Vesica Blog - Taking museum and art collections to the cloud

December 22, 2011

Export Object Data to Microsoft Word

Documenting your collection just became more flexible – with Vesica, you can now print different parts or all of the information about an object to a Word document. It’s a fully-formatted export, and once all the information is in Microsoft Word, you can edit to your heart’s content. From the ability to do further research work, print and file hard copies, collaborate on objects at meetings, or simply export information about a piece into Word to customize and print out labels for exhibitions – in terms of formatting, editing and presenting your data, this new feature lets you do what you need in a tool so many of us have become accustomed to using.

Printing an object to MS Word is easy – you will do exactly what you’ve been doing to print your object information – except now on the window that allows you to choose which sections to print, in addition to a “Print” button you will also see a “Print to Word” button. Just click on this and you’ll be prompted to download the details of your object as a Word document – simple!

Here is a sample link to an object’s data extracted from Vesica as a Microsoft Word document.

» Download Sample

November 25, 2011

Vesica charts get drill down functionality

Filed under: News,Using Vesica — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 3:29 pm

Vesica users today will be able to drill down from Vesica charts into detailed data about their collections. This functionality makes interacting with your collections easier, faster and more intuitive. Where as before you could just visualize your collection via the pie charts and would have to search independently to get the list of objects that made up the chart, you can now simply click on the appropriate slice of the pie in the chart, once to slide it out, and a second time to click through to get a list of objects that make up the statistic.

Let’s show you how it works. Below is a pie chart of all the artists who have work listed in the account we’re looking at. You’ll also note in the chart that we’ve clicked on Vincent Van Gogh once, so his piece of the pie has slid out.

Pie Charts - Drill Down Functionality

 If you clicked on the Van Gogh piece of the pie again, you’ll go to a page that will list all 61 objects in your account which have Van Gogh tagged as the artist.

Van Gogh in Vesica

The drill down functionality has been applied to all 7 charts in Vesica.

November 22, 2011

Preview: Interactive Timeline

Filed under: Education,Technology,Upcoming Features,Using Vesica — admin @ 1:28 pm

Further to the email some of our users would have received, we will this week start rolling out the Interactive Timeline to several accounts, with others to follow in the next week or so.

The Interactive Timeline Feature is another way to visualize and interact with your collection on a timeline and map. Whilst you will see a simplified but functional version of the timeline in your Vesica Dashboard, in the future there will be a more visitor interactive version of the timeline deployed on all Vesica galleries with a view to making the galleries a more engaging, interactive and educational tool for museums.

The Interactive Timeline in Vesica is inspired by the Helibrunn Timeline developed by the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Using the Timeline is easy – you simply select the appropriate period and the map reloads. Hovering over each region will show you the number and types of objects available from that period in the region. Clicking on any of the displayed results will bring up details of the objects.

We’ll be publishing more details on the planned enhancement of the Vesica Timeline in the near future – in the mean time, here is a screenshot of what many of you will start seeing in your Dashboard under the “Charts” link on the menu.

 Vesica Timeline

November 8, 2011

The Vesica Partner Program

The Vesica Partner Program was launched earlier this week and is now accepting applications.

Ideal for professionals and companies who work with the museum, heritage, art or cultural sector, the Vesica Partner Program offers a host of benefits to Partners, including:

  • Additional, on-going revenue

  • PR Opportunities

  • Participation in our Webinars and at Customer Events

  • And much, much more…

Vesica is a pay as you go, cloud-based collection management software application for museums, collectors and heritage organisations. With unlimited storage, CDWA Compliant data feeds, streaming audio and video, charts and other interactive educational and marketing tools, Vesica offers museums and heritage organisations a SaaS option, enabling  them to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in IT and licensing fees in addition to gaining operational efficiency and increasing revenue streams.

To become a partner, apply today at https://vesica.ws/partners/.

October 31, 2011

Are Mobile Apps for Museums Overrated?

[poll id="2"]

The last year or so has seen a dramatic increase in all the talk about mobile apps, not just across the museum and heritage industry, but for all major sectors. From banking apps to games to photo management, from useful apps like the TFL Live London Underground Updates to the completely worthless ones like SimStapler, mobile apps are in. But are they really adding any value to someone’s experience on a mobile device, or do many companies invest in building an app simply because someone else (who is possibly competition) is doing it?

