The Next Generation of Digital Publishing: Integrated Strategies for Online Scholarly Content at SFMOMA

Sarah Bailey Hogarty, California College of the Arts, USA, Jennifer Knox White, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, United States, James Provenza, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA

Published paper: The next generation of digital publishing: Integrated strategies for online scholarly content at SFMOMA

In July of 2017, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) published Soundtracks, its first online exhibition catalog and the museum’s first digital publication since the launch of its redesigned website in 2015. SFMOMA has a rich history in digital publishing, from its early forays into interpretive multimedia, to the scholarly, collection-focused Rauschenberg Research Project (RRP) of 2013, born out of the Getty Foundation’s Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI).

Using the findings from the OSCI project as a point of departure, this presentation will examine SFMOMA’s approach to the next generation of museum digital publications, including evaluation strategies, and how SFMOMA’s organizational structure contributed to the project’s implementation.

Two case studies—”Soundtracks” and the forthcoming “Focus on Japanese Photography”—will demonstrate the benefits of flexible template design and its efficacy in delivering both special exhibition and permanent collection content. Special consideration will be given to time-based art and the possibilities afforded by an online publication model, as well as innovative approaches to documenting sound-based art using newly available technologies such as 360 video.

A summary of the project’s quantitative and qualitative evaluation will also be presented, including engagement with multimedia documentation and written content, user pathways through the publication, and user experience funnels to and from the rest of the site. This analysis will provide valuable data to inform content strategy best practices for the promotion and placement of digital scholarly content on museum websites.

Lastly, this presentation will touch on the organizational structure of SFMOMA’s Content Strategy and Digital Engagement division and how it enabled this work to be carried out. In this context, we will consider how institutional framework can influence innovation in digital publication production, maintenance, and sustainability.

Albers, G. (2017). "Bringing books online." MW17: Museums and the Web 2017. Published March 29, 2017. Consulted January 14, 2018.

Museum Catalogues in the Digital Age: A Final Report on the Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (2017). Los Angeles: The Getty Foundation.

Mann, L. (2016). "Online scholarly catalogues: Data and insights from OSCI." MW2016: Museums and the Web 2016. Published March 21, 2016. Consulted January 14, 2018.