DML Blog

BGC Digital Events and Upcoming Rob Stein(@rjstein) Talk at BGC

posted on 17 Feb 2012 20:55 by BGC DML

Among the many resources that students and faculty have at their disposal here BGC, perhaps the most invaluable is the wide range of speakers that present their research on a seemingly nightly basis at the BGC. Whether they are part of our seminar series that covers a wide range of topics related to material culture or symposia related to specific projects or collaborations in which the BGC takes part, there always seems to be something going on in our lecture hall.

In the past, we have had a number of events that have been particularly relevant to the DML including:

  • The Artifact in the Age of New Media symposium with guests Dan Cohen (@dancohen), Josh Greenberg (@epistemographer), Carrie Rebora Barratt, Amelia Peck, Steve Brier (@stevebrier), and Josh Brown (@joshbrownnyc)
  • Robert Darnton's talk Blogging, Now and Then (in the 18th Century)
  • Mapping New Media symposium with Matthew Knutzen(@mattknutzen @nyplmaps) of the NYPL Maps Division, Janice Reiff of UCLA and Hypercities, and Wendy Bellion of the University of Delaware.
  • Digital Publishing: 2011 and Beyond: a conversation about the future of publishing in the digital age with invited guests Phil Pocoda, Abby Smith Rumsey, Josh Greenberg (@epistemographer), Cheryl Ball(@s2ceball) and Douglas Eyman of Kairos (@KairosRTP), Kathleen Fitzpatrick(@kfitz) of Media Commons and MLA, and Kathy Sparks from Dumbarton Oaks.
  • A brown bag lunch presentation on the future of scholarly publication by Kathleen Fitzpatrick (@kfitz)

Our next event brings us Rob Stein (@rjstein) from the Indianapolis Museum of Art to speak on Wednesday, February 22, 2012. His talk is entitled “Conversation and Collaboration: Strategies to Cultivate Meaningful Engagement with Cultural Audiences.” Here is some back ground about Rob and information about attending the event:

Robert Stein is currently Deputy Director for Research, Technology, and Engagement at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where he has worked since 2006 to develop new technologies for research, conservation, and digital media within the museum. He received his B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois and has received grants from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (2011), the Getty Foundation (2011), and the Ball Brothers Foundation (2010). His publications include articles on “Crowd-Sourcing Art History: Research and Applications of Social Tagging for Museums” in Research Infrastructures in the Digital Humanities (2011); “Mobile Content Strategies for Content Sharing and Long-Term Sustainability” in Mobile Apps for Museums: the AAM Guide to Planning and Strategy (2011); and “Computational Linguistics in Museums: Applications for Cultural Datasets Read More: Computational Linguistics in Museums: Applications for Cultural Datasets” in Museums and the Web 2011.

As museums and cultural organizations seek to enhance their relevance within a rapidly changing society, issues of participatory culture and engagement are becoming more and more critical. The debate about how best to build deep connections for visitors with cultural content is an important one, but concrete evidence and replicable findings about the value and methods for doing so are often hard to come by. Are the views and opinions of the general public an important part of the mission for cultural organizations, or just a societal fad that will pass? What is the responsibility of public institutions to serve and preserve the impressions of their local audiences? Does public opinion hold its value in relationship to the factual and contextual content provided by more traditional content authorities? For those institutions that are eager to embrace a participatory culture, how can they know whether or not they are being successful? What does that success look like, and why is it important?

This session will focus on the underpinning logic and assumptions implicit in a decision by the Indianapolis Museum of Art that such participation and engagement with audiences is an important part of the museum’s mission. Results from several research studies and collaborations with other leading cultural institutions will be discussed. Current work to establish a formalized program of visitor study for the purpose of deepening visitor engagement will be explained and the session will offer an opportunity for informal discussion of the challenges and opportunities involved in such a strategy.