As with all things technology, building, buying or investing in something just because another company is doing it is probably the worst way to justify expending your resources. But marketing gurus, who drive much of the social media, interactive and website / mobile website policies in business and non-profit industries, will probably have you believe otherwise. For many of them, having a FaceBook app is vital to ‘staying competitive ‘- a mobile app is not different. But who can blame them – spending and job titles have to be justified if they are to stay in work year after year – but this article is not about the marketing aspect.

So museums can invest in a variety of different mobile apps – and most of the talk that you’ll see on LinkedIn groups, for instance, is all about trying to engage the visitor (without actually defining the visitor interestingly enough). But if we were to work back and look at mobile applications as tools and investments, the following questions need to be answered:

  • Will a mobile app increase visitor footfall, enhance visitor experience or keep visitors engaged with the museum longer (let’s stick measurable results here, not prophesized effects)?
  • Will the mobile app add to museum revenues in any way?
  • Will the mobile app save the museum any money in the long run?
  • Will the mobile app increase the museum’s operational efficiency or boost employee morale?
  • Will the mobile app add anything along adding to the knowledge and education of the public in line with the museum’s aims and goals?

Of course, it’s probably important to decide WHAT the mobile app will do before you go by evaluating these factors – but at the very least, a decision to develop a mobile application must, in my view, be subject to a YES for at least 2 of the above questions.

So, can mobile applications actually accomplish any of the above?

Whilst it may seem very promising from a visitor engagement standpoint, my personal view is that a mobile app will have little or no effect for most museums. For science and technology museums that target and engage a younger audience, by all means, yes – for others, I don’t think so. Most likely (and please quote statistics if they are available otherwise), the typical museum goer is actually irritated with smart phones, and at best, only uses it for email or the GPS (if they can).

That’s not to say that a well built museum app cannot serve an educational purpose – but even then, it really depends on potential visitors to show enough dedication to view the museum’s collection on a small screen – that requires quite a high level of tolerance, even with today’s technology.

I believe the real use of mobile applications lies in helping museums becoming more efficient and helping make the life of museum employees easier. Mobile apps, whether they are for phones and tablets, can assist curatorial staff or art historians in constantly managing and updating collection related data, without having to log into a PC or particular piece of software. This can be especially useful, if combined with the photography and scanning / inventory management related functionality available in today’s smartphones.

At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong here – it’s all just a matter of how each person approaches the subject of  mobile apps for museums. My general view is that customer / visitor facing apps for museums are overrated, and will, in all likelihood, not produce a good return on investment.

But we’d love to hear other views, so please share yours.

September 28, 2011

Annotate and Crop Images in Vesica

With the update this week, you can now annotate and crop images inside Vesica. This has been a popular feature request and after much consideration (and testing), we’re glad to announce that you can do this in the browser whilst using Vesica, so you don’t have to use your image editing software to crop or annotate images.

Cropping and annotating with Vesica is easy – next to each image in the “Images” tab when editing a piece, you’ll now see 5 buttons. The third button allows you to crop, the 4th to annotate, as shown below.

Crop and Annotate

When Cropping an image, Vesica automatically saves the cropped version as an additional image, in case you need to retain both the original and the cropped versions. Cropping is really quite simple and intuitive – you select the part of the image you want to crop and press the “Crop” button – Vesica does the rest.


Cropping with Vesica

Annotations in Vesica are stored as additional layers on top of the image, which means your original image remains unchanged. When you view the image in your account, annotations appear as you hover over the image (as shown below). Annotations are not shown in the online galleries within Vesica or on external sites if the image is displayed via an API.

Annotate
Annotating with Vesica

It’s really all quite simple and as always, the best way to get a hang of it is to start using it! Please feel free to post any feedback or questions, or contact support if you need assistance with the above features.

September 16, 2011

Short Courses in October 2011 – Ottoman Textiles

Filed under: Education — admin @ 4:36 pm

Continuing the educational pursuit of traditional arts, we will be offering the 2 following short courses next month (October, 2011) in London, UK.

To book, please call +44 (0) 20 8133 8050.

 

August 19, 2011

Update: Streaming Video, Audio and Search Report Printing

Filed under: News,Technology — Tags: , , , , — Asif N @ 5:03 pm

As mentioned in Tuesday’s preview of today’s update, Vesica now supports audio and video streaming via HTML5 across a variety of browsers and formats. Here’s a brief overview of today’s updates.

