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published: April, 2002

Archives & Museum Informatics, 2002.
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License


Beyond Data Driven: The Development of Mystic Seaport's Website
James Blackaby, Mystic Seaport Museum, USA

Session: My Web, My Way

Mystic Seaport was faced with redesigning an old website that had grown to an unruly 10,000 files representing more or less 2,000 separate web pages many of which were accessible only by luck or through the use of a site search engine. In addition, there was considerable pressure to make collections resources available online, to develop the online store and e-business opportunities, to serve potential visitors and tourist markets, to develop new online educational opportunities, and solve a long list of institutional ills, respond to a number of strategic plans, and capitalize on many perceived opportunities. The problem was not uncommon.

The solution was to approach the entire website from the point of view of the basic information architecture of the museum, the perceived users of museum information (based on a variety of audience surveys), and a set of realizable information management goals. Institutionally, the website becomes a manifestation of a lively information architecture encompassing collections, programs, products, customer management, the calendar, and publications. In some cases, existing information management solutions were applied more or less directly to the web. In others, new solutions utilizing the web were developed.