How-To Session
Wise Stones Project (Mines and Metal Museum – MM Gerdau)
Tainacan (Brazillian CMS – Collection Management System)
WhatsApp Monitor (Brazillian monitoring tool for social media)
BuzzSumo (Content analyzer tool)
CrowdTangle (Monitoring tool for social midia)
Google Ngram Viewer (Online search engine)
Yoast SEO (WordPress Plugin)
TextExpander (Writing tool)
Collabtive (Management tool)
Trello (Management tool)
Todoist (Management tool)
OneNote (Digital notebook)
Izi.travel (Storytelling platform)
Metaverse (Augmented reality platform)
How-To Session

Web writing for museums: Analyzing principles and best writing practices for digital media through the “Wise Stones (Pedras Sabidas) Accessible Circuit” case study

Museum communication professionals have developed theories and knowledge about museum texts and institutional discourse. However, over the past decades, the digital revolution has brought about deep changes in our behavior with respect to written words in digital support. Such support can be found not only on the web (virtual museums and institutional websites), but also in exhibit facilities, through interactive interfaces, apps, QR Codes and other digital media that form our contemporary exhibits. This requires a change in current writing paradigms toward the best ways to impart knowledge in museums and over the Internet. Therefore, the various players responsible for museum texts (curators, museologists, historians etc.) are now required to master several previously non-existent skills. In this work we want to discuss writing in museums starting from digital support, both for the web and for interactive exhibitors. We created writing guidelines based on new web writing techniques and current demands, without prejudice to the primary functions of a museum. As an example of our reflections, we intend to study the case of the Project “Wise Stones (Pedras Sabidas) Interactive Exhibitors’ Accessible Circuit”, which is a roadmap consisting of accessible digital interfaces, exposed at the Mines and Metal Museum (MM Gerdau) in the City of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. This Project received an award from the Ibermuseus Program in 2016. In this work we analyze, therefore, the written production both of the project’s website and of the interactive interfaces’ content, exemplifying, through the Wise Stones Accessible Circuit, that which we define as “exhiwriting” (digital exhibition writing). This is a proposal of web writing principles for museums, encompassing the best writing practices for social media and for the web, without giving up the sophistication and depth required by museum communication, thus fulfilling our museums’ social function.

Published paper: https://mw19.mwconf.org/paper/web-writing-for-museums-analyzing-principles-and-best-writing-practices-for-digital-media-through-the-case-study-wise-stones-pedras-sabidas-accessible-circuit/

Prezi Presentation: https://prezi.com/view/Fv39AswMWYcQqksmxo8R/

PDF Presentation: Web writing for museums – Ana Cecília – MuseWeb2019

Wise Stones Project (Mines and Metal Museum – MM Gerdau)

The project “Wise Stones (Pedras Sabidas) Interactive Interface Accessible Circuit” is a roadmap consisting of four accessible digital interfaces, exposed permanently in the various floors of the Mines and Metal Museum (MM Gerdau) in the City of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. During the visit, which does not have to be previously scheduled, patrons can touch and handle multiple samples of original museum pieces interactively enhanced by audio information, texts, zoomed images of the samples and sign language, intended to provide access to all visitors, anytime. Noteworthy is the fact that the audio information was developed in collaboration with blind and visually impaired participants, who, during a focus group session, pointed out what they can sense while touching the geological samples. The project originated from the master’s work of one of the authors, Roberto Vaz (Portugal), in partnership with the laboratory LavMUSEU/UFMG, coordinated by Professor Ana Cecília Rocha Veiga (Brazil). The prototype, developed in the initial stage, had good acceptance from both normal-sighted and visually impaired visitors, furthering the development of an international joint effort for research between UFMG, the museum and the Bragança Polytechnic Institute (IPB), in Portugal, through Professor Paula Odete Fernandes.

Wise Stones Website (Portuguese): https://mmgerdau.webmuseu.org/
Wise Stones Website (English): https://mmgerdau.webmuseu.org/en/

Tainacan (Brazillian CMS – Collection Management System)

Tainacan is a platform consisting of free WordPress tools (theme and plugin) allowing the management and development of digital collections to be done as easily as blog posting, and meeting all requirements of a professional platform for museum collections. Tainacan has a GitHub open code, managed by MediaLab at the Federal University of Goiás (UFG), having the Brazilian Ministry of Culture and the Brazilian Museums Institute (IBRAM) as partners. This is, in our opinion, one of today’s most promising specific initiatives for cultural collections, especially for having WordPress as a starting point. Tainacan benefits from each WordPress improvement or additional functionality. Along with Omeka, Collective Access and Collection Space, Tainacan is being tested and evaluated, by means of a survey-action and usability tests, in the “Virtual Museums Cultural Blogs” project, maintained by LavMUSEU/UFMG.

