade of legacy IT systems and the formation of a digital roadmap spanning distributed channels: web, smart devices, social media, ecommerce, elearning, third-party content aggregators, in-gallery interactives and off-site programmes.
This presentation aims to bring to life the practical process of defining a growth path for the integrated use of discrete digital channels aligned to the needs and motivations of prioritised users. We’ll cover ICT platforms, searchable, useable and shareable content, online engagement with collections and public programmes; who our audiences are and what is meaningful to them. We’ll question which onsite programmes need an online iteration and which interactions work better online than physically. We’ll ask what does success look like and how is it measured. And what does all this means for resource allocation and planning processes?
While answers to these and other burning questions have yet to be fully revealed, our experiences are shared as a 'work-in-progress'.

Project started as web redesign but early realised not just redesigning website; collided with org masterplan about recasting/refurbishing galleries. Took a step back to think of digital strategy fitting into broader strategy.

Digital channels include: website, blogs, apps, onsite interactive displays, audio tours, scholarly databases, facebook, flickr, youtube, twitter...

Are we all strategied out? Is this a strategy, roadmap, plan? But needed guiding principles to inform future use and prioritisation of time, skills, money.

Want to be audience-focused and collections-led. Want to connect audience and collections. Extend reach, enable audiences to go deeper. But collections becoming more complex, audiences more diverse and with higher expectations. Challenge to create connected experiences across this complex landscape and let audiences connect back to us and to each other.

Have website, blog, social media. Various databases which don't talk to each other. Many in-gallery interactives and trails - lots of work which proud of, but want to stop creating content that's locked into a single system: want to repurpose. Hard to know where it even is. <screenshot of shared drive with a gazillion folders> - audience reaction indicates a familiar sight.

Looking at EDRMS and DAMS

Creating a content map to show content / channel / who's responsible for it / how it joins up with other content / how it can link to/from third-party sites.

Using website as central layer; social media to start conversations but website to continue conversations; where relevant drive to other sites including external sites or back to website eg for online bookings/subscriptions.

Developed guiding principles:
  • Digital guardianship
  • sustainable delivery
  • universal access
Not just collections but context becoming increasingly important. Need to represent relationships across platforms. Build a platform not to replace systems but let them speak to each other. Collection data and context are an essential foundation - we don't have all of this in electronic form yet.

Facebook (or similar) as front face of collections? [rights issues if taking this literally]

"Collection readiness" - getting collections ready for presentation in projects. Digitisation, capture content in workflows, capture data in open formats. Can be disruptive. Permissions, rights etc - more of an issue now that we're less hesitant about letting things go. Enriched records for items on display (#1 priority.)

(Getting high quality images of "types" (butterfly specimens) [me: wouldn't it be great to get 3d images of these?] but not connected to records system.)

COPE: Create Once, Publish Everywhere. Capture content without thinking of how outputted, need to make it channel-neutral. Then have templated ways to turn it into various forms.

Web-centric but want to make things available across a range of devices. Universal access principle to let people connect wherever they are, whatever device they use. Also supports pre-visit, during-visit, post-visit, and instead-of-visit.

Easy to be captured by the latest shiny - but don't want to go down cul-de-sacs. Take a measured approach to new technologies. But confident in investing in bring-your-own-device.

The long game - vision to enrich collection with deep, rich content, deliver by open data standards, shared functional components, to let content be repurposed as diverse connected experiences across many devices to anyone anywhere.