Future of Storytelling Festival Event

By wanyi

The future of storytelling (FoST) festival is an immersive storytelling event covers exhibits, panels conversations, lectures from thinkers and practitioners from diverse fields, interactive performance about how to use the cutting-edge technologies, media and communication ways to telling stories in the future. [FoST] On October 6th, I went to Staten Island for experience interesting people’s projects and explorations of storytelling.

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The consequence beyond my thought, I was excepted to just see some VR or AR shows and immerse in a thrill of the chase. It was thrilling and also meaningful when I finish the lecture about “Refining Identity through the lens of the media”.

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The talker contains Wendy Calhoun, a writer, and producer of TV-serous; Joe Lewis, head of comedy, drama & VR Amazon studios and Jose Antonio Vargas, Kay Wilson Stallings. Wendy said she refuses to tell “color-blind” [2008] stories, for colorblind stories encourages the writers to be generic in their choice. In fact, the choice of giving a person or actor a cultural specificity could bring the character to life in a much more authentic way. [FoST] The reason why we avoid to express our true thought is that we could not be accepting the situation or the status quo of bias, prejudice and people’s thoughts based on their culture, community, and faith. [2004] She then pointed out that diversity is so much more than race and gender “When we talk about diversity, we say the female, people with color…Diversity is also height, weight…So many different things in the world.” That reminds me to think of Vinopal’s article [2006] about workforce diversity, the homogenization of gender, color and social category, generation, diversity covers so board range of society. We may see the importance of co-operating, for the enterprise culture, better serve the diverse community. but the reason why we still could not see the diversification may not only for the pipeline issues but the dishonesty. The dishonesty causes the ignorance of bias, that could not be measured by any questionnaire or interview. When information professional arranges the records, empathy matters, know the story and emotion of others and really put ourselves in their shoes. What I agree with is the importance of take action, no matter in gender realm or others, like Wajcman’s article let more female get into science, not only talk about what we should deserve and do nothing, only if the situation been changed, fewer judgement about what kind of job should what kind of people do. [2010] Annevar Bush’s As We May Think said scientific reasoning should not only limit to logical processes, that could impede our way for understanding the world. [1945] If we see technology as physical devices, it’s hard to create substantial technology progress. Yochai Benkler [2006] mentions social production in his book. If discards the threaten of intellectual property, people transact knowledge by lower cost, highly effective and board way. We are already breaking through the wall of disciplines, more identity conscious needs breakthrough.

The information heritage needs authentic, research and scrutiny, by achieves, librarians, writers…, Wendy Calhoun than describes her experience of research, once she needs to write a chapter about Kentucky, and she never been there before, so she went there and talked with Kentucky’s police officer, asked them questions. One officer named Walt told her she’s real-life bullet. She said, “Compare actually see where she lived, actually heard what she did, plus, the little more stories as we walk into the room and pitch it.”[FoST], that could be the real passion of doing the job. People were doing that have the extraordinary responsibility to make sure that all stories authentic as possible. You have to do the research. Do it right, not to not do it.

 

 

Work Citing

“FoST FESTIVAL.” Future of StoryTelling | Reinventing the Way Stories Are Told, futureofstorytelling.org/fest.

Burdman, Pamela (2008). “Exposing the truth and fiction of racial data” (PDF). California Magazine. Cal Alumni Association: 40–46. Retrieved 18 January 2008.

Jennifer Vinopal(2006). “The Quest for Diversity in Library Staffing: From Awareness to Action” In the Library with the Lead Pipe, www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org quest-for-diversity, 2006.

Robert Jensen(), “The Myth of the Neutral Professional” Progressive Librarian No. 24, 2004.

Judy Wajcman (2010). “Feminist theories of technology” Cambridge Journal of Economics, Volume 34, Issue 1, Pages 143–152, 1 January 2010.

Bush, Vannevar (1945). “As We May Think” Atlantic Monthly 176, pp. 101-108, July 1945.

Pawley, C. (2003). “INFORMATION LITERACY: A CONTRADICTORY COUPLING” Library Quarterly73(4), 422-452.

Benkler, Y. (2006). “Introduction: a moment of opportunity and challenge” in The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. Yale University Press, 1–18.

SLA New York Conference and Expo 2017

By asrp

On Friday October 20th I attended the 2017 SLA NY chapter’s conference and expo at Baruch College in New York City. This year’s theme was Resilience: Navigating the Information Landscape. They had a lineup of fantastic speakers from all areas of information professions, all of whom have been resilient and successful in their careers in the ever-changing information world. The conference hosted two keynote speakers, and eight panels throughout the day. Although each panel held noteworthy speakers with much insight on career paths and the growth of information professionals, this article will focus on the two keynote speakers and a panel on fake news and how to combat misinformation.