» Audio / Video with HTML5

The audio and video integration simply adds on top of your existing piece and collection pages. You’ll see audio and video tabs across the top when you add / edit a piece or collection as shown in the screenshot below:

audio video tabs

Adding and streaming videos is also really simple. Just click on the + button as shown below to add a video or audio file, and simply click on the file name to start streaming it. You can also change the file name / description, or download it.

video tab - vesica

You are currently able to upload the following formats:

Audio: MP3, OGG, WAV and WMA
Video: MP4, AVI, MOV, OGG / OGV amd WMV

» Icons

You’ll also notice the use of the pencil and trash can icon in the above screenshots. In this release, we’ve rolled out icons for all common functions, including editing, deleing, saving and printing.

» Printing

In addition to being able to print detailed reports about a particular piece or object in Vesica, you can now pring reports about listings of pieces filtered by virtually any of the parameters. You can do this by running an advanced search report on your main piece listing page. Simply select from the criteria you need and once the results appear, click on the print icon. The screenshots below will show you how easy it is.

1. Click on Advanced Search to bring up the search dialog, choose your criteria and press the Search button.

2. Once your search results appear, just press the Print button to print the results. It’s simple!

Today’s update brings us a step closer towards making Vesica a collection management platform that supports media of all types for museums and collectors.

There’s more to come on additonal planned features – visit https://vesica.ws/features/ for more details or subscribe to our rss feed.

August 16, 2011

Preview of this Week’s Update

It’s Tuesday afternoon and we’re happy to announce that the release scheduled for later this week (Friday) will not only add some new features, but will grow the application functionality in terms of compatibility and add something in terms of easier navigation and user experience. The team has been hard at work implementing some of the feature requests from Q2 of 2011 and we’ve been planning a list of features and functionality to add to the platform for later this year. So, let’s get started wth what’s coming:

Streaming Video with HTML5

That’s right, you’ll now be able to upload video files in various formats and stream (or download) them from within your Vesica account. You’ll be able to associate these video files with pieces and collections. To start off with, we’ll initially be supporting a maximum file size upload of 1 GB in the following formats: AVI, MOV, WMV, OGG/OGV and MP4. Over time you’ll see more improvement to the video management platform, including the ability to control quality and embed video elsewhere (with or without the API). The best part about streaming video via HTML5 – we can support all modern desktop browsers and most mobile devices, including the iPad / iPhone and Android based phones and tablet PCs. In terms of browser support, you’ll need IE9, FF4+ or the latest version of Chrome / Safari / Opera to stream the files. You can always download and view the files on your desktop as needed.

Audio Streaming Compatibility

In July we added the ability to stream audio files (for your museum / exhibition guides, etc.). We’ve now made some changes to the audio platform, the result of which is that you can upload any of the formats we supported previously, and they’ll play in all of the modern browsers, irrespective of the format. Previously, you were unable to play OGG files in IE 9 and MP3 files in FireFox – this compatibility issue will be resolved with the update.

Interface Changes

Yes, we’re finally adding some dropdowns for easier access to the many settings / configuration pages, the support ticketing system and the FAQs. In addition to that, we’ll be deploying some icons for the buttons you see on the site (like save, edit, print etc.)  to free up more space for your content.

A Word on Data Standards

The technical team has also been evaluating various data standards that are in use by museums across the world. Whilst there are no formal dates, in addition to allowing you to export your Vesica data using the Vesica API, we are also planning on making feeds of your collections and related details available in some of the other formats, like the Categories for the Description of Works of Art (CDWA) Lite by The Getty (http://getty.edu). Watch this space for more details on the subject if you’re interested in ‘open’ data for museums.

August 7, 2011

V&A’s Jameel Prize 2011 is weak

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) happens to be one of my favoured larger London museums, but that’s not going to save this year’s Jameel prize. Whilst the Jameel Family and the Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI) have done very well to raise awareness about Islamic Art and Craft (including their substantial donation for the Jameel Gallery at the V&A), the Jameel Prize 2011 is money wasted – something that would be better spent on preserving some of the traditional Islamic craft, or for that matter, helping feed people in the Horn of Africa.

Whilst it is no secret that I don’t really like contemporary or modern art, some of the quality of work shortlisted this year is just bad – and that’s the best thing I can say about it. Such contemporary art, when claimed that it is inspired by the traditions of Islamic craft and design, is simply insulting to those master craftsman who created some of the worlds most stunning textiles, calligraphy and architecture at the height of the Islamic Empire.

