Museums & Free/Open Source Tools: Cost-effective Best Practices

Professional Forum
Andrew David, Minneapolis Institute of Art, USA, Shyam Oberoi, Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Canada

This professional forum brings together four experienced museum technologists who will share their deep knowledge of how to make the best use of free and/or open source software and related tools in order to achieve a truly cost-effective and capable technology operation. Attendees will get boots-on-the-ground, inside information about deciding when to build, when to buy, and how to share and collaborate across the sector. This won’t be a theoretical session; attendees will get direct knowledge from museum staff who are responsible for implementing, maintaining, and building digital technologies at a variety of organizations.

The session will:
(a) enable museums who might not have deep software development and/or technology teams to learn from those that do,
(b) instruct and empower museums who have not implemented free, open source and/or cloud-based tools so that they are able to do so, and
(c) open up new avenues of collaboration and code-sharing, so that all museums can benefit from our collective knowledge and skills.

The panelists will discuss tools, software, and hosting options that they’ve found to be both effective and inexpensive. In addition, each panelist will describe potential pitfalls and how they’ve overcome limitations or mistakes and failures along the way. Specific tools and resources to be discussed will include GitHub, Redis, AWS, Elastic Search, WordPress, Drupal, OctoberCMS, PHP, ResourceSpace, API development, Google Tag Manager, Leaflet, collection management systems, Slack, Trello and more. Attendees will leave with a list of specific steps, tips and tricks for getting things done at their respective institutions.

Harvey, C. (2015). “101 Open Source Tools for Developers.” Consulted September 29, 2015. Available