Charlie is essentially in charge of all technology at the museum including general IT maintenance, in addition to spear heading software development initiatives through the IMA Lab. The Lab consists of five developers and two graphic designers which is typically uncommon given the size of the institution. In addition, the team offers consulting services for other cultural institutions whether that be web or mobile based applications, that bring together the specific needs and concerns of the institution to the table.
IMA Dashboard: Established by former IMA director, Max Anderson, an advocate for radical transparency who was seeking a desire to push the institution’s statistics online. The design of the dashboard was created by Charlie and a graphic designer from the software team. The dashboard’s design unintentionally resembled the interface design of the iPhone, although the dashboard was created before the iPhone came out.
TAP Tours: A platform designed to provide tools to easily create and deliver mobile tour applications in a museum setting. Content is created in the web based content management system, Drupal. After the content is created, it can be exported into an intermediate format called TourML, which can then be used as pluggable bundles for mobile applications. Ideally, the IMA open sourced these tools in hopes of creating a rich set of free tools for all museums, putting the institution and the software in a better position to reuse, share and remix content. The IMA was later rewarded with a grant from IMLS to deploy TourML in a variety of ways making it easier for other institutions to build upon that work.
Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative: IMA originally worked with the Art Institute of Chicago to create an online publication for scholarly catalogues. Based upon the success of that project, they in turn received funding from the Getty Foundation to create a toolkit that formed a set of reusable software tools for creating online publications. Within the toolkit exists a set of APIs that allow other developers to create custom web or mobile interfaces.
ArtBabble: An initiative that came out of a fairly large new media team. The IMA was originally putting videos on YouTube but quickly realized that content could easily be lost if the video didn’t have the proper tag associated with it. The software platform is hosted on Amazon which allows users to upload videos straight to the site. The team is currently working on updating the site which will enable users to embed videos in addition to a classification feature, making it more searchable for users.
Challenges: One of the major challenges that face us today in the development of mobile applications is the pace in which technology is changing. Since software and hardware are being reproduced at such a rapid pace, Charlie suggests a strategic approach in producing content so that it is just as valuable ten years from now as it is today.
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