The following are comments made by members of the international
museum profession in Global Museum's FORUM section http://www.globalmuseum.org:
are a selection of responses to the issues raised by Global Museum, on the
subject of the DOT.MUSEUM domain name and authentication process:
1. I don't like
the use of "Museum" to cover Galleries as well, so I would opt for ".gallery". In
fact, why stop at ".museum", why not ".zoo", ".virtual museum", ".sculpture garden"?
2.And there are so many museums....".classical archaeology", ". fossils", ".metamuseum"?
Honestly, lets not dumb down...I have always found it very easy to find what
I am after on the internet.
3. I do not like the idea of ICOM, or any other body,
working out who is or is not a museum. Lets let the public decide that eh? They are
not as dumb as ICOM must think...
4.At present the simple classifications of
.org, .net .gov .edu etc seem enough classification. Personally, I would have done
without even these, if I had been designing the web. The true beauty of the web lies
in its possibilities for breaking down expectations and categories.
5. Let the
following be our guide on the web (and more...)
"It is clear, then, that the
idea of a fixed method, or of a fixed theory of rationality, rests on too naive a
view of man and his social surroundings. To those who look at the rich material provided
by history, and who are not intent on impoverishing it in order to please their lower
instincts, their craving for intellectual security in the form of clarity, precision,
`objectivity', 'truth', it will become clear that there is only one principle that
can be defended under all circumstances and in all stages of human development. It
is the principle: anything goes. Paul Feyerabend, "Against Method"
Sisley, Director, Orange Regional Gallery, PO Box 35, Orange, NSW, 2800
I have to say I agree with you. ICOM have got to be kidding if they
think they can control information on the web. That's what it is there for. To stop
organisations like ICOM from having a monopoly over information.
gammaSPACE, ( an independent gallery not a museum )
concern about the use of "restricted" and "limited" seems to me to be largely baseless.
From the way the release is worded, it sounds like the Museum Domain Management Assn.
would just take over for the .MUSEUM domain what ICANN has been doing all along for
the existing .COM, .EDU, .ORG, .GOV, .MIL and .NET domains (and any others I may
have forgotten). First there is
the matter of appropriate use: Only non-profits
can use the .org domain (or so I understand). Someone needs to check that a group
is entitled to use the .org domain. Then there is the matter of exclusive use of
a name within that domain: There can be only one "Ford.org" on the net for instance.
Someone has to decide whether that goes to the Henry Ford Museum, the Ford Foundation
(I assume there is one) or some other organization with the name "Ford" in the title
who may have nothing to do with Henry or his family or business.
My biggest concern
is that while increasing the number of top domains does allow more groups to use
"Ford" (to continue the example) as an address, it is also less obvious which domain
name you want. If "Ford.org" is currently in use by the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan
(I'm not sure it is, but for the sake of the example let's assume this to be the
case), will they move to "Ford.museum" and allow the Ford Foundation to have "Ford.org"?
Presumably the automobile company has "Ford.com", but if they diversify into internet
services, they could also be "Ford.net". Or what if Joe Ford starts his own ISP and
uses Ford.net. People looking for any of the other Ford sites could end up there
by accident and not know that they needed to type .com or .org
instead, and Joe
Ford would not be required to maintain links to the other "Ford" sites for such lost
souls. This also increases the potential for things like "www.Whitehouse.com" which
(still is?) a porn site that basically counted on the fact that some people would
type ".com" instead of ".org" to visit the US Presidential website. The name could
as easily have been used by someone who wanted to set up a "parody" site, or even
by some opposition party who wanted to use it to post more malicious attacks on the
sitting president. So, in the end, does this eliminate more confusion than it (potentially)
creates? I'm not sure.
Larry Burke, Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania
There are a few points in Roger's commentary on the .museum press
release that I suspect may reflect some confusion about the activity behind it.
Interestingly enough ( as an ICOM member of long standing ), I received this information
on October 4th and collectively we have only until the 27th to register any support
The entire timetable for the submission of proposals for the creation
of new top-level domains (TLDs), as well the time allowed for public comment on them,
was determined by ICANN (The
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).
ICOM had no ability to influence this, whatsoever, and I can assure you was profoundly
unhappy about the brevity of time rendering it all but impossible to anchor with
its membership any response to the call.
ICANN decided to open the call for TLD
proposals on July 16th. The documentation was made available to applicants on August
15th. The call closed on October 2nd. The period of public
review referred to
in the press release is also ICANN's, not ICOM's.
> Words such as restricted ,
limited suggest to me a desire to CONTROL rather than promote and this is at
variance with the whole ethos of the Web. In my opinion the whole
smacks of a reactive rather than proactive approach to the opportunities on the web.<
domains have been a part of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS) since its very
outset. Try to register in .int, .mil, or in any of over two-hundred country code
domains in areas
in which you are not a domestic business entity. The recent dotcom
real estate boom has utterly deflated much of the intended value of all this. The
domain used by many museums, .org, for
example, once had a clearly defined meaning
and, in fact, was reserved for entities in adherence with it.
ICANN wishes to re-establish
this meaning and they, not ICOM, introduced the terminology which Roger finds so
unsettling, with massive community support.
