I attended the Museums and Mobile 2011 Online Conference and Virtual Expo on October 26th.
I was interested particularly in attending the presentation of the Biblion: The Boundless Library app released by the New York Public Library.
The presentation speaker from the New York Public Library was Deanna Lee. She started the session with a poll, asking if those in the room felt the NYPL was a museum. Most people voted – Good Question.
An interesting quote by Lee from the session was “We want to establish ourselves as leaders in information. If anyone here is from a library you know you get calls everyday saying ‘Are E-Readers killing libraries?’ Rather than being made obsolete, we could show, if we did this that we had the creativity and the potential to be at the forefront of new forms of communication and, critically, that we could be leaders in innovative design with a purpose. And so my overall point is media and content and digital presentation can and should tie it all together.”
The launch edition of the app is Worlds of Tomorrow which highlights their extensive 1939 -40 World’s Fair Collection. The library has 2500 boxes of content from 1939-40 world’s fair and over 700 of the rare items are provided in the app including letters, drawings, photographs, and film and sounds clips. The app also features essays by scholars on certain aspects of the fair.
The app is great, as Justin mentioned, for researchers and others who wish to view these collections and now do not need to go to the NYPL to do it. It’s also obviously great for the collection in a way, as it won’t be handled nearly as much as in the past, being one of their most heavily used archival collections. Although it’s more of a reference app, I found it to be incredibly interesting and I got a bit lost in it for example reading many letters of people trying to get their family members in the Fair’s various freak shows. I’m interested to see what the next edition will be.
Though the app was made for the IPad, anyone can access it free online at this link:
I also used the Museum of Modern Art app. I found that it was really filled with a lot of content. I enjoyed the Today at MoMA feature, which instantly showed me the special events, exhibitions, or films being screened. I found it interesting that there were several different audio options for many of their famous pieces of art – Kids, Teens, Collection, Special Exhibition, and Visual Descriptions. I tried to experience them all as much as I could although after a while I couldn’t really stand the Teen option. I found the Visual Descriptions to be very well done. As a few other people mentioned, I didn’t really feel very engaged, as it just kind of felt like an audio tour with pictures on my phone.