This week's tour offers current news items that overlap with some topics I have covered in the past: license-free access to museum images for students and scholars, RFID's ability to enhance visitor experience (and commerce) and the increased stress of multiple profiles, communication mediums and contact information that have arisen.
- On the licensing front, The Metropolitan Museum of Art this week announced that it has formed a partnership with ArtSTOR to serve license-free images to the scholarly and academic community. This was the very crux of my criticism of the Smithsonian and Corbis deal. It did not make any allowance for fair use. Bravo to the Met for its foresight and advocacy of cultural capital in the service of public good.
- In international news, the City of Amsterdam has become the first municipality on the globe to create an RFID infrastructure for tourists. Once purchased, the RFID-enabled I Amsterdam Card enables users to receive free admission to museums and unlimited access to public transportation. The expansion of this technology reminds me of my post this week on Web 2.0 and social good. For whatever reason, Web 2.0 services are most successful when they closely mirror an offline activity. For museums looking to build RFID-enabled collection portals that bridge offline and online visits, a more robust emergence of RFID with personal experience represents a strong step forward. Via RFID, first comes the management solution for access control and ticketing, next comes curatorial opportunities for accessing content. I hope to see similar programs here in the United States.
- Social network fatigue comes to phone. This article from the New York Times (subscription required) points to user communication fatigue across communication channels. Not only are people being swamped by their online social networking profiles, but the communication devices of real-world social networks (personal and work email, personal/home/work/IM/skype phone numbers) are becoming increasingly difficult to manage. The arrival of services to merge phone numbers into one should come as no surprise. Next is the question of how communication network fatigue can be solved online.
- Given their revenue problems (current and future), why isn't big media designing online radio and streaming services? Another NYT article, this time discussing the emergence of a new online radio site catering to a no-hassle model for the young and on-the-go technology users. This new service, called slacker, builds greater personalization and recommendation features beyond what is currently offered by sites like pandora. Funny, the record, media and broadcasting industries seem content to let new developers and syndicators create online services, build user bases and then complain about losing revenue. Hardly a proactive stance, no?
- Finally, I've tried to highlight an interest website now and then. I got word of the Museum of Lost Interactions from 24 Hour Museum. This mini-museum site is a competently design effort that features old and obscure technologies that have helped define the experience of content and media. Enjoy!