> On a personal level, I have always
adopted the Net as an OPEN platform for information sharing and credibility of a
site is built up over a period of time, regardless of the source of physical location
of the site owner.<
Credibility is the keyword here. At present, anyone can purchase
a domain name containing the letter string "museum". In itself, this means absolutely
nothing. I believe that Roger, himself, has
used the term "dot-com startups" in
reference to the less laudable initiatives utilizing the notion of "museum" for pure
The purpose of .museum is to delineate some area in domain name
space where the six letters do have a clearly defined meaning. Whatever value someone
might ascribe to that definition, it will at least be on public record. ICOM's contribution
to this effort is providing the normative statement of what a museum is. This is
contained in the ICOM By Laws. It is expected that this will require modification
as experience is gained in its application to domain administration but ICOM's authority
will be fundamental to any such action. (A case in point is a pending revision of
the definition to encompass intangible cultural heritage and, in extension, virtual
> If you are NOT a member of ICOM does your museum wish to be vetted
by its Museum Domain Management Association shell?<
Qualification for registration
in .museum has no connection, whatsoever, with ICOM membership. The Museum Domain
Management Association is a membership organization in its own right,
to allow domain name owners to have a say in the way its policy develops and is maintained.
You do not need to be an MDMA member to register a domain in .museum. You do not
need to be a registrant in .museum to join the MDMA (although the right to vote requires
> Personally, I think that if you are a museum (actual or virtual),
then you should have the opportunity to use the DOT MUSEUM top level domain? What
do you think?<
Given that this is the precise purpose of the domain, I do not understand
the protest. The MDMA will be announcing its Web site during the next few days and
I will forward details as soon as
they are available. The full text of the .museum
proposal will be found there and I hope that MUSEUM-L members will find it worth
their active attention and commentary.
Cary Karp ICOM
just .mus considered for brevity's sake or would that be confused with something
I missing the point or is ICOM actually vetting the site so that only public galleries
(virtually the same as ICOM definition) should be included on it? If so, this is
a sensible way to go.
The Net is huge and there are an overwhelming number of
sites now which include amateur, professional, commercial and public galleries -
all spread rather thin. It's hard to know who to connect with, and updating information
to these sites is time-consuming. I imagine ICOM's proposal is intended to provide
a focus site for the public sector ("museums" in the European sense of the word -
including art museums- rather than for-profit galleries and musums).
the AMOL site provides a similar function and I would have thought that rather than
limit access, it improves access to the very galleries and museums that require it
most - the public, non-commercial sector. At Horsham we have already had several
overseas visitors who have found their way us through the AMOL site.
Director, Horsham Regional Art Gallery
would concur with Alan Sisley, especially since the domain name is becoming less
and less the starting point for a search of sites and domain squatters seem to be
tying up all sorts of logical names or redirecting ordinary sounding domains to porn
I suspect the url will become hidden in the future as other means for more
systematic and useful location of information become established.
Melbourne's Living Museum of the West
museum is defined by its content, rather than its name. On the net itís the same...in
the end it is content that counts. I personally have used a Tongan top level domain
for the last two years because, unlike the Australian Government, the Tongans adopted
an open, enterprise based attitude to their domain name registration, requiring only
that the content was not offensive to their Christian values. At least I know that
you won't find a .to gambling or pornography site. I could not say the same about
Some people think .to is a bit banana republic but when you look at Australia's
current exchange rate I could say the same about .com.au
Suffice to say that I
will not be rushing out to purchase a .museum, especially if they take the old world
industrial political-economic approach of restriction and control. It just won't
work in the Information Age; we don't have the time for it.
with you, Merle. It seems to me that this proposal would protect the domain name
"museum" against all sorts of potential misusers of it, which must be in the interests
of ICOM members, and all public museums (including public art galleries)
have we missed something? I don't think this is about Big Brother "vetting" as you
suggest, or about ICOM membership, but about clarifying whether a ".museum" is a
public museum in the ICOM sense, or not. Surely that's in our interests, and such
clarity would be in the "OPEN" interests of free users of the net, too.
Park , Chair ICOM New Zealand
I was at a museums conference in Stockholm recently where the IT person
from ICOM tabled this matter. The concern was that if dot museum is not officially
claimed by ICOM, it will be used by any Tom Dick or Harry, not necessarily
a museum - which would be damaging to legit. museums at large.
Asian Civilisations Museum Singapore
Tue, 10 Oct 2000, Maggie Harrer wrote:
> One more questions, is it possible, and/or
perhaps desireable, to simply copy the web site onto the new .museum domain and thereby
have it the same in both places?? It seems that web sites are most successful when
you have as many avenues as possible to connect to it. If this seems too simplistic,
please educate me, I'm not an expert on web sites obviously.<
You don't need to
do anything as complicated as this. Very many web sites have several (or even many)
different addresses, all diverting into the "home" site totally automatically. (Big
sites like CNN use dozens of web addresses, all of which end up in the same place.)
It's just like using
both Post Box number and a traditional building, street,
and city postal address side by side for "snail mail".
I don't expect that any
museum would actually give up an existing very well known address (and those that
are part of e.g. a government organisation might well be required to retain their
official web and e-mail address as part of that organisation's overall corporate
identity). However, they could (and in my view should) want to have a second identity
as a "proxy" of this along the lines of "CityName.museum".
Director - Global Museum email@example.com
your NEWS to firstname.lastname@example.org
ADVERTISING inquiries to email@example.com