Showing posts from January, 2008

Darwin 2009 - The Festival

I have been asked to organise a programme for the 2009 Darwin festival: Darwin 2009 - The Festival

Label clouds and the classic Blogger template

Now that blogger have sabotaged the automatic label cloud sidebar script I have had to resort to manual methods - and these were easily explained in the following very useful blog: Dummies' Guide to Blogger: Add Label (category or tag) List to blog using old classic Blogger template

University of Worcester - Kevin Flude

Worcester have put me up on their staff web site as a: Occasional Lecturer in Museum Studies Strange seeing you from a CV chosen by someone else! University of Worcester - Kevin Flude

Free evaluation factsheets

MLA are distributing free fact sheets for evaluation. They can be f0und here: Fact sheets in the Renaissance MLA

Scarred Earth to enter the 'Anthopocene Epoch'

It has been proposed that we end the Holocene and inaugurate an inglorious new era called the Anthopocene - the one we mucked up. Scarred Earth to enter the 'Anthopocene Epoch' - Telegraph

Audio Spotlight - Put sound where you want it.

this products looks likely to put paid to the problem in museums where sound can ruin the tranquilty of the museum experience. It allows sound to be be beamed to an individual Audio Spotlight - Put sound where you want it.

Bionic Contact lenses

The day we all get bionic ability extensions is coming closer! Contact lenses with Terminator vision - Telegraph

The Heritage Reader

New book for heritage courses just published. The Heritage Reader : "The Heritage Reader Edited by Graham Fairclough, Rodney Harrison, John Schofield, Jnr., John H. Jameson List Price: $160.00 Add to Cart * ISBN: 978-0-415-37285-5 * Binding: Hardback (also available in Paperback) * Published by: Routledge * Publication Date: 20/12/2007 * Pages: 600"

Bad Medicine Not?

This is a very interesting paper which might be read in conjunction with Bad Medicine by David Wootten - at least he recommends it as a counter view to his polemic. What is interesting is that the paper shows how difficult the statistics are to interpret, so that any statement about what caused the improvement in life expectancy is very difficult to pin down. Factors which might account for it are: Public health improvements Domestic Hygiene Medical Care Nutrition There are some signs of improvements in the 18th Century in terms of maternity and infant deaths - if these can be believed then it is possible medicine made some contribution. But there seems to be no simple answers. Medical and Demographic History: Inseparable? -- Woods 20 (3): 483 -- Social History of Medicine Medical and Demographic History: Inseparable? -- Woods 20 (3): 483 -- Social History of Medicine

Digitisation Available Online

Very useful links here to interesting digitisation projects Available Online

Label Cloud - blogger shafts it!

What is given with one hand is taken away with the other. I found a neat method to create a 'label cloud' for my blog. Worked very well, but about 1 week after putting work into creating it, blogger dropped the feed, changed their system and the label cloud no longer works. As they have made a decision to abandon those who use classic templates rather than their new layout system, seems unlikely I can find a way to use their label cloud.

Projecting onto Water

Very interesting use of projection - onto a screen of water droplets. Marketing Magic: Move Over Godzilla, The Loch Ness Monster Terrorizes Tokyo Narrative environments

Image Libraries and Digitisation

James Stevenson and Catherine Draycott, from the V&A and the Wellcome Trust Library gave very informative talks about dealing with images in museums for my UCL course. V&A images can be searched here: The Wellcome here : What was particularly interesting was how complicated a full picture library set up was - with photographers, researchers, curators, administrators, finance and contract aspects. Also, the Wellcome and the V&A have interests in widening use of their images, so their licenses are not as constrictive or as expensive as one might imagine. The Wellcome make use of 'Creative Commons' licenses for example, which allows use of their images for non-commercial uses. From a small museum point of view, I think the following issues arose: 1. A picture library requires very high quality images - one should aim for a resolution that a printer can use to create a A3 reproduction at 300 dpi. This may take up 50mb of storage. 2. The original scan or photgr

