14.0635 museum domain approval

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Sat Feb 03 2001 - 05:39:43 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 635.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Sat, 03 Feb 2001 10:36:11 +0000
             From: NINCH-ANNOUNCE <david@ninch.org>

    News on Networking Cultural Heritage Resources
    from across the Community
    January 30, 2001


    >Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2001 17:52:34 -0800
    >To: current@artswire.org
    >From: Arts Wire Current <awcurr@artswire.org>
    Arts Wire CURRENT January 30, 2001
    Arts Wire CURRENT Volume 10, No. 5
    Arts Wire CURRENT
    Arts Wire CURRENT Judy Malloy, Editor
    Arts Wire CURRENT jmalloy@artswire.org

    * ICANN Tentatively Approves .museum Domain Suffix
    > Criteria for Registration to Include Virtual Entities
    > Think Locally/Act Globally Model Envisioned for Museum
    > Critics Express Concern about ICANN Process and Effect on
              Online Creativity Outside of Museum Settings


    Along with .aero, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, .pro, and .biz,
    the domain name suffix .museum has been selected for further
    negotiation by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and
    Numbers. (ICANN) Following that approval, the ICANN Board will
    forward its recommendations to the U.S. Department of Commerce for

    In 1998, the U.S. Commerce Department approved the creation of a
    new corporation called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names
    and Numbers. One of the key tasks assigned to ICANN was to
    increase the number of available domain names by creating new
    top-level domains taking pressure off of current domains like

    The .museum domain suffix would "give museums the possibility of
    registering Internet addresses with a distinct museum identity and
    would allow the users of the Internet to recognize this as a sign
    of authenticity," according to the International Council of
    Museums.(ICOM) ICOM, headquartered in Paris and the J. Paul Getty
    Trust in Los Angeles are the two founding members of the Museum
    Domain Management Association (MuseDoma) which submitted an
    application to ICANN in October 2000 for the establishment of a
    ..museum top level domain. (TLD)

    "One of the most exciting aspects of having a dedicated
    top-level domain for the museum community, and very likely to
    have been a pivotal consideration in its approval, is its
    prototypal nature," states Cary Karp, Director of Internet
    Strategy and Technology at the Swedish Museum of Natural History.
    Karp with Ken Hamma, Assistant Director, J. Paul Getty Museum and
    Project Director www.getty.edu, spearheaded the .museum TLD.

    "Dot-museum will be the first of what is envisioned as a
    significant number of additional TLDs dedicated to as many
    distinct aspects of cultural activity as can successfully be
    argued by agencies wishing to operate such domains. Including a
    ..art among them would be as reasonable as possibly could be," he

    "I think it is in the potential for greater visibility of museums
    online, thus facilitating the communications and educational
    missions of museums worldwide, Hamma, who expects that the new
    TLD will greatly increase the precision and recall of searches for
    museums online, noted. "Visibility will be enhanced greatly by a
    common naming scheme in a single domain, rather than as is the
    case now, being scattered across several of the top-level domains.
    Because the museum domain is restricted, this visibility will
    translate also to recognizability and the general realm of

    However, some artists and arts administrators are concerned that
    registration in .museum will be restricted to museums and museum
    organizations according to the definition established by the ICOM.

    "While the .museum domain was undoubtedly undertaken with best
    intentions, the notion of a legitimizing body deciding what
    qualifies as a museum and what does not seems to create more
    problems than the new domain will solve," Arnold Kramer commented
    in a discussion of the proposed .museum TLD on the MUSWEB
    listserv. "No matter how carefully these decisions are made, the
    idea that there is a sanctioning body deciding who is legitimate
    and who is not is anathema." Kramer is Director of Outreach
    Technology at the Holocaust Museum where he runs a group that is
    responsible for making museum intellectual and interpretive
    resources accessible via electronic systems, especially the web.
    However, he emphasized that he was speaking as an individual not
    as a representative of his institution.


    The primary criterion for registration is being a museum by the
    ICOM definition, as well as the many professionals and
    professional membership associations that serve the museum
    community. However, membership in ICOM or any other professional
    or regional organization is not a criterion for registration.

    The ICOM Statutes define a museum as "a non-profit making,
    permanent institution in the service of society and of its
    development, and open to the public which acquires, conserves,
    researches, communicates and exhibits, for purposes of study,
    education and enjoyment, material evidence of people and their

    According to Cary Karp, the ICOM Definition is subject to
    modification at the organization's triennial General Assemblies.
    "The next such occasion is in July of this year, at which time we
    also plan on launching the operation of .museum," he said.

    Initial concern about the eligibility of virtual entities is being
    addressed, Karp told Arts Wire, and he added that a resolution to
    expand the definition to include organizations dealing with
    intangible cultural property is on the agenda. "Assuming, as is
    all but a foredrawn conclusion, that the resolution is adopted,
    virtual museums will able to register in .museum. Should there be
    any delay in the adoption of the resolution, MuseDoma will invoke
    its mandated ability to extend the scope of the ICOM Definition
    for its own purposes and be recognizing virtual museums from the
    outset," he noted.