Contemporary artists sometimes fail to realize that the very basics of Islamic Art are about beauty, and I’m afraid that some of the works at this exhibition were far from being beautiful. Aisha Khalid’s ‘Name, Class and Subject’ , Hadieh Shafie’s ’22500′ paper scroll works or Soddy Sharifi’s ‘Frolicking Women’ are among the works included in the exhibition, and these suffer from the classic case of deficient contemporary art – don’t focus on making it beautiful, but write a fancy description about it. In fact, if you read the description provided for the works, some of them are plain wrong. Of Hadieh Shafie’s work, for instance, the V&A states that therein ‘the notion of meditative process, repetition and time  as found in Islamic art, craft and architecture is a constant element’. That’s actually quite inaccurate. Nothing about the Hadieh’s pieces in the exhibition represents this as it is done in Islamic Art. The application of the Breath of the Compassionate (or other such pattern) is representative of this meditative process and repetition, paper scrolls of varying sizes are not. Whilst I am not saying that the work is bad, it does not deserve any praise for its reference to a contemporary form of Islamic Art.

The exhibition wasn’t all bad, though. Some of the pieces were good – Aisha Khalid’s Kashmiri Shawl and Bita Ghezelayagh’s ‘Felt Memories’ tunic were some of the pieces that really stood out. Perhaps they were the least abstract of the lot and let their beauty and quality of work do the talking, which is what you would expect from a good work of art.

But don’t take my word for it – the exhibition runs until 25 September 2011. More information is available on http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/j/jameel-prize-2011-shortlist/.

July 28, 2011

Why Preserving Heritage is Paramount

Filed under: For Art's Sake — Asif N @ 2:23 pm

Stonehenge - British HeritageI’m often asked why it is that when I speak about preserving heritage or about possibilities with Vesica, I speak with such passion. The short answer is because I feel passionately about it. That’s difficult at times for some of my corporate friends (old and new) to understand, because during my career as a corporate employee, I was anything but passionate. I never really thought that being a great accountant or writing good software to help deliver some of the salaries that C level executives received was important (despite all the nonsense about corporate social responsibility they fed us), but I believe that saving our history and heritage is. If we, as a species, or as citizens of this planet, forget where we came from, we will never be able to assess the importance or morality of where we are headed.

And because I believe in preservation of heritage and history, at Vesica, our goal has been to make use of technology to help with this, directly or indirectly – and almost everything we do in terms of adding to the Vesica application is driven towards fulfilling this goal. So, why is it really all that important to save our heritage?

At the most basic level, so we can be grateful. Grateful for the things we have today; appreciative of how hard it must have been for those before us to make do without all that we have today; and aware of what we would need to recreate all that history has given us and taught us if we were to lose any of the so addictive dependencies (like technology) we have developed in the last century.

Unfortunately, despite the existence of museums, cultural and heritage organisations, this is already happening today. The number of things we take for granted today is virtually infinite. Take technology, for instance. As a software company, it is very easy to take the availability of computers, servers, the internet and application frameworks for granted. 25 years ago, none of this existed. 50 years ago, this was probably unfathomable. Does anyone ever stop to thank the genius’ of mathematics and science for what we have today – I doubt that the majority of people involved in this industry do.

Take this example to other trades – like sculpting or painting or carving or weaving or embroidery or farming or hunting. Some of the methods and techniques used in these skills are actually extinct. Others are endangered.

There is a reason why textiles and shawls weaved in India, Pakistan and Kashmir which are sold for less than £30 to some London dealers are sold in galleries here for over £1,500. This kind of trade has a good and a horrific side, but it is ultimately doing nothing to save skills like twill tapestry or embroidery from, say, the Hazara region. Let’s take a step back to analyze the leap in price from £30 to £1,500. Someone here appreciates that these hand-made textiles are truly invaluable – in them lies the skill and the effort that you won’t find in the £10 shawls that come out of China or the industrialized parts of the sub-continent. In a couple of decades, reverse engineering these few pieces may be the only way to learn these skills – and until we recognize the importance of this quality and the skill, we will not learn to appreciate our heritage and will perhaps feel that we’ve seriously lost out when China is just not able to manufacture and cater to the needs of the ever-growing human population.