The conference kicked off with our morning keynote speaker, CEO of Sterling Talent Solutions, Clare Hart, talking about opportunity, resilience, and success. Hart started by congratulating the audience, most of which have obtained or are in the process of obtaining a master’s degree, a degree held by less than ten percent of adults over the age of 25 in the United States. A Master’s of Library and Information Science can open up many opportunities to individuals seeking professions in libraries, information, data, and increasingly in the technology fields. There is an opinion by some that there will be less of a need for information professionals in the future, as more information is accessible to the public. Hart retaliates by discussing just a few information/data jobs that will be seeing a growth in the near future, such as: Market Research Analyst, Data Scientist, Operations Research Analysis, and Data Governance/Data Domain Curator. At a time of societal change, where some doors close others will open, and there will always be a need for information professionals in the digital shift. We are in an age of acceleration, and “we can’t escape these accelerations. We have to dive into them, take advantage of their energy and flows where possible, move with them, use them to learn faster, design smarter, and collaborate deeper.” Hart addresses the need to retool our educational systems to maximize skills and attributes that will prepare people with top employability skills, placing an emphasis on the communication and planning skillsets. Referencing her own transitional stages between jobs, Hart gives us a list of things to write down during times of transition: write down what you did well, what you could’ve done better or differently, where you want to go/what kind of company or organization you want to work for, research that job and write down the top choices while weighing the pros and cons. These lists will serve as lessons in self-awareness, one of the major components of being a successful and resilient information professional. It’s important to remember that we are all unique, and with a master’s in LIS we already have or are working towards “fabulous credentials,” that will help us take advantage of the many opportunities that are being created in the market today. We must remember that it’s our attitude that will help us get the most out of lifelong learning, and that being self-aware will lead to positive transitions. Hart concluded her presentation with those key takeaways to carry with us into our future professions.

With the rise of social media and the growing access of information and opinions to the public, fake news has become a buzzword. One of the morning panels, In-Credible Sources: Fake News in the Info Age, addresses the fake news of today and how journalists and researchers can combat it.  The panel was hosted by Brandy Zadrozny and Kathy Deveny. Zadrozny is a researcher and reporter for the Daily Beast, and previously worked as a news librarian at ABC News and Fox News. Deveny is a managing director at Kekst, a leading strategic, corporate, and financial communications firm, and previously worked as an editor and writer, including deputy editor of Newsweek. Both speakers focused on the topic of misinformation in an overly-saturated information society. News outlets like Fox employed news librarians to help with research and fact-checking, but now with the cutting of many news librarian jobs, the reporters are in charge of doing their own research and fact-checking. Zadrozny points out that many people are just simply over fact-checks and will continue to read what they want to read. A popular culprit of misinformation is what is known as the “sexy press releases.” In science and health research, scientists need funding, and they get funding by writing articles. The articles are boosted by press releases that feed the public snippets of facts that are easily misconstrued into untruths. Deveny talks about fake news in the corporate realm. A lot of fake news on corporations comes from competitors causing chaos. A company’s reputation is more in danger now than ever as people take to social media and the emergence of online boycotts. How do we combat fake news in the media when people just aren’t skeptical enough? This is the challenge for information professionals like Zadrozny and Deveny, how do we teach people to be more skeptical? A short answer lies somewhere in feeding the public what they want, turning fact-checks into something easily digestible by telling a story in a fun and entertaining way. To combat fake news and get beneath the lies and untruths of misinformation, we need to follow through on skepticism, going with our gut feelings. If a story doesn’t sound right, we need to get interested in checking things out, we need to start poking holes. By contradicting things and being more skeptical, we create controversy and garner more attention. Journalists and reporters can also start by putting out factual videos to combat fake news. But as people are flooded with an abundance of information through Twitter, Facebook, and dark areas of the internet, the challenge on how to get people to this level of skepticism still remains.

The challenges that information professionals are facing, how to bridge the gap between information producers and information consumers, how to teach people to be more skeptical, or how to make our transitions into the growing technological society positive ones, are hard issues. Our afternoon keynote speaker Cynthia Cheng Correia, author, adjunct professor at Simmons College, and member of the Council of Competitive Intelligence Fellows, gave us some thoughts on how to address these challenges in her presentation, How Strong is your Professional Resilience? Correia teaches her students about competitive intelligence and how to prepare for the newer information landscape with tools to look at indicators in foresight. The questions she aims to tackle revolve around building a collective resilience. By combining professional preparation and personal resilience, we can create professional resilience in mindset and perspective. Resilience means being able to persist and adapt in the face of changes. It’s not just about fixing problems, but learning from them. In regard to the changes in information tools, Correia states that we need to keep up, that we need to think about how to respond, and that we need to anticipate. So how do we do this? We start with ourselves, our own independent resilience. It’s important to foster healthy relationships, through friends, family, colleagues, mentorships, and professional networks. These will give us a foundation of support, validation, empathy, and perspective. We also must be able to make a plan, this will aid in focus, problem-solving, foresight, and compartmentalizing. While making plans we must also remember to be positive in outlook (adjusting our approach to the problem at hand), realism (looking at the situation as it is), and a constant forward-looking attitude. Correia further goes into the importance of fostering our passions and growing with them, stating that the growth process isn’t about overcoming, it’s about enjoying the process and learning from it. She addresses the barriers to resilience: denial, habits, biases, silos (walls that we put up as “safe spaces”), behaviors, fear of failure, lack of self-awareness, and life’s challenges. These barriers aren’t just in individuals but in whole professions as well. In order to keep up with the changing information landscape, we must move past these barriers, strengthening our resilience, and re-evaluating our educational system to provide the proper tools for successfully navigation an information-heavy society.

The world of information is constantly changing and technologies are providing new ways of accessing and analyzing data and information. The information professions must keep up with these changes, following the latest news and trends in technology and building resilience in the workplace. This year’s SLA conference addressed some of these issues we are facing in current shifts, and provided stepping stones as to how to navigate them.

