Is this an exhibition or a publication? Defining online resources types in art museums

Maribel Hidalgo Urbaneja, University of Glasgow, UK

Published paper: Is this an exhibition or a publication? Defining online resources types in art museums

Art museums tend to develop online resources on the basis of physical exhibitions (both permanent and temporary) and print publications (the exhibition and collection catalogs). A good number of these online resources are labelled as either online exhibitions or publications, whereas some others are identified as websites, microsites, and interactive resources. While some art museums’ online resources are easily categorized, many others would fit in several types. This paper aims to present research findings and conclusions relative to both producers’ and users’ perspectives on the definition and identification of online resources as exhibitions and publications. Art museum professionals who were involved in the development of online resources in major museums were interviewed. Their perspectives were compared with the viewpoints of a scholarly audience.

One of the objectives of the research is to assess the way in which digital technologies transform and enhance the traditional exhibition and publication models. The presentation will delve into the capabilities and qualities of online resources that users and producers identify with the concepts of exhibition and publication. The research shows that both producers and users have views rooted in traditional conventions; for example, visuality is related to the idea of exhibition, while textuality with publications. However, within online resources, these conventions might shift so publications become highly visual, and exhibitions include more textual components. The presentation will also discuss the reasons why art museums might prefer to develop a certain type of online resource over another. For instance, producers are more inclined to produce interactive resources and online publications than online exhibitions or exhibitions websites.

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