Online collections developed under Tainacan: Indians Museum, National Historical Museum.

Indians Museum Online Collection Home Page. Source: Tainacan, 2019.
Online repository of the Indians Museum developed under Tainacan. Source: Tainacan, 2019.
Online item of the Indians Museum. Source: Tainacan, 2019.
Online zoom item of the Indians Museum. Source: Tainacan, 2019.
Tainacan Instructive Example - Collection.
Tainacan Instructive Example - Item.
WhatsApp Monitor (Brazillian monitoring tool for social media)

WhatsApp Monitor is a social media monitoring tool developed by Locus/UFMG (Social Communication Laboratory – Fake News-Free Election Project), allowing message ranking, links, videos and images forwarded in politically-oriented public Whatsapp groups. That tool was used by LavMUSEU/UFMG to monitor museum-related fake news during Brazil’s 2018 election period.

How it works? This system shows the most shared image, video, audio, messaging, and URLs content across over 300 WhatsApp public groups daily. Such groups are open groups, accessible through invitation links that are published on websites well as on various social networks like Facebook and Twitter. In this way, this system view of which images, memes and news were more frequent in the chats of the Brazilians. We hope that this system will make all information shared by Brazilians in public WhatsApp groups more transparent. To identify images with inappropriate content, we use the Yahoo Open NSFW Model, considering as improper all images with a score higher than 0.8, as suggested by the authors.  (Source: WhatsApp Monitor Demo)

BuzzSumo (Content analyzer tool)

BuzzSumo is a tool that allows the analysis of the best-performing content for a given topic. This content analyzer provides a list that ranks the content mentioning a specific term to be queried. It presents how many shares and/or how much engagement a given content obtained on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Reddit. It also provides the number of articles analyzed, total engagement, average engagement, among other detailed statistics. The search can be refined by date, country, language, filter domains, content type, word count and publisher size. In addition to the content analyzer, BuzzSumo includes other features, such as influencer analyzer, trend identifier in news and monitoring tools (brand mentions, competitor mentions, content from a website, backlinks etc). The search for the term “museums” on BuzzSumo pointed to an article in BBC about the fire in Rio de Janeiro’s National Museum as the first topic with most engagement past year.

CrowdTangle (Monitoring tool for social midia)

CrowdTangle is a platform that allows internet content tracking, taking social performance measures and identifying digital influencers. The free resource currently available to the general public consists of a Chrome Extension showing the number of Facebook interactions and top referrals (number of times posted, total interactions and total followers, with a segmented list of followers). The data can be downloaded in Excel worksheet format. This is one of the research tools used by LavMUSEU/UFMG in benchmarking and content results analysis.

Google Ngram Viewer (Online search engine)

Google Ngram Viewer is an online search engine allowing users to view the comparative frequency of words in books stored on Google Books. It presents the results in graphs and reports. In the process of text writing for museums and their websites, this tool helps in the selection of terms according to their frequency over time, as well as in evaluating the need for further clarification of rarely used expressions.

Yoast SEO (WordPress Plugin)

Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin that helps the content producer to prepare texts that meet the SEO (search engine optimization) requirements. Yoast SEO’s features include, among others: text analysis reports within the SEO standards, XML sitemaps functionality, canonical URLs and title/meta description templating. Yoast SEO was used in the optimization of the Wise Stones website, especially the content’s superficial layers (Post it, Fast Text), in accordance with our proposal of a Web Writing for Museums (Exhiwriting) model.

TextExpander (Writing tool)

TextExpander is a tool allowing the expansion of texts by means of snippets. A snippet is a user-customized content through which abbreviations can be typed and automatically expanded into a text. Therefore, short abbreviations expand into words, emails or any other texts according to the user’s needs. Museums can use TextExpander to optimize communication with the public, especially through e-mails and social media. Since this tool allows the creation of templates, it can also be used in the production of standard content for museum blogs, such as texts announcing frequently repeated events, undergoing a few alterations such as date and event promoter.