 

http://newyork.sla.org/events-2/slany-expo-2017/

Protected: Government Document Archives in the Age of Digital Reproduction – A Gesture of Curiosity Inspired by Benjamin

By rdaniell

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Response to “The Quest for Diversity in Library Staffing”

By Robin Miller

After reading Jennifer Vinopal’s article, “The Quest for Diversity in Library Staffing: From Awareness to Action” (2016), I have to admit I wasn’t surprised at the lack of diversity in the American Library system, but I did feel nonetheless a deep sense of disappointment. After reviewing the latest numbers published by the American Library Association (2009-2010), 88% of the credentialed librarians in this country are white. Of the 22% in our field that represent African Americans, Asian and Pacific Islanders (API), Native Americans, including Alaskan, Two or more races, and Latinos, there are only 138 active African American library directors in the US, according to Michael Kelley in “Diversity Never Happens: The Story of Minority Hiring Doesn’t Seem To Change Much.” He also notes that “African Americans and Hispanics are some of the strongest supporters of libraries, and yet they continue to be thinly represented among the ranks of librarians.” All of these figures are very disturbing, to say the least, and left me asking myself the same question, what can we do to effectively challenge the current racial and power structures that exist in our profession? (Hudson, 2017) I don’t believe that I have an answer, not just yet, but I want to be part of the conversation and take a stand.

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In “The myth of the neutral professional” (2006), Jensen challenges us to stand up and take a side because “neutrality is impossible.” He continues, “[i]n any situation, there exists a distribution of power…To take no explicit position by claiming to be neutral is also a political choice, particularly when one is given the resources that make it easy to evaluate the consequences of that distribution of power and, at least potentially, affect its distribution.” We as LIS students have the resources. So now it is time for us to choose a side. Are we to stand by and idly watch as this lack of diversity continues to repeat itself, or do we choose to use our privilege and resources to affect change? We need to look at the failures of past diversity programs and not allow ourselves to repeat those failures by “diversifying without dismantling power differentials” (Vinopal, 2016) that currently exist.

These racial and power structures are not limited to the LIS profession, they are deeply entrenched in every area of our society today. But who will we be tomorrow? In “Why Diversity Matters: A Roundtable Discussion on Racial And Ethnic Diversity in Librarianship,” Juleah Swanson, Head of Acquisition Services at the University of Colorado Boulder, gives us a great place to start by asking ourselves, “What innovative ways can we educate and teach colleagues and students about complex issues like microaggressions, institutional racism, and privilege, reflecting both traditional means of teaching such as lectures and readings, and through learned experiences?” It is our responsibility as LIS students to continue to research and try to understand why these racial and power systems exist and lead the change that will diversify and better our profession.

“ ‘Diversity’ is named and defined in places of great power.” – Sandra Ríos Balderrama

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References

Balderrama, S. (2000). This Trend Called Diversity. Library Trends: Ethnic Diversity in Library and Information Science 49 (1): 194-214.

http://www.ala.org/aboutala/sites/ala.org.aboutala/files/content/diversity/diversitycounts/diversitycountstables2012.pdf

Hudson, D. J. (2017). On “Diversity” as Anti-Racism in Library and Information Studies: A Critique. Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies 1(1). DOI: 10.24242/jclis.v1i1.6

Jensen, R. (2006). The myth of the neutral professional. Questioning Library Neutrality, ed. A. Lewis. Library Juice, 89–96. http://jonah.eastern.edu/emme/2006fall/jensen.pdf

Kelley, M. (2013). Diversity Never Happens: The Story of Minority Hiring Doesn’t Seem To Change Much | Editorial. http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/02/opinion/editorial/diversity-never-happens-the-story-of-minority-hiring-doesnt-seem-to-change-much/#_ .

Swanson, J., Damasco, I., Gonzalez-Smith, I., Hodges, D., Honma, T., and Tanaka, A. (2015) Why Diversity Matters: A Roundtable Discussion on Racial And Ethnic Diversity in Librarianship. http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2015/why-diversity-matters-a-roundtable-discussion-on-racial-and-ethnic-diversity-in-librarianship/ .

Vinopal, J. (2016). The Quest for Diversity in Library Staffing: From Awareness to Action. Lead Pipehttp://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2016/quest-for-diversity

Exploring the Archives with MoMA

By MiaBathke

Two weeks ago, The Museum of Modern Art Archives, Library, and Research Collections invited university students and faculty to come learn about the library and archives, what they have to offer, along with an introduction  to their online catalog. The event began with a series of presentations, an introduction to the Archives and Library, overviews and discussion of MoMA’s exhibition history pages on moma.org,       electronic resources, archival processing, library cataloging, and artists’ books. Before attending, I had     expected a very hands-on experience of the inner workings of the library and archive, gaining information about and insight into how they acquire and catalog their books, objects, and information. What I got instead was a comprehensive walk through of the MoMA’s online catalog and services available to the public both physically at the library as well as electronically.         MoMA archives

After introducing ourselves to the library staff and them doing the same with us, we were then introduced to the library; what it is, who can access it and how, and what is all in the library. An integral player in all this information is the MoMA’s online catalog. So what is there to know about MoMA’s library and their catalog? The most important thing to know about the MoMA’s catalog is not that it is completely online, nor is it the ease of searching everything from books to auction catalogs to archives. The most important part is that they decided to name it DADABASE and that is hilarious. In all seriousness what we learned as library and art history students about the DADABASE could easily be learned through some individual exploration of the museum’s page though often the existence of it falls under the radar of the average layman. That was a long-winded way of saying that I had no idea I had access to MoMA’s library and I had no idea what treasures it held and I am positive that I am not an anomaly in this scenario. It is a paradox of accessibility- a tool anyone can use, if only they know where to look for it.

