Title:The Importance of Integrity in Virtual Environments : A Discussion of New Approaches to the Web
Authors:Sylvia Borda, Jennifer Baird, Lucille Bell
Publication:MW2001: Museums and the Web 2001

The emergence and power of the virtual on-line medium, i.e. the World Wide Web, has created a rush of expectations. The cultural, government and private sectors have hyped the need for an on-line presence, especially where the web is seen as a virtual team building experience that crosses geographical and other boundaries. While there can be few arguments against the potential of the web to offer this experience, the question of web rationale or integrity of representation has only recently come into question. Lucille Bell, Content Coordinator for the Haida First Nations, and Sylvia Grace Borda, Project Manager for the Haida website, will comment on their experiences about creating, critiquing, and liaising with a consortium of partners which included local museums within British Columbia, Haida First Nations Tribal Council and Peoples, the Canadian government and Expo Pavilion designers. In particular, the speakers will outline the in-depth processes (joint decisions) which developed into and allowed for an open, educational and virtual dialogue across the geographical and cultural boundaries that separated the team members, and the subsequent challenges of representing these boundaries in a unified way (politically and artistically) to an international audience. Areas for discussion will include: 1) The selection of a multimedia team. Haida First Nations as content developers, and anthologists/government as web designers. The balance of representation, perception and views. Lucille Bell will offer direct input about her experiences from a Haida First Nations' perspective. 2) Critiquing the web site creation process. Particular emphasis will focus on the structure and dynamics of the feedback mechanisms which were put in place during the various stages of production. 3) Web viewer engagement - the organizational and web design methods selected in order to represent, for example, the views of Haida First Nations in the areas of song, dance, gaming, and politics. Incorporation of language and design elements for a multi-lingual/multi-cultural audience.