Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Visionary themes

I have been looking closer at the website structure of formidlingsnet.dk, a wordpress blog which was set up in Denmark earlier this year for discussion and development tied to education and exhibitions in museums.

I think that the group has done quite nice modifications of the "Visionary" WordPress Theme, as well as adding numerous useful plugins to increase functionality.

The site is divided into five sections: Web and digitalisation; Children and youth; exhibitions and experience; press and marketing; education seminar. Each section has its own rss feed, available also as email lists that readers can subscribe to. Other resources include a search function, tag cloud, subject register, link page, latest news and archive. There are also many functions that aren't visible to the general user, such as spam filtering.

Although Wordpress is somewhat limited compared to many other content management systems (cms) used today, I feel that formidlingsnet.dk has done a great job of making the most out of the format.

Most museums are retiring their old static html sites, and developing CMS systems that give both more flexibility, and increased possibilities for web2.0 functions. The Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority went over to the Python-based system "Plone" last year, which allowed them to introduce a calendar function that anyone could update. Drammen Museum uses eZ Publish, developed in their neighboring city of Skien. Museumsnytt from the Norwegian Museum Association uses Joomla, as does the site for the historical mining town of Røros: Bergstaden.

The Section for Education of the Norwegian Museum Association will also be retiring its antiquated frames-based html pages soon, but which CMS system would be most appropriate to adopt as the successor is yet undecided. Do YOU have any opinion on the best CMS system for a cultural NGO?

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