Added by Jill Gengler, last edited by Michael Twidale on Jan 30, 2009  (view change) show comment


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Museum Informatics: Spring 2009


  • Instructor: Michael Twidale
  • Semester: Spring 2009
  • Time: Tuesdays 1-3:50pm
  • Location GSLIS Building Room 52
  • Prerequisites: None. Open to Advanced Undergraduates (LIS 490 MUU) or Graduate students (LIS490MUG)
  • Assessment: A series of homeworks and short assignments and a final paper

Course Overview

This course will explore issues related to the use of computers in museums. This includes both how museums use computers to record, preserve, classify and manage their collections, and how computers may be used to help visitors and scholars to make their most of their museums visits. It considers conventional physical museums, as well as other organizations with museum-like features such as archives, botanical gardens, special collections, as well as purely virtual collections. We will consider how computers are or could be used in museum settings. This can mean many different things including:

  • computerized collections records databases
  • computerization of the management processes of a museum
  • federation of records among museums
  • providing online access museum collections
  • museum websites
  • online web-based interactive experiences
  • computer kiosks within museums
  • large screen displays in museums
  • mobile technologies for supplementing museum visits

There are many kinds of museum, and museum-like contexts where computational technologies can be applied in particular ways, including:

  • art museums
  • science museums
  • museums of culture
  • botanical gardens
  • historic neighborhoods
  • temporary exhibitions in public places

Who Is This Class Intended For?

This is a class offered through the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. It is open to students from other departments.

There are two sections: 490MUG for graduate students, and LIS490MUU for undergraduates. Undergraduates must be juniors or seniors. The graduate section has 4 hours, the undergraduate 3 hours. The main difference is that the graduate students are required to submit an additional paper.

The class is aimed both at people who consider themselves as mostly a museum-interested person or a technology-interested person. In either case we are looking at applying computers in museums.

Museum Informatics is interdisciplinary work and so we hope that we will have students from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds. By working together on various short projects we will learn how to make best use of the diversity of our skills, backgrounds and intellectual traditions.