Another example of lost knowledge, which more people may be familiar with, is at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. The Moors figured out how to get water to run uphill in this palace in the 15th century. How easy do you think it is to do that today without an electric motor?

Some may ask why we need to save these skills. Let’s be honest, the things we make today suffer from extremely poor craftsmanship, low quality, synthetic materials and a serious lack of inherent value – and that’s because many of the things are cheap and are not formed with the labour of the craftman’s love. Do you seriously think that the works of Pablo Picasso or Jackson Pollock will last 600 years like the works of Michelangelo or Da Vinci. I doubt if they will, and truth be told, the works of Michelangelo and Da Vinci are probably far more valuable historically than Picasso or Pollock. Not that the latter don’t form part of Spanish and American heritage, respectively, but I think if we were to omit them from history, we probably wouldn’t lose much, in terms of skill or knowledge.

What we preserve is what we will be known by – and the skills, monuments and works that formulate mankind’s achievements and chart its progress over time must be documented and preserved. It’s not just a matter of the human legacy; it is a matter of progress and survival.

That’s why it is sometimes sad to see how much money is spent on modern exhibits that add no value or aesthetic beauty to the world, but simply focus on sales. The pursuit of such values and the lack of appreciation and effort toward preserving heritage and traditional arts leads me to believe that we may one day end up in the land of Idiocracy, not knowing where we came from, how we did or do things, or what we need to do any more. It’s a scary thought (or a comical one, if you’re a cynic), but it only serves us that saving our heritage is, in fact, paramount to our survival.

Vesica now available on Google’s Chrome Web Store

Filed under: News,Technology — Tags: , , , , , — vesica-press-releases @ 11:00 am

Vesica is today available on Google’s Chrome Web Store, which allows you to install apps within the Chrome browser for easy access. Install the app today by visiting https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/acdplfpagmdnkcaekeeklfdiphcpnnep. The Vesica app is available free to all users.

July 23, 2011

Stream your Audio Guides in Vesica

We’re very excited today about launching the audio management and streaming feature in Vesica. It’s an additional step towards making Vesica an all inclusive collection management application for museums and heritage organisations. In the next few weeks, video support will also be added.

After some planning, we decided to implement audio support in Vesica using HTML5. Whilst this has some limitations, in the long run, we believe it will be of great benefit to our customers. Using HTML5 to playback audio means that  you may face some compatibility issues with certain file types in certain browsers but it will allow you to stream audio on Apple iPad and other Google Android and Windows 7 powered PCs. For instance, Mozilla FireFox does not support streaming MP3s, but Chrome, Safari and IE9 do (even mobile versions of Chrome and Safari do). For more details on compatibility with streaming, please see this FAQ. Of course, you can always download your audio files to play them back on your Mac or PC.

Audio files in Vesica can be associated with a particular object or a collection. Just like all other tabs on your piece or collection management screens, you’ll also see an ‘Audio’ tab. Here’s what it will look like:

Audio in Vesica

Audio file formats currently supported are MP3, WAV, WMA and OGG.

Audio files will tie in with the Vesica ecosystem, allowing you to re-use the guides in online exhibitions as needed.

July 13, 2011

Vesica API (beta) Available Today

Filed under: News,Technology — Tags: , , , — vesica-press-releases @ 2:11 pm

A beta version of the Vesica API is available today.

As one of the most requested features, the Vesica API allows you to add, view and manage your objects and collections by sending various parameters via the “POST” method. In return, the API sends XML based on the received parameters. The Vesica API can be used to export data from your Vesica account or to display information on your website or other in other applications.

The API is being developed actively and will be updated from time to time, as we add additional functionality to it.

To get started, see the API documention for developers on https://vesica.ws/developers/.

July 5, 2011

Vesica is now available on AppDirect

Filed under: News,Technology — Tags: , , , , — vesica-press-releases @ 5:28 pm

July 1, 2011 – Vesica is now available via the AppDirect marketplace.

AppDirect is a free web-based application which allows you to use and manage web-based applications from anywhere in one simple and secure site. It’s also a marketplace that provides the latest web-based applications. It really is based on the concept of simplifying the use of software on the internet, so we’re glad to be a part of it.

“The integration with AppDirect is another step towards increasing the global awareness of Vesica,” says Asif Nawaz, Founder and Chief Software Architect at Vesica. “With AppDirect’s single sign-on functionality, museums and other art, heritage and cultural organisations can now fully benefit from the use and pricing structure of SaaS applications without the hassle of  managing cross application usernames, passwords and security controls.”

