Course description

Museums have managed large amounts of information for over forty years primarily through disparate systems in siloed departments. It is, therefore, hard to see the connections that would logically be present in managing information about people or objects. This course looks at the data systems in use in museums to explore the relationships that may be present. We include the obvious connections between fundraising and membership to attendance and social media. We also take a deep look at collections management systems to see patterns of giving that may be leveraged if connections were made to other data. We look at this information from the perspective of the museum educator. Assembling information on programs offered, attendance, and evaluations informs current and future programs and ensures their success. However, big data goes beyond bringing information about constituents and visitors together. Digitizing historical collections allows researchers to analyze the information in field notes, specimen records, and the scientific analysis conducted during the field work. Trends can be measured and compared to current data, giving scientists access to information that may be hidden in the paper records. Topics covered include museum data systems, developing an information policy, systems integration, metadata and tagging, and information storage and retrieval.


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