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Friday, November 6 • 3:15pm - 3:45pm
The Future Is Static: Building Future-Proof Digital Publications at the Getty

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Museum technologists occupy an uncomfortable intersection between two very different timeframes. The pace of technological change is constantly accelerating, while museums are concerned with preserving the past. This problem is thrown into sharp relief when we talk about digital publishing in art history and related fields.

Scholarly discussions unfold over decades – but when is the last time you have used a 20-year-old piece of software? How many of the files and formats currently in use will be accessible to scholars 20, 30, or 50 years in the future? One potential solution may sound paradoxical: in order to ensure future accessibility of our content, we should look back to the roots of the Web as it was originally envisioned: a linked collection of static, human-readable documents constructed according to a set of open standards.

In this talk, I hope to outline how a modern digital publishing workflow can utilize the benefits of current technology while delivering content in a format that should remain accessible decades from now.

This “invisible architecture” for publishing includes the following tools:

- The Markdown syntax for semantic, presentation-agnostic content
- Jekyll, an open-source tool for generating static websites, dynamically
- Git, open-source version control software
- Octavo, a new tool created by Getty publications to streamline this process and generate digital books in multiple formats from a single source

By ditching proprietary software (Adobe, Microsoft, Apple, etc.) in favor of open-source tools, I believe we can best serve authors and readers of future generations, while still providing a dynamic and engaging experience for users right now. For digital publishing in the museum world, the future is static.


Amy Heibel

VP, Technology, Web and Digital Media, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

avatar for Eric Gardner

Eric Gardner

Digital Publications Developer, J. Paul Getty Museum
Designer and developer. Imagining the future of art publications at the Getty Museum. Passionate about user-centered design, eloquent code, and open-source.

Friday November 6, 2015 3:15pm - 3:45pm CST
Minnetonka Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403

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