Vesica is the first art collection related application on AppDirect.

Already use AppDirect? Sign-up for Vesica on https://www.appdirect.com/apps/552.

For further information, please contact the Vesica office on +44 (0) 20 8133 8050 or .

June 20, 2011

Vesica joins AIM and BAFM

We are pleased to announce that Vesica is now part of the Association of Independent Museums in the UK and the British Association of Friends of Museums.

These memberships come as part of our larger plan to integrate with the heritage, culture and museum communities in Britain and to help, wherever and however we can, with our expertise and Vesica.

As such, Vesica can help member organisations plug looming funding gaps, save costs and monetize their existing collections in many ways, in addition to helping museums digitally document, manage and archive their collections.

For more information, or speak with a member of our team about how we can help, please call 020 8133 8050.

June 13, 2011

Detailed Report Printing with Vesica

Filed under: News,Using Vesica — Tags: , , — admin @ 1:20 pm

The weekend’s release has added some powerful object / piece level report printing functionality to Vesica. The report is generated in an HTML format, so you an easily print it to a PDF of paste it into a Word document and edit to your heart’s content. We’re also working on an export to word feature, which will allow you to export different parts of the piece management system directly into word.

Here’s how you can print a report. You need to log-in to your Vesica account and edit the piece you would like to print information about. The edit screen now has a Print button on the top right side of the screen as shown below:

print-button-vesica

When you click on the print button, you’ll get another pop-up window which will allow you to choose the parts of the piece / object you would like to print. It’ll look like the screenshot below:

Print Object Window

Just check the boxes for the appropriate sections you would like printed, and press the Print button to the lower right of this window. Almost immediately, this popup will close and a new browser tab will open the report in printable / exportable format. When you’re done with that report, simply close the tab and you’ll go back into your Vesica account.

As always, we’re here to help answer any questions you have, so please do ask, via the blog, or support centre.

June 5, 2011

In the game of browsers, Chrome Wins @ Vesica

Over the last few days we’ve released several updates to the platform, with the result that we’ve been testing vigorously across all the latest browsers. Whilst Vesica works in Firefox 3.5 and 4, Opera 10+, IE 8 and 9, Safari 5 and Chrome 11 along with most tablet PC browsers, Chrome reigns supreme (at least on Microsoft Windows).

I’m not going to go into details of performance, because the difference is really quite obvious without having to measure seconds and milliseconds. Here’s a brief run down of why Chrome really is superior browser:

  • Pages just load faster. Doesn’t matter whether they are heavy on JavaScript or HTML 5. In Chrome they load faster than in any other browser.
  • No JavaScript Lag. I really had high hopes for IE 9 and Firefox 4 here, and whilst they perform vastly better than their predecessors, they simply do not do as well as Chrome does. For instance, the Vesica piece editing interface uses multiple JavaScript / JQuery tabs and accordions with multiple dialogs – compared to Chrome, all the browsers  will have some lag. Even if it is not very noticeable in FF 4 and Safari unless you specifically compare with Chrome, it is there.
  • Smoother Animation. Again, this may have a thing or 2 to do with JavaScript loading better, but all JQuery and HTML5 animation is far better and smoother on screen with Chrome than it is with any other browser.

Whilst I had high hopes for IE9 and Firefox4, I was a little disappointed. Although IE9 really does have great standards compliance and some FF plugins are virtually unparalleled, Chrome just delivers a far more superior experience for an application like Vesica.

May 27, 2011

Summer workshops at Vesica

We’ve just released the schedule for our Summer courses and workshops in 2011.

The following 2 courses will be offered in June / July:

For more details or to book please visit https://vesica.ws/education/.

May 20, 2011

Museums and virtual exhibitions – help is on the way

Ever since we started to work on Vesica, our team has always been interested in the workings of virtual exhibitions. I’ve also recently been keeping up with some very interesting articles. In particular, Michael Douma’s articles on the IDEA blog with regards to virtual exhibitions, their potential and how they are affecting the potential breed of online museums visitors have made an interesting read.

Whilst I am of the view that some things can only been seen and appreciated in person, that’s certainly not the case for everyone. I also believe that the correct implementation and application of virtual exhibitions holds great potential for museums, not just in terms of attracting new a genre of visitor or international visitors, but more so in terms of monetizing permanent collections, indefinitely.

