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AMICO Users & Uses Committee

4/26/98 meeting in Toronto after Museums & the Web

In attendance: Tammy Sopinski, MIA; Stephanie Stebich, CMA; Max Anderson, Jane Rhodes, Judith Mastai, & Karen McKenzie, AGO; Susan Chun, Asia Society, Peter Walsh, Davis Art Museum; Peter Samis, SFMOMA
Facilitating: Jennifer Trant

The first major issue addressed was putting a public face on AMICO. (If we don't, someone else will!) Given budgetary constraints, the AMICO web site was deemed the most effective way to publish this information. Jennifer volunteered to put together an FAQ for our review, which could be posted to the site.

Some points to include:

  • who we are: a membership-led, open organization
  • open technical specifications & licensing agreements
  • not exclusive, not even AAMD-based anymore
  • growing, now including international members
  • not for profit, open participatory fee structure
  • not just images
  • committed to exploring new technologies as they develop, embracing them when appropriate
  • data you can't get elsewhere, searchable across museums
  • does not limit Fair Use or Fair Dealing

The importance of the look and feel of the AMICO web site was emphasized. It should be visually attractive, and not massively text-based. Beyond the FAQs, other key features include:

  • Summary of online testbed: participants, samples, reports
  • AMICO in the press: coverage, responses, releases
  • Calendar: AMICO in public forums, delivery dates, schedules
  • Membership Info: requirements, agreements
  • History: chronology of events
  • Intellectual Property: licenses and statement re: Fair Use
  • Univ. testbed updates: news, sample projects

The web site will have a public front end, followed by 2 other insulated layers: one for university testbed participants, and the other for member museums, who will be able to monitor and participate in their own discussions as well as those of the university partners.

Ian Rubenzahl will submit some web site designs, incorporating the new FAQs and this structure, for our review.

An essential part of our identity will be our relations with the participating university testbed partners. Peter W. suggested that AMICO members might "buddy up" with their regional university partners; that we follow reports of focus groups held during the year, engage in web-based discussions, an hold an end-of-year meeting in Spring 1999 to debrief what went right and wrong, with papers and presentations reporting on the results.

Once we receive external funding, the following staff infrastructure will be put into place:

  1. an Executive Director
  2. someone in charge of Technical Services (for AMICO museum members and distributors), and
  3. someone charged with User Services (for universities and AMICO member museums in their educational client role)

This third person will be the official university testbed participant liaison.

The final issue treated (it was only a 90-minute meeting!) was how we as AMICO member museums might ourselves use The AMICO Library. Susan suggested that we link or post internal discussion documents from our museums contemplating educational uses for the data. Max and Judith said the AGO would post their scenarios for potential users and their support. IAIA (Minneapolis Institute of Art/Walker Art Center collaborative) will do the same. Museums will be able to publicly perform the AMICO database in their galleries/study rooms, or to press CDs for distribution without a fee to schools, for example. The Indianapolis IMLS grant, if awarded, will provide valuable information re: K-12 use of AMICO modules. What are the tools teachers need? How will we use other museums to interpret the works in our own collections? A call was made for members to post their evolving ideas to the Users & Uses discussion on the Web.

So, the Committee Members' Action Items:

  1. Review boilerplate FAQs that Jennifer will post to AMICO site for review.
  2. Send a sample catalog record with image and all data in tag-delimited format to Jennifer to be published on the public web site. She will forward this set to RLG so they can be mocked up and we can give early feedback on the anticipated user interface for the testbed Library.
  3. Peter Walsh will post suggested regional groupings between museums and testbed universities: a proposal for a sort of "buddy system."
  4. Post plans for our own institutional uses of the AMICO testbed Library.

At the follow-up meeting with the full AMICO group, a testbed calendar for the coming year was sketched out.

Respectfully submitted, etc.

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