    In addition to the visibility factors noted earlier, Ken Hamma
    also told Arts Wire that they expected that the .museum process
    would begin to increase the sense of community in the online
    environment for museums. "Response so far strongly suggests that
    this is the case, and that by creating a locus for that community
    we may be able to target a set of concerns about being online that
    neither money nor software are able to," he noted. "We are
    anxious to see how this will develop and are hopeful that it will
    contribute in this intangible way to help bridge the so-called
    digital divide that exists for thousands of museums and
    exponentially larger numbers of online visitors."

    He imagines a model in which this domain can think locally with
    museums and their associations around the world, and then act
    globally in ways that benefit the entire community. Ideas under
    consideration which would further these goals are to waive
    registration fees for museums with operating budgets under a
    certain amount; to provide basic, limited Web hosting; to provide
    simple Web site management tools; to provide reference services
    for museum needs; and to provide regional or global services such
    as self-serve calendar facilities.

    "....The .museum exercise is solving problems and gathering
    experience that will significantly ease the path towards the
    establishment of further cultural sector TLDs. MuseDoma looks
    forward to being able to place its experience at the disposal of
    other agencies within this sector," Cary Karp emphasized.


    However, in an open letter to Cary Karp, curator/web artist Jon
    Ippolito -- a co-author with Joline Blais and Keith Frank of the
    "hyperfable" FAIR E-TALES currently featured on The Alternative
    Museum Web site -- wonders how the proposed .museum TLD might
    affect online creativity that takes place *outside* a museum
    setting, an issue which he believes should be critical to anyone
    who cares about museums or the future of online culture.

    Ippolito, who emphasizes that he is speaking for himself and not
    for the institution for which he works, addresses MuseDoma's
    argument that a major goal of the new domain suffix is to bridge
    the digital divide. "I am sure that this argument appealed to
    ICANN, which is charged with the difficult task of expanding the
    Web's name space without undermining its open architecture,
    (ICANN seems to take this mandate seriously enough to have
    rejected suffixes like .union and .health as 'insufficiently
    democratic.')" he states.

    "....So let's assume for the sake of argument that .museum will
    encourage more smaller museums to take the leap to cyberspace,"
    Ippolito continues. "What of the countless offline alternative
    spaces and exhibition halls that do not maintain a permanent
    collection of objects? Once we museums have claimed the best of
    the virtual real estate, what chance do these numerous
    alternatives have of competing for hits from the lay
    public? In an attention economy like the Web, small advantages can
    make big differences. Jane Doe looks up the artist Bill Viola in
    a search engine and gets links for five .orgs and one .museum.
    Which link is she going to follow?"

    Ippolito also noted to Arts Wire that he worries that "as soon as
    we open the gates to alternative spaces and virtual museums, any
    line drawn in an attempt to distinguish curatorial endeavors is
    going to amount to an arbitrary exclusion of comparable
    paradigms. I pity the committee assigned the task of coming up
    with a 'clearly stated definition' that will tell me why, say,
    Rhizome's ArtBase is a museum but Olia Lialina's Last Real Net
    Art Museum is not, or why the Medialess Archive is a museum but
    Freenet is not."

    In the conclusion to his open letter, he asks fellow museum
    professionals "to keep in mind that our mandate as museums is not
    to compete with the cultural production going on outside our
    walls, but to reflect and preserve it. How unfortunate it would
    be for established museums to unwittingly erase the heritage they
    are meant to preserve by gerrymandering the name space!"


    In news which may effect all newly requested TLDS and petitions
    for new ones, last week a coalition of cyber-rights groups and
    scholars, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and
    Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, (CPSR) issued a
    joint letter to the Department of Commerce calling for hearings
    and additional public commentary on recent Internet
    domain name decisions. The groups are questioning the closed
    process -- stating that it violates the Due Process clause of the
    Constitution and the Federal Administrative Procedures Act

    The Cyber-Rights groups emphasizes that "The process got off to a
    bad start when ICANN announced that it would require a $50,000
    non-refundable fee from domain name applicants, thus skewing the
    pool towards those organizations able to afford a $50,000 lottery
    ticket. Deadlines for public comment were missed, and the period
    for public input was small."

    The letter also cites ICANN's rejection of a .union proposal as
    "based on unfounded speculation that the international labor
    organizations that proposed this new top level domain name were
    somehow undemocratic" and noted that the "procedures being used
    gave the proponents no opportunity to reply to this unfounded

    According to POLITECH, Energy and Commerce Chairman Billy Tauzin
    (R-LA) and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) are scheduling a
    Subcommittee on Telecommunications hearing in February to examine
    the ICANN decision process.



    J. PAUL GETTY TRUST -- <http://www.getty.edu>http://www.getty.edu


    (ICANN) -- <http://www.icann.org>http://www.icann.org


    Joline Blais, Keith Frank, Jon Ippolito
    FAIR E-TALES -- <http://www.three.org>http://www.three.org



    OLIA LIALINA -- <http://www.design.ru/olialia/>http://www.design.ru/olialia/



    POLITECH -- <http://www.politechbot.com/>http://www.politechbot.com/


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