As someone who thinks technology is meant to serve us (and not the other way around), I believe that with the right tools and integration, building and managing virtual exhibitions can and should be easy for museums. But that’s not the case, because managing a virtual exhibition can be quite demanding in terms of time, investment and manpower. Once it gets going it may not be too difficult to manage, but curating a virtual exhibition also takes some web expertise and can be quite laborious.

At Vesica, we have a vision. We want virtual exhibitions to be a piece of cake to build, cost effective (with little or no financial investment in addition to what it may take to curate an actual exhibition) and less time consuming. Better, we actually have a plan in place to see that vision come true and our team is in the initial phases to get our virtual exhibitions module (that’s what I’ll call it for now) off the ground and into cyberspace.

So how will this work? In a nutshell, we believe that virtual exhibitions can and should be an extension to a museum’s collection management software. This should be (and with Vesica it is) a repository of everything to do with your collection, including your audio guides, videos, images and other public domain information required for an online exhibit. We will allow the use of this information, perhaps via click and drag functionality, allowing museums to create a virtual exhibition with just a few clicks (and typing in some configuration parameters, of course). It’s going to be easy, should take just a few minutes to configure and will be hosted on a museum branded website. Museums will have the option to charge a fee for these exhibitions to all who want to see it. Furthermore, if museums use the virtual exhibitions function in Vesica, we’ll promote the exhibition to our userbase, depending on the relevance of a particular exhibition. And here is the best part – at this point we don’t anticipate any additional costs on top of the ongoing Vesica price to use the virtual exhibitions module – which is about £0.05 per object.

It really is going to be easy to use – just like the rest of Vesica. If you have suggestions about how you would like to see virtual exhibitions work, please do not hesitate to share.

May 1, 2011

iPad and Tablet PCs now supported

Filed under: News,Upcoming Features,Using Vesica — Tags: , , , , , — vesica-press-releases @ 6:20 pm

Vesica - now available for tablet PCs

With today’s update, Vesica now supports Apple iPad and other Google Android and Windows 7 powered tablet PCs.

This mobile compatibility is one of many upcoming add-ons and we believe it to be of great benefit to museums and collectors, who can now start archiving and documenting collections on the go. All major devices that work with the above operating systems and have the latest mobile browser related updates will support Vesica. No third party software or app installation is needed. Simply visit https://vesica.ws on your mobile device, sign in and start using Vesica.

We’re also offering financing on iPads and other tablets with Vesica. If you are a museum, you may also be eligible for free tablet PCs with Vesica. More information on this will be coming soon.

In the mean time,  please contact our sales department for more details.

April 26, 2011

The new Vesica. It’s here.

Filed under: News — Asif N @ 1:51 pm

As announced in my post of April 13, 2011, I’m pleased to tell you that the new, upgraded Vesica was released yesterday (April 25).

As I had mentioned, the new release gives Vesica a completely new interface, a new chart producing system and a new piece management and file management section, to name a few things! Here is a brief (and by no means comprehensive) run down of some of the things you should know about this release.

  • The new feature list is available on https://vesica.ws/features/.
  • As requested by so many visitors, the new price list is published on https://vesica.ws/pricing/.
  • A new FAQ system has been made available on https://vesica.ws/faqs/. We’ll be adding FAQs here over the coming weeks that will help with any basic support related queries.
  • Browser compatibility. Whilst we are still working out some compatibility issues with Internet Explorer 9, the platform should work fine with the recent and latest releases of Chrome, FireFox, Safari and Opera.
  • Should you have any issues or technical difficulties, please raise a support ticket using the support system available in your Vesica dashboard.
  • Please note that all functions that depend on payment processing, including account upgrading and gallery sales, are currently inactive. We are working with our new payment provider to get these activated at the soonest. An update will be published in the next few days.
  • Should you require an upgrade, please use live support or call us on +44 (0) 20 8133 8050.
  • Sign in (or sign up, if you don’t have an account), use Vesica and add some pieces / objects to your account. That’s the only way to enjoy the new release. With its animated charts and sliding page sections, it really is fun to use!

Also, if you’d like to receive our news releases and keep up to date with new features and articles on how to use Vesica, please subscribe to our RSS feed and mailing list.