Anyone who has access to a computer and internet has access to the DADABASE and anyone subsequently can make an appointment to see specific books or materials at the library through the website. We were shown during the meeting that the online catalog is much like any other online one search catalog. One of the librarians working at MoMA walked us all through searching the finding aids for the MoMA archives and their holdings.

As interesting and comprehensive as it is, the catalog is not perfect. We explored some of the errors in searching that can happen which are solves simply by being in the know, or of course consulting a librarian. In some cases, the catalog is tricky to search unless you are in the know about its organization. For example,  in the records for the finding aids in the archives section, the container lists, though mostly great,  if you search by the name of a person who was involved with press interviews you may get some results but others are hidden and more or less unsearchable. This flaw is due to the fact that the high volume of these interviews lead them to being cataloged by last initial. For example when looking through the Rona Roob Papers, and scrolling down to the “Collectors and Collecting,” a portion of this section stops being organized by individual collectors and begins with the truncated “collectors A-F.” The only way to find this document based on a collector that is in that “A-F” section is if you know the year and papers where the person you’re looking for would be recorded. The individual collectors in this section are not individually cataloged or tagged like in the sections organized by name instead of initial. This however, is really the only big flaw with how they online archive catalog is laid out and is easily solved by enlisting the help of one of the librarians.

Along with exploring and understanding the catalog and what is available to us as users, we learned about MoMA’s collection of artist books. They have a large variety of books that were created with the intention of being an artist book but some are a little more liminal. Something I found interesting and a bit unorthodox was how they decided to catalog artists books. Again, most are easy as most are sold and created as artists books but something MoMA does  differently is catalog books that aren’t artist books per se, but are instead artist books because they exhibit artistic elements. One example is a midcentury  advertising catalog  of which they have many issues. They would have the catalog regardless because it contains interesting and relevant information to MoMA but they decided to catalog it as an artist book instead of a magazine because the cover has interesting and unique design elements that were not necessarily common for a magazine of its type. 

The Museum of Modern Art Archives, Library, and Research Collections event was a little different than what I had gone in expecting. Regardless, I learned a lot about the MoMA archives that I truly wish I had known sooner. I know however, that they will be a great resource come thesis season for history of art grad students including myself.

Maximizing Generalizability, Precision, and Realism: A review of Incorporating Eye-tracking in UX Research to Inform Design

By armgar

Jen Romano–Bergstrom is a UX Research Lead at Instagram and Facebook. Some of her work currently involves survey design, usability testing, and writing. She is also known for using the research method known as eye-tracking to collect data based on human behavior. This technology now allows for users’ physical actions—all along with emotional responses—to be tracked for further analysis (Facebook Research, Person: Jen Romano–Bergstrom).

For a company and app like Instagram, this means they can determine what content users favor and how to guide them to it easily. The data is shared with influencers and advertisers. What does this mean to a regular user or the general public? Well, better placed ‘Like’, ‘Share’, and ‘Comment’ buttons…and ads, of course.

Furthermore, how would the methods employed in eye-tracking measure up to McGrath’s strategy circumplex in determining successful research on human behavior?

Generalizability

Romano-Bergstrom sums up that eye-tracking studies may be better for conducting research on those users who are not good with verbalizing their thoughts. The most notable (emphasized by Jen) is that people do not read dense text on Facebook and they only read what they need to read. Users are also reported to consume this content on mobile faster than they do on desktop.

The notable aspects of these summaries is that the Actors, in accordance with McGrath’s research strategies, cover a vast portion of the population. Evidence has been gathered between young and old, experts and novices, and mobile and desktop users in remote and lab settings.

Precision

Eye-tracking involves tracking users’ eye movements. Specifically, as users scroll through the apps, researchers can follow the linear movement of the eye and record lengths of time given to spans of attention versus gaze. This data can be represented virtually and in real-time. The maps created by the eye movement can be processed as video recordings or static images for later review.

There is a high level of control in recording the data represented: if the gaze falls of the screen, it can still be observed, but won’t affect the mapping process. The researcher can determine whether those ‘off-screen’ actions are relevant or not.

Realism

Researchers are also able to watch as users learn to interact with the product — something that can tell a lot about users’ behaviors. It is also valuable in the sense that testing can be accomplished successfully in unmoderated and remote testing.

Designers are able to test initial drafts by displaying screenshots and mock-ups on-screen that perform basic functions. Post-launch testing of features and things like copy, icons, placement  can also be administered.

The Dilemma

McGrath undoubtedly stresses that you cannot maximize all there criteria (McGrath 1994). In this case, the design of the eye-tracking research methods are well beyond flexible. 

There are three categories of the user experience data collected with Eye-tracking: Observational, Self-Report, and Physiological. Click patterns can be analyzed through observation. Meanwhile, users are more likely to think-aloud in a setting where eye-tracking is administered. They can report satisfaction and difficulty of the task more readily. If moderators are present, they have a chance to debrief the users. Tracking is also being expanded to include collection of emotional and electro-dermal activity through new quantitative/numerical coding.

