Brooklyn Museum Collection Labs

Today, we are taking a page from Google and releasing a labs environment for our collection online.  Having the collection online for 18 months has taught us a lot and there’s a plenty of data we can explore, but we need a place to do it!


Edison labs, Henry Ford Museum, Detroit.  Via gruntzooki on Flickr.

Creating a labs area of the collection online, gives us a chance to play around with some ideas and look at trends we are starting to see, but allows us to present projects in an informal way for discussion and visitor testing.  Some labs projects will only take us a few days to put together, while others might take a bit longer.  Depending on what we find out and how we see things used, we may integrate some of these projects into the collection’s main layout.


To start labs, we thought we’d explore love—hey, it is February after all!  We’ve been sitting on a bunch of data that shows how people are reacting to certain objects online and in the galleries.  This first project, What is Love?, displays top-ranked objects broken down by the ways in which people are showing their adoration. There’s active love:  online Posse members selecting objects as favorites in our collection during their web session or visitors coming to the museum and using our interactive gallery guide, BklynMuse, to favorite objects they like on view in the gallery. There’s also passive love: stats generated from the Google Analytics API to show additional metrics such as objects that are most viewed, when folks spend the most time on page with an object, or objects that are getting the most link love on the internet. All of these things shown together, can start to put together a picture of loving going on with regard to objects in our collection.


What is Love? Our first labs project—go explore the data and tell us your thoughts!

I guess I shouldn’t find it all that surprising that our nudes and the erotic sculpture in the Egyptian collection are all quite popular via the web, but I was surprised at how much variance there is between the categories and how few objects are loved across metrics. We released a sneak preview of What is Love? to our Facebook page last week, one person noted that there seemed to be high percentage of women depicted.  We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments—notice any correlations between the data here?  Want to see more of this kind of thing in labs?