PAM gets in bed with STEVE

Posted by Lee Wells | Sat Apr 1st 2006 1:54 p.m.

PAM gets in bed with STEVE - Check it out.

One particular group that [PAM] is paying close attention to is the clever folks

If you're not familiar with what is, it stands for, Social
Terminology Enhancement through Vernacular Engagement. The project deals with
the issues of cataloging museum images with Folksonomic terms.
Organizationally, is made up of a consortium of museum
professionals from the Guggenheim Museum, Denver Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum,
The Metropolitan Museum, SFMOMA, Archives & Museum Informatics, and many more
museums we're all familiar with.

In short, they are proposing a re-cataloging methodology by introducing or
layering Folksonomies into what are traditionally highly rigid and specialized
databases that track museum collections. The average person, perhaps even the
above average person would be hard pressed to sit town at a computer terminal
at one of these museums and get very far using software such as TMS - The
Museum System. Considering the wealth of information and the public
responsibility and charge of a museum to make their collection accessible the
crux of the is situation is best described in their own words:

The Problem: Everyone who has used the web is familiar with the challenge of the
empty search box. Figuring out: What did someone else call what I am searching
for, may be one the most important questions that limits the use of the web as
a research medium. Searching for general information is difficult enough but
when searching through scholarly information such as databases of art work the
task becomes even more formidable. Since the images in these databases lack the
intrinsic information available in an essay, users are required to know the
technical meta data terms used by trained professionals to find the information
they need. . To highly trained researchers these tools are an invaluable
starting point for researching works in these publicly accessible collections,
but for the average person searching for a work casually remembered from an
exhibition or article they prove very difficult to navigate because of their
reliance on scholarly knowledge as the defined characteristics"

Interesting enough, has begun making their own software for
cataloging images in museum collections. [PAM] thinks that this is incredible
because this will eventually have a deep impact on our project in both the
short and long term. [PAM] is always thinking of ways to improve our overall
user experience as well as the longevity our database long after we become sick
of making art installations.

[PAM] is encouraging all of its members to get involved, try out their prototype
and participate in their discussions list. We feel it's in everyone?s best
interest, because inevitably some of them will end up in these museums
collections. Check out and sign up to try out the
software at

Also feel free to start tagging video at
GOTO [PAM] Video Gallery then go to town.

We've contacted the people to for a formal or informal blurb on
their recent appearance at Museums on the Web 2006, which took place this late
March. We plan to run a more in depth story in the following months.

Related Articles.
Lee Wells
Brooklyn, NY 11222
917 723 2524
  • j trant | Wed Apr 5th 2006 7:44 p.m.
    Hi Lee,

    it's cool that steve has a life outside the museum. we hope that steve and PAM get along 'real well'.

    there was a paper written as background for the steve session at Museums and the Web 2006: " An Ongoing Experiment in Social Tagging, Folksonomy, and Museums", Susan Chun, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rich Cherry, Guggenheim Museum, Doug Hiwiller, The Cleveland Museum of Art, USA, Jennifer Trant, Archives & Museum Informatics, Canada, and Bruce Wyman, Denver Art Museum, USA [collectively authored by many steve participants] and online at

    i'm sure some of those involved in presenting the session will fill you in on more of the details shared there.

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