From a physiological perspective, researchers can track the eye and observe what attracts users’ attentions. They can discover areas of confusion and/or interests. From this, designers and researchers can validate their updates to the content or the site’s interactive elements.

Sources

Facebook Research, Person: Jen Romano–Bergstrom. Retrieved October 27, 2017, from https://research.fb.com/people/romano-bergstrom-jen/

Jen Romano-Bergstrom, Incorporating Eye-tracking in UX Research to Inform Design (personal communication, October 11, 2017).

McGrath, J. (1994). “Methodology matters: doing research in the behavioral and social sciences.” Original paper. http://d.ucsd.edu/class/grad-IxD/2015/ private/readings/mcgrath_methodology_matters.pdf.

The UX of Virtual/VR Tour of Museum

By Elise Fu

Virtual tour of museums has been around for a while, but it is far from being widespread and popular, which I found it is a pity because it can really benefit a lot of people if we do it right. It is also a perfect category for the recent hottest tech – VR to implement. After browsing some virtual tour project of museums, I found some common issues and drawbacks and a few shining points. As a UX designer, I would like to try on analyzing these projects from a user experience perspective. Below are the key factors I found that matter the most for a good experience of virtual/VR tour of museums.

Smithsonian Museum Virtual Tour

(Typical setting of virtual tour: map, arrow, controller)

To clarify, a virtual tour is a simulation of an existing location, often composed of a sequence of videos or still images that are panorama. If it is still images, users often have the control of the pace and location where they “stand” and look at, the drawbacks are the scene is static and most of the projects are difficult-to-control. If it is video, then the location will be filmed at a walking pace while moving continuously from one point to another, where users have to follow the sequence and won’t have free control.

Virtual reality tours are the virtual tours that can be viewed and experienced by a VR viewer (headset). They are more immersive and have different controllers compared with viewing on a computer, tablet or phone, depending on which headset or app users use.

virtual-reality-museum-tour

3D vs 2D

There are two ways these virtual tours present the work in the museum – 2D photos or 3D model.

The most common way is using 2D still photos where users can only see the work from a certain angle, which presents the same scene with the physical museum but the experience is incomplete, such as the one from Smithsonian Nation Museum of Natural History.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

(2D Virtual Tour – Smithsonian Nation Museum of Natural History)

While some project use 3D model to rebuild a virtual museum, where each object is independent, so users can select, zoom in, and rotate to observe closely, such as the project of Ancient Sculptures of Vietnam.

3dSculpture-horse

(3D Virtual Tour – Ancient Sculptures of Vietnam)

From the user experience perspective, the experience of 3D is much better than the 2D one, because users can interact with objects. It also has the advantage of better storytelling, since the narrative or commentary can pair with each object, and be presented only when users select the object. Sketchfab, a 3D models platform, also has some exquisite 3D models in different categories including one for cultural heritage & history.

Sketchfab- Cultural Heritage & History

(Sketchfab.com)

User-control and Interaction

Another issue I found when experiencing the virtual tours is the awkward user-control.

In the most common 2D virtual tour, users can only stand in one location at a scene. The only interactions are rotating the viewing angle and zoom in/out. Since users can’t move horizontally, they can’t see the objects placed in the longest distance clearly. It means what users can see in the virtual tour is partial. The only movement users can take is to move the next scene by clicking the “large arrow” on the ground where the transition isn’t smooth and continuous either. I think the poor performace of user interaction is the most important reason why the virtual tours are not real enough so far.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History2

 

Narrative and Commentary

The accessibility and convenience of narrative or commentary should be the advantage of a virtual tour because users already have a device anyway. However, I can’t find the well-presented narrative or commentary in most of the cases. This is tied to the issues of 2D photos which can’t separate the objects within it.

For cultural heritage like the work in museums, the stories behind them are too important to neglect. On the app or website of Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art), there are great introductions and audio commentary for each work. While in its virtual tour, the narratives are still missing. Since this kind of narrative and commentary resources is already there, I would say adding them to the virtual tour should be the next step to improve the experience.

Met App

(App of The Met)

Searchability and Shareability

Other features that should be the advantages of the digital tour while missing are the searchability and shareability. When people are consuming information, search and share are the two vital parts of their behaviors. (Wilson, T. D., 2000). One happens at the beginning (of information behavior), and one happens in the end.

In the physical museum, people use a map to search and locate the information they want, and they take photos or write notes to share with others. While in the virtual tour, the map (often located on the top right corner of view) is majorly for switching location. There is no search bar or menu as other digital products, and the map is not listing enough details for users to easily locate the things they want.

Virtual Museum Tour Map

(2D Virtual Tour – Smithsonian Nation Museum of Natural History)

In terms of the shareability, if users experience the tours on the computer, tablet or phone, they may be able to take screenshots, although it is not convenient and personalized. If they watch with a VR headset, then there is no way for them to keep a record and share with others. Without the shareability, the virtual tours just lost the free yet powerful marketing opportunities – word-of-mouth.

I believe the virtual tours has great potential because it makes the best work and cultural heritage of the world more accessible to anyone. It has unique advantages compared with physical tour while there are still some gaps it needs to catch with the experience of the physical tour. Hopefully, it will happen soon as the evolvement of virtual reality and 3D modeling.

