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DMA's New Dashboard Tool Gives You A Glance At The Books

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Reorganizing departmental staff and hiring new talent aren't the only changes happening at the Dallas Museum of Art. Maxwell L. Anderson, the DMA's new Eugene McDermott Director, launched DMA Dashboard last Friday. The sub-site gives an at-a-glance fact list ranging from monthly over-all endowment value to more obscure details, like the gift shop's square footage (spoiler alert: it's 3,106). Oh, and if you're wondering how much the gift shop brought in online versus in real life, that's all there, too.

This isn't Anderson's first take at dashboard technology. He introduced it in September 2007 at the Indianapolis Museum of Art to crack the virtual spine of the museum's ledgers and open them for public view. IMA's dashboard won honourable mention in the 2008 "Professional" category by Museums And The Web, an annual conference that tracks online presence in cultural organizations.

Toggle between the two and you'll see that our dashboard is not as advanced -- or as pretty -- as the IMA's. Where their site gives thumbnail images of "New Items On View," ours just provides a numerical value in an IKEA-style bubble. Also, the IMA's page gives extra factoids like number of Facebook friends acquired and amount of energy consumed, right down to the kilowatt. Each dash is only quasi-voyeuristic: You'll notice that 102 corporations made DMA contributions in 2011, but you won't specifically see who dished out the goods.

While it wasn't presented as a work in progress in the DMA's press release, our site still appears to be in its early stages. What it does do is reflect Anderson's transparency mission, a topic he's publicly committed himself to. If his steps here reflect his past work, then Dashboard foreshadows promising advancement for the technological arm of the Dallas institution. Two years after launching Dash at IMA, Anderson let his masterpiece, artbabble, loose.

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