Screen Reader - pwWebSpeak

Screen reader useful for checking accessibility of web site. pwWebSpeak

Web Accessibility

Donna Haugh from UCL gave a talk on web accessibility to my UCL class. It was very concise and very good. She began by reminding us that accessibility makes sense from a marketing viewpoint - allowing the maximum exposure to our web sites. She also made the point that the law requires reasonable adjustment to be made and did not set an absolute standard - she urged the use of disclaimers and offers of further help if all parts of the web site cannot be entirely accessible. But the offer should be made. The starting point should be an awareness of how the web can be accessed by those with accessibility problems using assistive technologies. These technologies mean that rollovers and dropdown menus might be particularly difficult. Other common problems include: the tab order as some navigate by using the tab key to find the next link; tables as the order may not be clear in an audio setting; contrast and screen resolution (make sure site looks good using 800 by 600 resolution. F

'And Did Those Feet'- Cultural Heritage Resources - final? web design?

My final fight with CSS coding - managed to tidy up my web site a little, by moving the main nav bar to the top (as on and a few other tweaks - it looks a bit better. Couple more bits of tidying up necessary, and then I might be able to concentrate on the content! And Did Those Feet - Cultural Heritage Resources - what we do

London Cultural Consortium

This is the committee of the great and the good directing the Culture of London under Ken's aegis. London Cultural Consortium

The Flude Medal a gift to the United States in 1785

My brother Stephen Flude, has a file on the subject John Flude of Gracechurch Street and the Dartmouth College medalgiven by him to the College in 1785. John Flude gave the medal to Dartmouth college as a memento of his regard for America - his friend Mr Grout conveyed it to the USA. This happened on 5th April 1785, only 9 years after the declaration of independence, so the USA was still a very political matter. The medal has a scene on it from Aesop's fables about a father not being reconciled with his son which I imagine was chosen as a metaphor of GB and the USA. There is a picture of the shop of Mr Flude at 3 Gracechurch St, (a trade card?) and John Flude was a silversmith come pawnbroker. John Flude was a subscriber to the American Subscriber. A Freeholder in the Innholders Company -1764 a liveryman. He is buried I think in St Mary-at-Lambeth, his widow was Hanna Flude, buried in Deptford 30/08/1823 There is a picture of the medal being wor

Page Rank, Spiders and official sites

The article linked below makes comments about Yahoo plans to improve on Google's page rank system which is designed to be an aid to finding the appropriate site when using Google. They both use complex algorithms to provide the best fit to the searchers request. One major factor is the number of links to the site. However, they seem to be missing one factor - or at least not giving enough weight to one particular factor - namely the official site. Sometimes a searcher is looking for one thing only - the official site. More often than not you want to see what the organisation says for itself, not what some one else says about it. So if you type in bbc, tate, the old operating theatre museum whatever the page rank is you actually want the official site. The problem of course is how does a dumb engine work out what is the official site? Google maps allows users to put in their location on the map, and perhaps something similar could be tried - self registration. Or if a site e

How London was built Podcast - Adam Hart Davies

The History Channel has provided guided walks to go with its TV series - the guided walks can be downloaded here onto your ipod or mp3 player. The city to southwark tour, for example, includes visits to Guildhall, Bank of England, Monument and the Old Operating Theatre Museum. They are described as 'whistle-stop' and so they are! The Old Operating Theatre Museum and shows Sarah talking about operations to AHD. I note that Adam Hart Davies has grown a pointy beard in some scenes and not in others and his clothes change several times on the walk. The History Channel - Podcast