 

References:

[1] Dalbello, M. (2009). “Digital cultural heritage: concepts, projects, and emerging constructions of heritage,” Proceedings of the Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA Conference, 25-30 May, 2009

[2] Wilson, T. D. (2000). “Human information behavior.” InformingScience3(2): 49–56. http://ptarpp2.uitm.edu.my/ptarpprack/silibus/is772/HumanInfoBehavior.pdf.

[3] Virtual tour, Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_tour

[4] How VR Is Changing UX: From Prototyping To Device Design https://uxplanet.org/how-vr-is-changing-ux-from-prototyping-to-device-design-a75e6b45e5f8

[5] Smithsonian Nation Museum of Natural History http://naturalhistory.si.edu/VT3/NMNH/z_NMNH-016.html

[6] First 3D Virtual Museum with 3D scans of ancient relics – Ancient sculptures of Vietnam, http://vr3d.vn/trienlam/virtual-3d-museum-ancient-sculptures-of-vietnam

FACETS Un-Conference on Art & Artificial Intelligence

By Matt Bishop

 

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On Saturday, October 28, 2017, the Goethe-Institut in New York City hosted the FACETS Un-Conference on Art & Artificial Intelligence. This year’s topics ranged from ethical machine learning to human-AI communication to data security. I attended the keynote panel discussions on (1) the future of AI research and practice and (2) current issues at the intersection of AI and data security. What I found from these discussions is that there exists a lack of regulation over those who profit from the work of technologists and a general overconfidence in the information that an intelligent machine produces. This brief report will explore the issues raised in these panel discussions in relation to ongoing conversations in the field of information science.

 

What is FACETS?

FACETS is an “interdisciplinary creative coding, interactive art, and videogames un-conference” that focuses on underrepresented individuals in STEM fields and art (http://www.facets-con.com/). This year’s theme was on Art and AI. I attended the keynote panel discussions, “A (Realistic) Future of AI – What Can/Is AI Research Really Aiming for in the Near Future?” and “AI and Data Security.” The first of these discussions was moderated by Kenric McDowell (head of the Art + Machine Intelligence group at Google Research) and accompanied by Ida Momennejad (postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University who uses AI to research human neuropsychology) and Madeleine Elish (cultural anthropology researcher at the Data and Society Institute who focuses on cultural responses to automation and AI). The next discussion was moderated by Caroline Sinders (machine-learning designer and digital anthropologist at WikiMedia who focuses on online harassment) and accompanied by Kate Crawford (co-founder/director of the AI Now Research Institute and 2016 co-chair of the Obama White House symposium on the impacts of AI), Jer Thorp (former Data Artist in Residence at the New York Times and co-founder of The Office for Creative Research), and Chelsea Manning (former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army who exposed human rights violations committed by the U.S. military in Iraq). The range of voices included in these two discussions led to intriguing conversations between diverse perspectives on the current and near future states of AI.

 

A (Realistic) Future of AI – What Can/Is AI Research Really Aiming for in the Near Future?

This panel discussion started with a series of short presentations followed by an open discussion. Presentations covered AI-produced poetry and images, forms of human-like memory and agency in AI models, and potential moral crises of virtually autonomous AI (e.g. self-driving cars). The discussion that followed focused primarily on the concept of human-centrism in technology since the rise of agriculture and who owns (i.e. has a copyright) or is responsible for the actions of seemingly autonomous AI.

While the discussion on human-centrism in technology was interesting, it reached a fairly quick consensus: human-centrism may be useful to keep technology in check, but what we define as human is often discriminatory within our own species (e.g. racism and sexism), so an alternative focus on the results of agency may be more beneficial to the work of ethical technologists. The discussion on the moral ownership of AI actions was a bit more novel since it centered on what may be called the “moral crumple zone” (phrase mentioned by Madeleine Elish during her presentation), which exists when the behavior of an artificial intelligence defies the predictions of its creators because they do not understand all of the possible outcomes of the machine-learning algorithms that they have created. Current legislation firmly places the blame of AI actions on humans, i.e. either the creator or the user (through a contract, such as agreeing to terms and conditions). The moral crumple zone, however, is becoming more apparent as AI becomes increasing prevalent in our contemporary military and consumer landscapes, while life and death decisions are places in the “hands” of technology that even their creators do not fully understand. The panelists expressed some fear and uncertainty about what new legislation could form in the U.S. under the current presidential administration due to the pressures of business and military awareness of the moral crumple zone.

 

AI and Data Security

The panel discussion on AI and Data Security remained solely a discussion – no presentations were needed to dive right into the pressing issues. Through the curiosity of the other panelists and the moderator, and after the panelists’ introductions, Chelsea Manning started off the discussion by running through her top concerns about uses of AI in the military. She illustrated how machine learning used in the field is largely inaccurate: 50% probabilities are usually enough, and even 20% is considered enough in an actual war-zone. However, even more disturbing than these inaccuracies is how predictions in feedback loops are often interpreted in ways to fit a specific narrative. Intelligence analysts might focus on specific predictions that would impress their commanders or create stories or connections between predictions where none exist (this can also be done by the commanders themselves). A breakdown of a prediction of a potentially hostile target, in Manning’s case, was often misunderstood by commanders: explaining to a commander how a target predicted by an AI is simply formed from a specific, and low, degree of certainty based on potentially faulty training sets and field tests is likely to be ignored when another analyst can simple point out a target to the same commander. This point was expanded on by other panelists who expressed concern over how mass media outlets are currently reporting on studies that utilize AI. One example was the recent virality of a study on “AI gaydar,” which has been reported to determine if someone is “gay or straight” by only utilizing facial recognition technology. The panelists were frustrated by how few articles failed to stress the experimental design of the study, which used a limited pool of images from a dating site and was constricted to the site’s inadequate dichotomy of human sexuality. Furthermore, the timeliness of these images made the algorithms rely on visual stereotypes – a problem in facial recognition software that could help to preserve a status quo that would otherwise change, while also boldly assuming that physical traits can reliably expose interiority.

