Title:From Pilot to Program: Organizing Content Creation as a Web Site Grows
Authors:Stephen Alsford
Publication:MW97: Museums and the Web 1997

The Canadian Museum of Civilization Web site began, as most museum Web sites do, as a small-scale experiment to learn more about operating in cyberspace. A single individual (the author) was tasked with creating a pilot Web site. After a few months, ambitions outpaced the scope of a pilot project and it became necessary to find ways to involve managers and staff in the various areas of the museum more closely with the development of the site. This paper will identify the reasons behind creating CMC's Web site and the goals set for the site, and will outline the development of the site, paying attention particularly to the organization of content creation and quality control mechanisms. It will examine alternative approaches to content creation, including in-house and external production, and will consider desirable qualifications of content creators in a museum context. Consideration will also be given to where, in an organization, responsibility for a Web site should fall, as well as to broader issues of cultural change within an institution. The paper will focus on the experience of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, but will not pretend to have general solutions to the issues, many of which continue to be problematic at this time -- for reasons which will be addressed.