April 13, 2011

The new Vesica – Coming Soon

Filed under: News,Upcoming Features — Tags: , , — Asif N @ 11:58 am

The New Vesica

We’ve been waiting for this as much as you have – it is with great pleasure that I am announcing the release date of the new version of Vesica – April 25, 2011.

The team has been hard at work for the last few months – we’ve been working day and night to put together something that I am truly proud of. This isn’t just a major upgrade, it’s a complete overhaul of the Vesica platform, and it is impressive (if I may say so myself).

Among other things, the new version boasts :

  • A completely new interface to search and edit pieces / objects and collections. This interface is fast and extensive, and feedback has been extremely positive during testing.
  • A comprehensive new section for object management – the software now allows you to extensively document, manage and market your art collection.
  • Speed – yes, it works almost as fast as a desktop application. There’s no page loading when you switch tabs, upload files or submit new information about a collection or piece.
  • Grace – this was important for me – we had to make sure that whatever we built was good to look at and graceful to interact with.
  • Advanced Search – now you just check some criteria boxes to filter your collection and all the relevant pieces show up. Type and further narrow the search criteria. It all happens lightning fast!
  • Charts – yes, now you can see beautifully animated charts that illustrate your collection by type, technique, region, dynasty or any of the other Vesica parameters.
  • Much, much more!

There’s a lot of good stuff in the new release in addition to the features mentioned above. We’ve looked at the art collection standard and gone the extra mile. We will also be publishing a regularly updated list of upcoming features with the new release.

Best of all, given the boost of new users we have had, we’ve been able to revise the pricing structure. A new price list will be published on April 25. I can, however, tell you that the free account now allows for up to 10 pieces, and each increment of 50 pieces from thereon is priced at £5. It’s nice and simple – and we like simple! In short, your existing account will only see a positive effect – piece allowance will go up and your monthly statement will automatically be adjusted to reflect the new price.

Watch this space for more updates over the next few days!

March 25, 2011

Change of Payment Gateway

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — admin @ 12:26 pm

For various reasons, we at Vesica have decided to make the switch from our current payment provider to a new one.  This period of transition will take a few weeks and will go live with the new version of Vesica.

Until the change goes into effect, all payments on galleries, upgrades and new accounts will be taken over the telephone.

All existing customers’ payments will be processed as they have been before – unless you want to upgrade or downgrade your plan. If you are a new customer or would like to upgrade the plan you are currently on, please give the office a call on 020 8133 8050 and we’ll process the upgrade over the phone – it will only take a couple of minutes.

We will be advising all customers once the change-over has been processed. Rest assured, we expect the transition to be smooth.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Thank you for your continued support!

February 15, 2011

Painting Techniques Inspired by Ottoman Textiles

A workshop by Nausheen Sheikh

Introduction

The Traditional Crafts are derived from the intertwining of wisdom (hikmah) and craftsmanship (fann or sinaah). Traditional textiles and costumes enable one to wander through the history of the world, from the rise of civilizations to the fall of empires, with a blend of diverse cultures, legends and religions.

Traditional textiles continue to resonate humble beauty and the substance of art is beauty and this is a Divine quality.

Join Nausheen Sheikh, Director of Research and Documentation – Islamic Art and Textiles at Vesica, for a workshop that will take you on a timeless journey through the history, techniques, symbolism and application of these Traditional textiles.

Traditional textiles are rich in pattern, colour and texture. This workshop will introduce students to the harmony of colours and an understanding of pattern created by Geometry and ‘Islimi’ – also known as the Arabesque – and the textural quality of textiles. This will be achieved through traditional painting techniques.

Expected Outcomes

  • To create a painted paper panel of a textile design inspired by the traditional textiles.
  • Design sketches and colour schemes inspired by traditional textiles.
  • Diary/sketchbook of the design process with stages and thoughts.
  • Textile design panel


Workshop Date, Time and Location

Date: Saturdays from 26 February to 19 March.

Timings: 10:30 am to 4:00 pm

Location: Office of Vesica Limited, 16-24 Underwood Street, London, N1 7JQ

Closest tube station: Old Street

Fees: £250 (materials included)


To Book call Vesica on 020 8133 8050 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow Vesica on Twitter Join us on Facebook Join he Vesica LinkedIn Group

Home    •    Blog    •    Contact Us    •    Developers    •    Education    •    Partners    •    About    •    Help & Support    •    News    •    Privacy Policy    •    Terms of Use

Follow us on Twitterk Join Vesica on Facebook