It seems that there is an increasing drive to trust unreliable conclusions of AI in our current economic and political climate, especially when so few regulations and standards are placed on AI research and on businesses and military agencies that utilize this technology. Panelists also expressed concern over the proliferation of black box algorithms (i.e. algorithms who’s inputs and outputs are considered without an understanding of their internal working) in public agencies since they are at odds with due process.

The panelists explored some solutions to their concerns:

  1. Temperature checks during coding to gauge the impact of work, especially for those that work in media sharing (e.g. Facebook timeline engineers) and search engines.
  2. Culture/education change for AI creators so that they are less separated from the real-world consequences of their work.
  3. Paying closer attention to the quality of training sets used in machine learning and putting a greater emphasis on communicating the quality of these training sets when sharing results.
  4. More regulation (through legislation) on AI research in private and public sectors.
  5. More restrictions on what data can be collected and stored by businesses and hold businesses accountable for this data’s security (note: Equifax data breech).
  6. Promote mass concern about the use of AI, especially in business – with regards to personal data – and in the military.

 

What’s Next?

The FACETS Un-Conference on Art & Artificial Intelligence exposed a lot of dire issues that are present in the use and creation of contemporary artificial intelligence. However, all of the panelists’ potential solutions for their concerns during the discussion periods of both panels were quite classic. The critical examination of information as it is collected, reconfigured, and then molded into new information should not be taken for granted in our current era of machine-learning technology. While all of the panelists shared how novel these situations are because of the incredible power of the new technologies that they have worked with, their solutions (such as paying close attention to training set data and expressing results clearly and accurately) are very typical to those in traditional information science professions. There exists a divide between some technologists and those in the humanities and traditional information professions that allows for creators and users of AI to skip the critical steps necessary to ensure a safe, secure, and accurate method of archiving, producing, and sharing information. The panelists at FACETS did an exemplary job at exposing and exploring this divide, and so I recommend that readers of this post who are interested in the intersection of technology, information, and art to check out their next event when it is announced. What I learned from this event makes the mission of Pratt’s School of Information seem even more urgent and timely: we need more information professionals who can critically examine how new technologies change our information landscape in order to better prepare us for the challenges that are already arriving.

 

Works Cited

FACETS. http://www.facets-con.com/. Accessed 28 Oct. 2017.

McDowell, Kenric, et al. “A (Realistic) Future of AI – What Can/Is AI Research Really Aiming for in the Near Future?” FACETS Un-Conference on Art & Artificial Intelligence, 28 Oct. 2017, Goethe-Institut, New York, NY. Keynote Panel Discussion.

Sinders, Caroline, et al. “AI and Data Security.” FACETS Un-Conference on Art & Artificial Intelligence, 28 Oct. 2017, Goethe-Institut, New York, NY. Keynote Panel Discussion.

Archives Week: Franklin Furnace

By swarga

When does a book become a danger to itself? Franklin Furnace Archive deals with this question on a regular basis. Their growing archive consists of artists’ books that are made from a plethora of materials and take on many forms – making preservation difficult. On October 23rd I attended the Archive’s open house to see for myself what these “books” look like and how they are stored.

The head archivist, Michael Katchen, opened with a brief history of the archive. Franklin Furnace Archive was founded by Martha Wilson in 1976, focusing on the collection of artists’ books and performances. In 1993, MoMA acquired their collection – contingent on certain terms, and in 1997 they transformed from a “physical exhibition space into an Internet-based one”1. In 2014, the archive moved to its current home on the 2nd floor of the former building of Pratt’s School of Information.

The terms agreed upon in this 1993 acquisition are incredibly interesting: whatever books are accepted into the Franklin Furnace in the future have to be accepted into MoMA’s archives as well,becoming part of their permanent collection. So, what are the criteria for a book to be accepted? Michael says that as long as the artist believes that what they are submitting is a book, then it is so. This means that I could submit two copies of a work, in any form whatsoever, and finally get my work into MoMA.2

Michael went on to explain technical details about the archive; how items are preserved, and how items are accessed. The nature of the collection means preservation is challenging. Books in the collection may not resemble books at all, and their materials can degrade easily. Books that fit into certain dimensions are kept in phase box enclosures, others are kept in whatever containers they were sent in. An example of a more unorthodox enclosure were two “books” that Michael accepted into the archive last year. He walked over to a shelf and pulled down two plastic white paint buckets, opened them, and removed two paint-dipped tomes. They were more form than text, and totally unreadable, but they push what the boundaries of what an artists’ book can be.

Many of the older books and book forms have accompanying video documentation from related performances by artists, which are accessible through their online event archives3. The physical items from the early days of the archive have time-based media documentation attached to them. To preserve those films, Franklin Furnace has a digitizing workstation to produce preservation copies and DVD’s.