Collabtive (Management tool)

Collabtive is a web-based project management software, an open-source option to other tools such as Basecamp. Some of Collabtive’s features include, among others: projects, milestones, task lists, members with user profiles, role-based permission management, messaging, time tracking, reports, notifications and calendars. Collabtive, available in 39 languages, was the project management software used for the research work “IT in High-Complexity Museums”, the international agreement that gave life to the Wise Stones Accessible Circuit.

Trello (Management tool)

Trello is a web-based collaboration software that allows the creation of boards, lists and cards, organizing projects by stage, team or task type (for example: to do, in progress, concluded). Some of Trello’s features include, among others: projects, task lists, members with user profiles, messaging and notifications. This is a simple and visual way to organize a text, website or exhibit. Trello has been used by LavMUSEU/UFMG and by the Minas Gerais State Culture Secretariat to manage the development of the MG Museums Web Portal (MG – Minas Gerais State, Brazil).

Todoist (Management tool)

Todoist app works as a personal task manager, allowing teamwork as well. Todoist’s features include, in addition to those traditionally observed in the most important to-do apps, the addition of tags to the tasks, providing them with context (e-mail, cell, specific locations, teams etc.). That functionality becomes especially useful in the adoption of the GTD methodology (Get Things Done, by David Allen). Additional resources, such as georeferenced reminders, facilitate management routine. For example, when the user enters the museum, notices will be given on the tasks to be performed there. Todoist presents various features integrated with other software programs, such as the excellent time tracker Toggl. This is an efficient and complete personal organization tool, used by the coordination of LavMUSEU/UFMG.

 

OneNote (Digital notebook)

OneNote is a digital notebook, similar to Evernote, divided into sections and pages, with a structure very similar to that of a website, facilitating its use in the production and storing of web content. This application software allows the team members’ collaboration, pointing to new alterations in the pages’ content, identified by author. OneNote’s features include, in addition to those already mentioned: recording audio notes, inserting online videos, adding files, saving web content with a single click, drawing and text recognition in images, among others. OneNote has been used in the Wise Stones Website as a database for the project’s references and as content backup of the online guidebook. OneNote is also being used in the collaboration and text production for the MG Museums Web Portal.

Izi.travel (Storytelling platform)

Izi.travel – a storytelling platform, is a go-to platform where content providers can create multimedia guides for museums, places or cities. Users can access those tours by means of a smartphone app or on the platform’s website.  Georeferenced tours can be created containing images, audio recordings, texts, maps, sequential guides, sharing buttons, a customized profile for the content provider, among others. Izi.travel has been used by LavMUSEU/UFMG in the organization of guides for Brazilian museums, including the Wise Stones Acessible Circuit, located at the Mines and Metal Museum (under construction).

Metaverse (Augmented reality platform)

Metaverse is a free augmented reality platform allowing museums to create various types of interactive content, or “experiences”, ranging from visit guides to games. The content is developed on Metaverse’s website and viewed with the help of a smartphone app. Experiences consist of “scenes”, which may present characters, images, texts, webviews, videos, polls, 360o views, among others. For each experience published, Metaverse provides a unique QR Code and a share link. Metaverse has been used by LavMUSEU/UFMG in the organization of guides for Brazilian museums, including the Wise Stones Acessible Circuit, located at the Mines and Metal Museum (under construction).

Ana Cecília Rocha Veiga

Full-time professor – Museum Studies Course,  School of Information Science, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG)

Graduated in Architecture and Urbanism (Federal University of Minas Gerais – UFMG, 2001) and D.Sc. in Image Art and Technology (UFMG – School of Fine Arts, 2012), with her thesis published as a book: “Gestão de projetos de museus e exposições” (Museums and Exhibits Project Management, 2013). Professor of the Museology undergraduate program (School of Information Science ECI-UFMG, with tenure), PROMESTRE program (Professional Master’s Program of the Faculty of Education of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, in the subject area “Museums and Scientific Dissemination”) and PPGCI Program (Information Science Graduate Program of the Federal University of Minas Gerais). Experience, projects and research in the following subject areas: project management, museum management, museum informatics, virtual museums and scientific illustration. Coordinator of the LavMUSEU research group and it’s virtual laboratory.

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