Playful Engineering: Designing and Building Art Discovery Systems

Paper
Liam Andrew, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, Desi Gonzalez, The Andy Warhol Museum, USA, Kurt Fendt, MIT, USA

Published paper: Playful engineering: Designing and building art discovery systems

How can we engineer the discovery of art? HyperStudio, MIT’s digital humanities laboratory, has been tackling this question through the development of Artbot, a mobile website that encourages meaningful, sustained relationships to art museums in the Boston area. Artbot combines two strategies to enable users to discover cultural happenings in the city: a serendipitous approach that allows users to explore via linkages between art events, and a recommendation system that suggests events based on a user’s interests.

Using Artbot as its primary case study, this paper will examine the design and building of art discovery systems. First, it will survey other examples of art recommendation and discovery systems, such as Magic Tate Ball, Serendip-o-matic, Artsy, and the Powerhouse’s OPAC 2.0 collection project. Then we will discuss the front-end design and back-end technologies behind Artbot’s discovery engine and consider how other cultural institutions can implement these approaches.

Bibliography:
Allen Edward Foster and Nigel Ford, “Serendipity and Information Seeking: An Empirical Study,” Journal of Documentation, 59 (2003): 3, pp. 321-340
Andrew, Liam, and Desiree Gonzalez. “Rethinking Recommendations: Digital Tools for Art Discovery.” Accessed September 29, 2014. http://dharchive.org/paper/DH2014/Paper-743.xml.
Sebastian Chan, “Tagging and Searching – Serendipity and Museum Collection Databases” (paper presented at the annual meeting for Museums and the Web, San Francisco, California, April 11-14, 2007. http://www.archimuse.com/mw2007/papers/chan/chan.html.
“One Week | One Tool Team Launches Serendip-O-Matic.” Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, August 2, 2013. http://chnm.gmu.edu/news/one-week-one-tool-team-launches-serendip-o-matic/.
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