This is a bit of a follow on from an earlier discussion thread on the importance of enhancing curatorial work-flow. It seems to me that the issue of efficient knowledge creation systems is often overlooked as museums focus on the mechanisms for delivering content - through exhibitions, the web, publications etc.
The attached pdf is an abbreviated version of a talk I gave on this topic at this years Museums Australia Conference. While this talk focussed on the Powerhouse's development of the narrative module in KE EMU to deliver blocks of content it also highlighted the importance of creating systems that are adaptable to traditional forms of delivery like exhibitions and talks but embrace new possibilities like Facebook, Flickr, nings, twitter, webinars, and youtube.
As importantly these systems also need to be able to capture and store content in ways that make it available for internal integration, backup and migration to the museum database and be available for delivery to future social networking sites etc.
Essential to this process is a focus on high quality research work (footnotes, references, sourced images, video, interviews, a/v) at an early stage in the process allows content to be re-distributed, and re-authored, across multiple platforms. One example is the work on William Hetzer from earlier this year the online content at this URL
is cut and pasted from one block of research which has resulted in a narrative, significance statements, production and history notes, a downloadable (and printable!) pdf for voluteers and visitors, a composited a/v of George Street, multiple talks in the museum and to community groups, delivery to Flickr for mash-ups with Google Street View, links through my twitter feed and postings to the photo of the day blog.
The success with which we can embrace all these mechanisms for delivery is relient on increasing the skills of those developing content. I'm not sure how it is within your respective institutions but this seems to be more than just a matter of reskilling people to make sure they harvest those great out-of-copyright images in the their research library, take a video camera with them to talk to donors, or have access to the right software to create a/v's while doing research. These tasks are often carried out by a wide variety of professionals across the museum whose role is not explicitly factored into these early stages of content creation.
Can one person do it all? With the proper training, yes? will it look like the work of a professional, probably not?
However given the broader range of options open to museums perhaps it is clear that museums are reappraising who does what? In this there seems to be a lot of potential for making museums more exciting and productive particularly if we are encouraged to work across some of the traditional departmental boundaries. In doing so it would be nice if Museums were able to ensure their status was less defined by how they look and more about how they behave and the content they deliver.