 

Image result for ed ruscha every building on the sunset strip

Edward Ruscha, Every Building on the Sunset Strip, 1966

Anyone can go to the archive and experience the books. The only requirement: a clean set of hands, and the whole archive is at your disposal. I was able to touch and flip through Ed Ruscha’s original 1966 work, Every Building on the Sunset Strip, which is a 25-foot long accordion-folded book. Michael’s estimate of the work: around $20,000 or so. It was an empowering experience to be in such close contact with the works at Franklin Furnace, and I appreciated how much access they grant to the public.

1Franklin Furnace. “History & Collections.” Accessed October 25, 2017. http://http://franklinfurnace.org/research/index.php

2“Franklin Furnace Artists’ Books Collection.” Accessed October 25, 2017. http://franklinfurnace.org/research/moma-FF-artist_book_collection.php.

3Franklin Furnace. “Event Archives.” Accessed October 26, 2017. http://franklinfurnace.org/online_event_archives/index.php.

Observation of the Objects Conservation Lab at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

By Kcalnan

Below the strategically designed exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA) lies a conservation student’s paradise: the Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation. I had the privilege of taking a personal tour of the objects conservation lab with Associate Conservator Anne Grady on October 28th, 2017. As a prospective conservator, the inside look at the conservation lab was both exciting and enlightening. Each work station had a unique object in the process of being conserved. Objects ranged from an antique piano, to a Buddha statue, to stained glass windows, to a sarcophagus, to British couches and chairs. The stained glass window had been disassembled for cleaning and repair. The sarcophagus was being analyzed in order to reinforce weak areas and subsequently be returned to the Egyptian Wing for display. The furniture was being cleaned and prepared for display in the new British exhibit, which is set to open in 2019.

Ms. Grady was extremely knowledgeable and willing to share her personal stories and passion for conservation. She began the tour by discussing the broad history of conservation and how she became a conservator. Ms. Grady graciously shared an enlightening story from her fellowship time at the Met. She spent one year analyzing and conserving an 8’x4’ piece of wrought iron art that had previously been in storage. During the first two months, she analyzed the paint. She took cross-sections of the paint and determined that there were eight layers of paint. Before she could proceed with the conservation, she and a group of conservators and curators gathered to determine an appropriate course of action. As a group, they had to determine which color paint they preferred on the surface for the exhibit. They had to consider the context in which the object would be shown and they had to acknowledge that each paint color represented a piece of that object’s history. Each decision regarding the conservation of an object involves an ethical decision, especially when the work to be done is irreversible. Is it better to conserve an object and extend its life or let it decay as the artist had anticipated?

During the tour, Ms. Grady also mentioned how the conservators manage “difficult heritage” objects. She personally had not worked with any objects from indigenous peoples. She did mention that the conservator assigned to indigenous peoples’ objects consults the respective indigenous peoples whenever possible. This process ensures that appropriate conservation methods are utilized. When Ms. Grady mentioned consulting with indigenous peoples, I recalled a story that I previously shared on Twitter about the Smithsonian Institution collaborating with the Alaskan Tlingit tribe to create a replica of their sacred killer whale hat. It was comforting to know that the MMA takes appropriate measures when conserving indigenous peoples’ objects. Ms. Grady compared it to contacting an artist when they conserve that artist’s piece since their insight is extremely valuable to the conservation process. The most surprising element of my observation was when Ms. Grady informed the group that the Native American art had only recently been moved into the American Wing of the MMA. It had previously been displayed in the Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas Wing. The transition seemed a bit overdue and made me ponder as to why it had not always been displayed in the American Wing. I recalled the article “Is ‘Difficult Heritage’ Still ‘Difficult’?” where Sharon Macdonald discussed how museum exhibits can shape public memory of past atrocities. Macdonald stated that the “relatively durable physical crystallizations of particular ways of regarding the past provide a lens into what is deemed worthy of such effort” (2015, 7).  Exhibiting Native American art in any wing other than the American Wing of the MMA is denying that Native American culture is American. Macdonald considered the acknowledgement of difficult heritage as progress for aggressor countries. Therefore, I believe that Macdonald would view the recent relocation of the Native American art as a positive development in United States history.

I thoroughly enjoyed my tour of the objects conservation lab and aspire to return as a conservator in the future. The observation reinforced my desire to become a conservator and afforded me the opportunity to see the type of setting in which I could feasibly pursue my career. Ms. Grady also mentioned that the majority of conservators currently working at the MMA are white females from the northeast. Much like the libraries studied in Jennifer Vinopal’s article “The Quest for Diversity in Library Staffing: From Awareness to Action,” the conservation department at the MMA lacks diversity (2016). Fortunately, this fuels my pursuit of a career as a conservator and only inspires me to continue my quest.

 

Macdonald, Sharon. 2015. “Is ‘difficult heritage’ still difficult?” Museum International 67: 6-22.

Solly, Meilan. 2017. “This Replica of a Tlingit Killer Whale Hat Is Spurring Dialogue About Digitization.” Smithsonian.com. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/replica-tlingit-killer-whale-hat-spurring-dialogue-about-digitization-180964483/.

Vinopal, Jennifer. 2016. “The Quest for Diversity in Library Staffing: From Awareness to Action.” Lead Pipe. http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2016/quest-for-diversity.

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