Image and Metadata Distribution at Seven University Campuses: Reports from a Study of the Museum Educational Site Licensing Project
This paper summarizes the major findings of a University of California study of the Museum Educational Site Licensing Project (MESL) — the first large-scale multi-institutional image and metadata distribution experiment in the US. The study examined the costs and social impacts of distributing a large body of digital images and metadata from a set of different museums to universities. Among the findings are that the digital distribution environment, as a whole, appears to be good for individual image usage, but is problematic for group viewing situations such as classrooms. Impediments to widespread adoption include: lack of comprehensive content, absence of necessary tools to facilitate use, and inadequate recognition and support for faculty who adopt new technology in their teaching. Other key issues that still need to be addressed include: integration of consortia-provided images and metadata with images acquired elsewhere; allowing instructors to change descriptive information or annotate images; encouraging the creation of addedvalue tools; and providing particular user interfaces or new integrated tools. The study also compared the cost of digital distribution to the costs of running an analog slide library.
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