What can I find in your digital archive? Surfacing content for researchers.


Jill Arnold, Michigan History Center, USA, Eric Holter, Cuberis, USA, Rachel Clark, Michigan History Center, USA, Sara Gross, Michigan History Center, USA

Digital Asset Management Systems (DAMS) are at the core of Museums and Archives on the web. Cultural institutions are building deep, rich caverns of material, but only a small percentage of users delve beyond a single collection. While we are reaching a wider audience, could we reach them better? Could users that find and engage with our digital collection get more from them?
While the Michigan History Center has rich digital collections, we have struggled to present them to our users in a way that encourages curiosity and exploration. We want to change the way we approach surfacing content, so we hired Cuberis to help us achieve our vision. Cuberis built a content management system (CMS) that can pull items from the depths of our collections and place them into stories with context. Together, we developed a new content strategy that highlights collections in the context of stories and subjects. In addition, we linked collections into activities for educators as well as items in our digital storefront.
As Museums and Archives put more content online, the next step in user experience is to help surface content to users in a meaningful way. By integrating our CMS with our DAMS and other systems, we can extend our mission to foster curiosity, enjoyment, and inspiration rooted in Michigan’s stories by sharing more relevant stories to more people. Thanks to the implementation of these digital technologies, it will become easier and more enjoyable for our online visitors to see themselves in our many collections.