Title:Using Primary Data to Design Web Sites for Public and Scientific Audiences
Authors:Peter Siegel, Nina Grigoryeva
Publication:MW99: Museums and the Web 1999

Collections Management Systems have been traditionally designed for researchers, registrars and collections management staff. Re-examining digital material cataloged in these types of systems for the purpose of reaching broader audiences is the subject of this paper. It will encompass the design mechanisms that The American Museum of Natural History's Anthropology Department uses to deliver primary source material. Traditionally, curators would package a small subset of their collections for public consumption in the form of temporary and permanent exhibits. Electronic delivery of the same collection allows researchers and the general public the ability to create their own museum experience and open new interpretations of the collections. In order to create a public access web site we began the process by identifying our audiences as well as the best way to represent electronic collection data. With the extensive possibilities of interface design and database robustness, re-purposing source material becomes possible. Using the same criteria for designing both the research and public web sites was not practical, because the research site requires considerable expertise in the subject matter.