Title:From the Ground Up (or the Inside Out): New Approaches in Digital Publishing
Authors:Sarah Hromack, Rachel Craft
Publication:MW2012: Museums and the Web 2012

Museums cannot ignore the importance of digital publishing and the impact it has on the organization's content strategy.  In this paper, Rachel Craft, Director of Publishing and Media at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN and Sarah Hromack, Digital Content Manager at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY-both professional blog editors-will consider the practical and theoretical implications of developing online publishing projects through disparate approaches while making an argument for institutionally-generated publications as a valuable means of engaging wider audiences.


Using the Whitney Museum's recently launched online magazine, Whitney Stories (, as her primary case study, Sarah Hromack will discuss the process of garnering in-house support for the publication, building an editorial and writing team, and pooling resources across departments in order to envision and execute a space for articulating more incidental, behind-the-scenes institutional narratives to the public. Those who face operational and budget limitations may find practical advice in this narrative, which will present publishing platforms and useful online tools for organizing and running an in-house publication.  


Rachel Craft will approach the subject from the perspective of developing a digital publishing process that builds off of existing structures. The IMA is seeking to reorient its publication strategy and will be exploring how auxiliary stories and multimedia can be developed around existing catalogue content to enrich the digital reading experience. Proposed projects range from revisiting past publications to envisioning online-only editions of future scholarly catalogues.  How can an organization create publications with substantial and purposeful interactive elements while avoiding the pitfalls of creating a "bells and whistles" effect? 


This paper will also survey content approaches being explored by other organizations, both inside and outside of museums, and how these methods can inform and inspire our own work.  In addition, a range of self-publishing tools will be presented that organizations can utilize to embark on their own digital publishing projects.