WorldPay - how not to set up a help page

Due to changing my credit card, my payments for my domains failed - so they send me an email - I follow the links, to their shopper page. How to change credit card details - and all the links to the faq's fail - leaving absolutely no way to make sure the payment is made. Ok, lets see if I can contact them - absolutely no contact us button on the site - no way to find someone human to talk to. I have to go to the Royal Bank of Scotland site, then follow their contact us route, several layers down before I find some email to send to. The thing that is shocking as exactly the same happened two years ago and I emailed them about it then. Still they have not fixed it. Paypal is much easier! WorldPay Shopper Help

History of Seoul City Walls

This week we had out first crit on the Seoul city Walls project. Posted various things on the villaneous web site forum (using Vanilla. This is a description of the walls History of Seoul City Walls Summary in 1394 Joseon Dynasty moved capital to Hanyang (Seoul), built palaces and shrines first then in 1395 built the walls. Smoke Signal station on the Walls at M Mongmyeok very important communications centre receiving signals from 5 national network of signal towers. Wall construction begun in the leap month of the 9 th month of the year in 1395. Route surveyed by scholar Jeong D- Jeon (story of the route being where the snow boundary was - inside no snow, outside snow). Very organised building campaign, central admin, divided up control into 97 sections each 600 cheok long (193m), 59,500 cheok in all (c19km). Each section given a chinese letter - starting with Sky ending with 97 th letter of the 1000 basic chinese letters 97 was console. Staff team for each section

Interpretation of London City Walls

Notes on the interpretation of the London City Walls as case-study for Seoul City Walls project The London City Wall was built in the Roman period (around 180 -200 AD), repairs, heightening and building of some Bastions took place in the Medieval period. When the City expanded outside of the Walls in the 16th Century the integrity of the Walls was abandoned, and property owners often either destroyed the wall or incorporated it into the back wall of their properties. However, because of the tendency to maintain property boundaries, much of the line of the City wall remained inherent in the City Plan. In the 1760's the City Gates (7 of them) were pulled down as part of road widening to reduce traffic jams at the City Gate. Fragments of the London City Wall survive in 5 or 6 places - in one place right up to the Crenellations. Several of these fragments were revealed by bombing in the blitz, and the ruined structures obscuring the walls were removed or cleaned up to allow the publ

Lucia Mannella curates Mark Humphrey exhibition

I attended the private view of Mark Humphrey's 'Interior Jewel Sculptures' at the Italian Cultural Institute in Belgrave Square. Mark Humphrey was showing furniture and objects - which had the duel purpose of being beautiful and functional. They were made from marble quarried and worked by craftsmen from Pietrasanta in Tuscany. The stone was very lovely, although the objects themselves would be out of place except in the richest of settings. Toshiko, one of the former students on the CSM Creative Practice in Narrative Environments course, had designed a lovely banner from Mark Humphrey's drawings. The building was sumptous, the objects gorgeous, the people stunning, the organisation by Lucia Mannella impeccable and the wine copious! Lucia is in my tutorial group this year. More information on the exhibition click here :

The Short history of the Red, Rubber Band - Yonatan Vinitsky talk at the Old Operating Theatre Museum

The Short history of the Red, Rubber Band - Utility, Usefulness and Gathering Yonatan's talk went very well with nearly a full house. He interwove talk about the history and function of rubber bands with his work, and various readings and ideas about Lee Miller, the holocaust with a backdrop of an eclectic series of photos and videos. The operating theatre in the gloom of the evening made the low key delivery, switching between different sets of notes on clipboards, note books, pieces of paper, which he did with quiet authority. seem strangely performative. At the end the rubber band seemed to be a metaphor for the resilience of the Jewish people. More information here:

Millais exhibition

I visited the Millais Exhibition on its last day-long queue. Good exhibition, though, as the variety of Millais work was quite amazing. he has his super-realistic Preraphaelitic method which he seemed to use to the end, and his softer, less precise late style which is so different, and according to the texd was influenced by Valasquez. The design was simple, the route was chronological, the texts were simply written, concise not twaddle. Interesting terms they used: erotic longings - (mariana) operatic illustionism - which is the stuff before the pre=-Raphaelitis - I assume frith etc. phyical yearnings pychological realism ie. Moving away from the idealism of the past. -- Sent from my Treo mobile phone, so apologese for spelliing and abrieviations. If using this I am ilkely to be out of the office for at least the day