Please RSVP at and join us in the Lecture Hall at 38 West 86th Street, between Columbus Ave and Central Park West, at 5:45pm for a reception before the talk.

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Tags: events seminarseries stein symposium

Wikis in the classroom

posted on 14 Feb 2012 20:54 by Sara Spink

I think it fortunate that in my time here as a student at the BGC, 13 of my 14 courses did use or are using class-specific wiki sites to varying degrees. At the most basic level, the platform provides a flexible and accessible resource for students to receive up-to-date information about the syllabus and class activities, and allows for a common access point for me and my colleagues to sign up for presentations or upload assigned readings that are then easily disseminated to everyone. But the wikis work best when they’re exploited to their full potential as a fluid entity that can be fully integrated into classroom activities and discussions.

With several of my classes it’s been really gratifying to be able to look back on the multilayered site we’ve built together over the course of the semester. Sometimes the site reflects the process of our independent research, enabling an ongoing dialogue over several months as we pursue our respective projects and pose questions about our direction or materials. This was certainly the case in the second iteration of Christmas Cards in America class (which developed into a focus gallery exhibition this past winter), as well as in The Social Lives of Things: The Anthropology of Art and Material Culture (which in part built on the previous semester’s Objects of Exchange course and focus gallery exhibition, and which culminated in an expansion of that research—this is reflected in the online version of the exhibition website; see also Kimon’s previous post).

It’s been most exciting for me when the wikis have enabled productive discussion that both drew from previous classes and contributed to those forthcoming, promoting the development of questions and ideas beyond specified class time. The use of forums and comments, and the implementation of continuously augmented pages of related imagery and media, all contributed to such an experience. Last semester, our Scenic Design course extended our interaction even further. That wiki boasts not only the enormously beneficial visual syllabus that Kimon has mentioned in previous posts, but also “digital portfolios” of each student’s work. We were challenged to integrate various types of media with our textual research, and to post and present that material online—I particularly enjoyed this encouragement to share and reflect on each other’s projects. Regardless of how they are used, the course wikis have a tremendous potential to stand as a rich testament to the interests and achievements of both students and faculty.

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Tags: focusgallery glass materialresearch objectsofexchange spink students visualresearch wikis

Talk by Anne Kelly Knowles at NYPL

posted on 13 Feb 2012 23:38 by BGC DML

Received an invite from Matt Knutzen of NYPL Map Division fame today about a talk being given by Anne Kelly Knowles, a geographer who does work using visualizations as an alternative to traditional historical narratives, this Friday the 24th from 4:45-6:30. Here is some of the blurb about the talk.

The way we imagine the past can deeply affect how we understand it. How do the spatial stories embodied in maps and animations differ from conventional historical narratives? Anne Knowles will explore that question by describing a pioneering research project on the geographies of the Holocaust. Examples will include geographic visualizations of the growth of the concentration camp system, the patterns of German atrocities in Eastern Europe, and the built environment of Auschwitz.

More info about the upcoming talk can be found on the NYPL Site.

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Tags: geography knowles knutzen mapping nypl visualizations

Coming to the DML blog, New Voices

posted on 13 Feb 2012 20:15 by BGC DML

This semester, one of my hopes has been to make the DML News blog a place where people more regularly visit. Part of making that happen will be an increase in posts about outside news relevant to the DML. Some of it will w be coming from posting more about events here at the BGC that are relevant to DML activities. But, I think that the best way to make this blog more compelling will be to start to include a multiplicity of voices. To that end, this space will soon be home to posts by a number of students, faculty, and staff whose work greatly impacts or is greatly impacted by the work done in the lab. Coming up soon will be posts by DML Assistant Sara Spink and Head of New Media Research David Jaffee. The lab is about the work that we all contribute here at the BGC and it will be great to hear directly from those individuals working on projects in the lab. I hope you get a chance to read about their work and I encourage all visitors to participate in conversations via comments.

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Tags: blog dml jaffee spink

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