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Project Updates

Page history last edited by Nina Simon 14 years, 4 months ago

Dec 16, 2009


This is the last weekly update regarding the development of The Participatory Museum. I'll be contacting some of you directly over the coming weeks with questions and thoughts about your comments, but mostly, after the end of this week, I'll be slogging along on my own and getting the copy editing crew rolling.  Thank you for continuing to send in your comments - special thanks to those who are now sending me entire chapters or whole bookfulls of content.

There are two structural questions I want to ask you before we end our regular communication.

First, I'm thinking about restructuring the book to be in two parts: design for participation (chapters 1-4) and participation in action (chapters 5-6). Based on your feedback thus far, I think it makes sense to break chapter 5 into several chapters, and to move some chapter 6 content to come ahead of all the examples so it's less redundant (i.e. participation does five things best). If you've read most of the book or chapter 5&6 in particular, I'm curious what you think of this idea.

Second, many of you have recommended finding ways to graphically set aside case studies, key points, or active recommendations, whether via sidebars, bullets, or call-outs.  As a book reader, these kinds of devices don't resonate with me - I tend to find myself least able to focus on single sentences or sections that are set aside or written in non-narrative form. If you'd like me to consider this direction, can you recommend some books that you think do this well (ideally books that might be available at the library) so I can get a sense of how it works? I'm open to being convinced, but I need some examples to look at to understand how I might do this. They don't need to be museum-related.


Dec 8, 2009


Welcome to the content review community update, part 4!


I'm back from vacation and have been amazed by the work you've put in.  Special thanks to Mark Kille, Claire Antrobus, and most especially Sarah Barton for incredibly thoughtful, critical comments, questions and edits over the last two weeks. Also great thanks to those who are sending in physical manuscripts of full chapters they've covered. I still need the most help looking critically at Chapter 6. My version of it is riddled with cuts, gaps, and additions, and I'd love your thoughts.


Content review is almost over.  Dec 16 is the last day for content edits to come in on the wiki (ok, it can slide a bit, but not much). After that, I will be locking myself at home while the rest of the world celebrates various wintry holidays and will be going through all of your edits line by line. My goal is to produce a full draft for copy editors by Jan 7. I've done a full edit of my own alongside yours, so there is a lot of content to integrate.


Wherever possible, I will try to respond directly to questions on the wiki as I go through the edit. I apologize for being fairly silent there of late; I want to let all the comments come in to help me decide which direction to take things. I AM acting on your suggestions to add some things, get more info from folks, check out particular resources, etc.


What happens next? Beyond my answering your questions, and you adding additional editorial thoughts in the next couple of weeks, the wiki will effectively become a coordination tool by the end of this year, i.e. I will not upload another draft there. I am working on a new website for the book which will eventually house the final draft. In January, volunteer copy editors will help me review the entire book. Jennifer Atkins will finish the illustrations, and I will start laying everything out. The book must be ready to go to print by the last week of February so that physical copies will be available in the beginning of March.



Nov 24, 2009

Welcome to the content review community update, part 3!


Progress on the wiki: A special thank you to this week's top contributor, Louise Govier, who made an excellent point about some of the examples going off-track. If you feel that there are stories that can be cut or tightened, please let me know. If you are helping out on the wiki, I'd love to see more thoughts on chapters 4 and 6. Six is particularly rough from my perspective.

Some progress on the physical book: I've settled on "The Participatory Museum" as the main title after weighing the options. I'm still looking for a great subtitle. Jennifer Rae Atkins, who is doing illustration, is starting sketches for the cover now, which will feature a whole mess of visitors repainting the cornice of a traditional Greek-style museum to read "The Participatory Museum." Jennifer agreed that I can share this with you as it progresses, and hopefully we'll have something to share within a couple of weeks.

There will not be an update next week; I will be out hiking on the south island of New Zealand, far from a computer. Have a lovely week!


Nov 17, 2009

Welcome to the content review community update, part 2!


Thanks for your help! A special thank you to this week's star contributor, Conxa Roda, and a welcome to new contributors Susan Edwards, Haz (HMSaid), and mkille. I'm doing my own edit in parallel and am inspired to slash and alter by your cutting suggestions and critiques. Keep it up!


Tech tip: Conxa discovered what happens if you click on "Pages and Files" in the upper right of the wiki- you get a list of EVERYTHING. If you enjoy errata as she does, check out this feature.


Penny for your thoughts:  I think I'm going to cut the activities out of the book entirely and recast them as worksheets or downloadable exercises on the web. Even though these are real exercises I use with clients, I think they come off as simplistic and condescending in the book. They're also going to be the hardest part to format (though that's not a good enough single reason to drop them).  Is there any reason you think I shouldn't take this path?  Let me know if I'll be dropping something important by cutting the activities.



Nov 9, 2009 

Thanks to everyone who has enthusiastically jumped into the content review process. I'm going to post weekly updates from now until the end of the project with my thoughts on the progress and new questions, comments, and technical information for you.


First, I'd like to celebrate Hadrasaurus, Cath, Conxa, Heidi, Jonah, David, and Claire - all of whom have pounced on the new draft and are sharing great comments, critiques, and insights. In particular, a shout out to Hadrasaurus, who caught the first glitch (a duplicate page in chapter 3), and Conxa, who took a stab at restructuring the chart at the beginning of chapter 5.


Second, a technical note. If you want to really track the evolution of the wiki, you can do so automatically by subscribing to the RSS feed of changes. For me, this is fabulous, because every one of your changes comes to my inbox like a gift from above. To you, this may be highly annoying, but I wanted to let you know that the option is available if you want to follow the new comments and changes.


Third, a couple of specific content requests I have for you...

-I've realized that the book is weak in the area of living history museums (thanks Chris and Heidi for pushing me on this). I have one example from the Connor Prairie Follow the North Star program and am working on something with Henry Ford, but I'd love to hear more from you if you have good examples of participatory living history experiences, especially outside the US.

-The book is too long. I know I tend to blather on sometimes; please call me on it and let me know about any paragraphs that can go! You have great ideas for additions, but please be brutal with subtractions as well.


Thanks! Keep commenting and editing and arguing and pushing me!




Comments (5)

claire@claireantrobus.com said

at 4:57 am on Nov 10, 2009

Has anyone tried to print sections of this site yet? I tried yesterday using the 'print format' option and it kept cutting off the far right of every line (probably just a word per line). I'm planning to print off and read chapter 5 on a long train journey early next week so it'd be good to have hard copy (i find it easier to look at structural things on paper too).

Nina Simon said

at 7:45 am on Nov 10, 2009

Claire (and everyone) - I can email you chunks of the book as a word document (better formatted) for printing if you like. Just let me know.

Ed Rodley said

at 8:41 am on Nov 17, 2009

I think the activities are a vital aspect to the whole "You can, and should, try this at home" vibe of the book. That said, I don't think the book suffers from having them removed, as long as they don't go away entirely. Then your problem will be figuring out how to refer to them in the book, and curating them for the long haul as digital docs. Cut away! - EJR

Mark Kille said

at 9:21 am on Nov 17, 2009

I would vote for putting activities in an appendix in the physical book. Then it would be easy to refer people to them from the main text. Personally, I don't enjoy bouncing back and forth between hardcopy and online, so if you went that route I think the online piece would have to be very self-sufficient.

Conxa Rodà said

at 12:01 pm on Nov 18, 2009

Since asking is easy, I'd like to have activities in both formats :)) I agree with Mark that having all in one piece is more handy, but since activities can be very interactive, if possible, I would like to find them also online. Or maybe still better, a sort of "compromise", that is selecting a few ones for the book and all the rest online.

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