UCl Digitisation Course

I have begun teaching the digitisation and museums course at UCL. First, sesssion very introductory, second was on basic principles of design. Some of the content can be seen here:

Web Style Guide:

Good site with useful advice on setting up a web site project - more descriptive than a tutorial but does act as a good description of the process. Web Style Guide: PROCESS ICT

Color Wheel

This is a great colour wheel - you can hover over it and get the html and rgb colours. Very useful for web site design and ICT generally. 4096 Color Wheel Version 2.1

Watercolours of the Great Exhibition

Nice collections of the inside of the Great Exhibition 1851. On display at the V&A. Watercolours of the Great Exhibition - Victoria and Albert Museum

The British Museum's Mission: Cultural Ambassador to the World - New York Times

Neil MacGregor of the British Museum has been appointed 'cultural ambassador; to the world and a budget of £3m to coordinate a series of outreach projects with the world. In an interview I heard he refered to the 6 global cultural institutions in Britain coordinating their work with local institutions to help develop lasting ties and help the local organisations. The British Museum's Mission: Cultural Ambassador to the World - New York Times museums, archaeology

First Christmas celebration linked to the Lupercal

Professor Andrea Carandini, who thinks his team have found the site where the Romans believed Romulus and Reamus were suckled, claims that the building of St Anastasia near the site was an attempt to christianise it. The Church was built just after the Council at Arles which in 325 chose to use the Saturnalia as the day for the celebration for the birth of Christ - 25th December. The professor believes therefore that the first Christmas celebration on 25th December was in St Anastasia in 325 AD. Italian expert links first Christmas celebration to pagan shrine in Rome - International Herald Tribune Archaeology

The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947- 1957 - Victoria and Albert Museum

Went to see the Couture Exhibition at the V&A Museum. Well worth the trip the dresses, the manikins and the films were excellent. From a learning point of view I thought it consolidated my knowledge of the period and of fashion and gave a little detail of the main couture houses. Little on the dress owners, or the dress makers, and maybe not enough photos, or printed ephemera (fashion magazines). The design was clear and stylish - and the use of film good, First room looked great with stunning dresses and an interesting film showing the padding the models wore. The second space was not so successful maybe because it was so crowded, the conceit was that it was a stylish shopping area - the cases were square, two sides revealed the objects backed by sets or photos and the other two sides were made to look like shops or buildings. It did not really work as it restricted the viewing opportunities and as so crowded that it made watching the screens, and seeing the objects difficul

Powerpoint and I mpress Presentations file compressor

I have found my powerpoint files are huge, much larger than necessary but reducing them in size seemed to me to mean recreating them from scratch or at least importing the pictures again. But I found 'nxpowerlite' which compressed by powerpoint files which I create in Open Office Impress but save as ppt. It reduced them marvellously by about 90% and I cannot see any difference in the quality of the images. NXPowerLite ICT

New Year at the Old Operating Theatre

January 5th - first day the Museum opened in 2008 - I was duty office as one of the team was ill. The stairs lights were not working so rather than close we purchased a set of emergency lighting - using torches, bike lights and LED lanterns. It worked rather well and the directional lighting made the staircase rather magical. Got a bit more difficult when dusk arrived as did not have enough lighting for the shop but a desk top lamp will probably solve this and the electrician is coming on Monday morning. Quiet start to the day but soon gathers pace and about 30 - 35 attending the talk I gave on victorian surgery.

