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published: April, 2002

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


The Perils of the Online Exhibition Catalogue
Maya Hoptman, The Detroit Institute of Arts, USA

Demonstration: Demonstrations 1

The demonstration will discuss the production of a Web-based exhibition catalogue for "Artists Take on Detroit: Projects for the Tricentennial." This was a first for the Detroit Institute of Arts. Because this was a show of installation art, we opted for a catalogue that would be online only, to allow for multimedia and for the fact that the works of art didn't exist until they were installed in the galleries just before the opening.

I will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of creating a catalogue in this way. We released the catalogue in two phases: a "preview" and the final book. It was difficult to convince authors that using the Web isn't "automatic," that thoughtful architecture, design, and programming are costly in money and time. The resulting site is satisfying, allowing treatments not achievable in a print book. However, the process was a "learning experience" that will affect the way our department approaches online publication in the future.