The digital object: visualisation, interpretation, sustainability

Hosted by The University of Leicester; sponsored by The 24 Hour Museum, mwr and Simulacra.


Thank you to all participants and speakers for making the day such an inspiring and successful event.

Presentations and conclusions are below.

UK Museums and the Web is not affiliated to Archimuse’s North American Museums and the Web conference.

Today, amidst the information age, the idea of ‘object’, ‘visit’ and (even) ‘site’ have been transformed. The ‘collections’ our visitors engage with are just as likely to be digital in format, bringing with them an array of new curatorial challenges as well as audience expectations.

Our community holds one of the richest sources of such information and knowledge available in the world. Much of this knowledge does not make it into physical galleries, but can be ideal for the web. In communicating this knowledge we need to understand the world of publishing better and consider seriously the permanence of digital material and access to it. At the same time we need to aid understanding of the widest possible audiences by explaining and bringing to life its value to them. A tall order, and all within our limited budgets.

Squaring up to these major changes, and by drawing together a range of practitioners, consultants, scholars, policy makers and industrialists this year’s UK Museums and the Web conference focuses attention on to the ‘digital object’.

6 July 2006, University of Leicester

Main conference THURSDAY 6 JULY
Special interest group meeting: FRIDAY 7 JULY
Hosted by The University of Leicester’s Digital Heritage Research Group
Lead sponsor: The 24 Hour Museum, with Ke Software and ReadSpeaker UK


UKMW audience Following on from ‘Web Enabled’ (2004) and ‘The Digital Object’ (2005),
this year’s UK Museums on the Web conference focused on audience.

  • Do we know who our online audiences are, and what they want?
  • Are we providing the right kind of service?
  • And in a rapidly developing online environment, are we keeping up with this audience’s changing expectations and practices?


Summing up now available.


9.00 – 9.30
Arrival and registration.

9.30 – 9.45
Welcome and housekeeping
Debbie Richards mcg Chair
Jane Finnis, 24 Hour Museum

9.45 – 10.15
The new content landscape
Simon Waldman (Guardian) Bio.

Jennifer Trant 10.15 – 10.45
Keynote lecture: Museums and Web 2.0: Connections + Community
Jennifer Trant (Archives and Museum Informatics). Abstract

10.45 – 11.10
Tea / coffee courtesy of ReadSpeaker UK

11.10 – 12.00
Who is out there?
Chair Mike Lowndes (Natural History Museum)

  • Impact analysis for web sites
    Brian Kelly (UKOLN). Abstract, Presentation
  • From evaluation to engagement
    Caroline John (Thinktank, Birmingham science museum). Abstract

12.00 – 12.50
How do audiences discover museums online?
Chair: Jon Pratty (24 Hour Museum)

  • How people find museum collection content online
    Mukti Bawa (PhD student, BIAD) Bio.
  • Mike Greenwood (Culture Online) and Katie Streten (Channel 4)

12.50 – 2.00
Lunch (provided courtesy of Ke Software)

2.00 – 2.50
How is this audience changing?
Chair: Ross Parry (University of Leicester)

  • What do user contributions tell us about developing museum websites?
    Gail Durbin (V&A) Abstract
  • ‘The kind of thing that our age wants to do’: putting younger visitors at the centre of the museum experience – online and on site
    Dan Phillips (The SEA). Abstract

2.50 – 3.40
What are the effects of the new online technologies – the new ‘social software’?
Chair Jennifer Trant

  • The Inside Out Web Museum
    Jon Pratty (24 Hour Museum) Abstract
  • Web2.0: why Museums are scared and excited all at the same time
    Mike Ellis (Science Museum). Bio.
  • Museums and podcasting
    Lena Maculan (PhD student, University of Leicester) Abstract

3.40 – 4.00
Tea / coffee courtesy of ReadSpeaker UK

How is museum learning provision adapting to the new web environment?
Chair: Anra Kennedy (24 Hour Museum)

  • What schools need
    Marshall Mateer (RBC Consultant). Abstract
  • Using ARKive films and images in education – a case study and lessons learnt
    Bruce Phillips (ARKive). Abstract
  • The active use of archive material in the classroom
    Helen Wright (Leicester City Council). Abstract

Summing up and final thoughts.
Mike Lowndes, mcg UKMW lead, Natural History Museum.

Friday 7th

  • 10-12 am – UK Museums on the Semantic Web inaugural meeting.
    (contact Ross Parry)

24 hour MuseumUniversity of Leicester KE Software