Magic Studio interactive resources for teachers

This is an interactive resource designed for teachers - I would guess very easy to use but a little limited? Interactive - Magic Studio - Magic ict museums

The Participative Web | Kimind Consulting

I have been mulling over the idea that a fundamental 'paradigm shift' in Kuhn's terminology has been taking place. Just as liberal humanism was followed by modernism and structuralism, and those by their post-modern and post structuralist movements, we now seem to be entering a new age in which the paradigm is participation. Wikipedia, MySpace, YouTube and other web 2.0 technologies are leading the way to a new future. Architects are increasingly consulting with their public, and politicians allow on-line petitions and on-line voting. It can only be a short time before we the public help draw up laws. I wonder if the attacks on the reliability of wikipedia are similar to attacks on antiseptic surgery - i.e. the old guard fearful of a new emerging reality. I have not published anything about this and am now probably too late as these thoughts are surfacing. The Participative Web | Kimind Consulting ict

Web 2.0 Definition: TechEncyclopedia from TechWeb

A solid definition of web 2.0. Web 2.0 Definition: TechEncyclopedia from TechWeb ICT - The Web 2.0 Bullshit Generator

Having read all the hype on Web 2.0 - how do you incorporate it in your reports and briefings. Here is the answer go to the emptybottle bullshit generator! Remember always 'Baffle by Bullshit! - The Web 2.0 Bullshit Generator ict

Web 2.0 how-to design style guide

This describes web 2.0 design - the author describes different definition of Web 2.0 but here uses it in the sense of web 2.0 style of design. Key to it seems to be simplicity. Web 2.0 how-to design style guide ICT

Narrative issues

Had a meeting at CSM to look at the narrative theory the students are being taught this year. Interesting discussion on various 'tenets' of narrative derived from readings in literary theory. Personally, I found them a little prescriptive. For example: 'Narrative must be in the past' This relates to the idea of someone telling the story - which must, in some sense, have already happened for someone to tell it. However, it is surely not an absolute. An interactive story telling might well not be in the past in this sense, the story might emerge. Obviously Science Fiction in based in the future, but normally written as if in the future of the future. 'Narrative must be a journey' 'Narrative must have a crisis, followed by a resolution.'' 'Narrative must have a narrator' I would say not must but 'often' or 'normally' or even 'should be' but I think in narrative there is absolutely no must - I think the ways of st

Sizer - resizes browsers to set size for testing web pages

Very useful little utility which resizes windows to set dimensions - good for testing what your site will look like on other people's screen. Size r ICT

ICT for Museums

I have been preparing a lecture on ICT for Museums for UCL and updated by web page accordingly. ICT for Museums The difficulty is how to cover simple ICT stuff in way suitable for a M.A. and which is particularly relevant to the Museum world. I'm thinking of doing it in an interactive participatory way and to build up our own definitions.

Listing of 18 historic buildings for their links to the abolition of slavery

Tomb of James Stephen Churchyard of Old Church of St Mary, Stoke Newington, Church Street, Hackney, London This has been re listed in order to increase representation of people associated with anti-slavery. James Stephen was associated with the Clapham Sect and witnessed a trail of 4 innocent slaves in the West Indies who were sentenced to be burnt. It alerted him to the iniquity of slavery. Department for Culture Media and Sport - Listing of 18 historic buildings amended to highlight their links to the abolition of slavery

Keeping a creative journal in the museum and heritage world

I have been keeping a 'creative journal' for just over a year now and so, thought it might be an idea to review its usefulness. My method is to buy a really nice A4 book. I divide page in 2 and headline each day. I use pictures to represent places I have visited and events I have attended. The pictures are mostly taken from my Treo mobile phone - quality is appalling but it is always with me so like a lomu gives some interesting result. I try and take pictures of me in various places - although I don't like it as I've got to the age when all pictures remind you that you are getting old and ugly! I would like to illustrate the journal with drawing but cannot draw - I do intend to go on a course to try to learn to draw. I also use printed ephemera whenever possible and should continue with this. I use words to describe the day,and have tried using headings, subheadings, underlining and use of icons for repeating events to make it easier to scan through. I have tried to