Susan Chun is a researcher and consultant to cultural heritage organizations. Her work focuses on publishing; information management and collections aggregation; cultural data analysis and visualization; intellectual property policy and open content initiatives; advanced search strategies; and multilingual content development and management. She has led a number of pioneering multi-institutional research and development projects in the museum and library community including Project Audience, an interdisciplinary collaboration of arts and culture organizations founded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Steve: The Museum Social Tagging Project. She researches, writes, teaches, and lectures regularly on museum publishing, IP policy, open content initiatives, information management, cataloguing, digitization, search and access, and social software.
Susan’s background in publishing includes work as an editor and publications manager at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Alfred A. Knopf, and the Asia Society, as well as fifteen years’ employment at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she managed the museum’s scholarly publishing program, handled its co-edition and international publishing contracts, and negotiated a worldwide distribution deal with Yale University Press. As the Met’s first Senior Editor for New Media, she served as editorial advisor for the 2000 launch of www.metmuseum.org, helped to plan its award-winning Timeline of Art History, and managed the development of the museum’s earliest electronic publications. Later, as General Manager for Collections Information Planning in the Office of the Director, she was responsible for developing museum strategy on intellectual property, asset management and archiving, digital imaging and licensing, cataloguing, and standards, and planned and managed Met Images, the museum’s first-ever digital asset management project.
She serves as Chair of the international advisory committee for Conservation Reel, as a convening member of the Content Strategy Committee of the Digital Public Library of America, as a member of the National Education Advisory Council for Art 21, and as a member of the museum advisory council for ARTstor. She is a former faculty member in the graduate museum studies programs at the University of Lugano (Switzerland) and Johns Hopkins University, and serves as publisher for the museum professional organization Museums and the Web.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, 1989–94, 1998–2007
General Manager for Collections Information Planning, Office of the Director
Senior Editor and Marketing Manager, Editorial Department
As General Manager for Collections Information Planning (2002–07), responsible for shaping and documenting museum policy and developing long-term strategies for intellectual property policy, publishing, asset management and archiving, digital imaging and licensing, cataloguing, and standards. Proposed, planned, and implemented new and ongoing content-related projects, digital strategy, and intellectual property policy, focusing on integrating and synthesizing content created and archived throughout the museum. Led project-planning activities, including needs assessment, requirements and specification authoring, development and oversight of schedules and budgets, and selection and supervision of vendors and project teams. Supported the museum’s executive staff with research; meeting briefings and white papers; and grant writing and reporting.
As Editorial Department Marketing Manager (1998–2002), managed all distribution, co-edition, and foreign edition negotiations and relationships for an annual list of approximately 30 publications, with $2 million in sales. As Senior Editor (1998–2002), oversaw scholarly publications, including the MMA Journal. Developed a print series for the publication of symposium papers and created formats for the museum’s first electronic exhibition and collection catalogues. Served as senior editorial advisor to the museum’s Education Department, for the 1999 re-launch of www.metmuseum.org, and for the development of the museum’s Timeline of Art History.
Notable Projects at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Met Images. Initiated, proposed, and planned the museum’s three-year, $5 million project to implement an institution-wide digital asset management system including creation of project requirements and selection of vendors, development of online licensing tools, improving existing workflows to support image capture and cataloguing, and building relationships with third-party image licensors. Served as project leader for a cross-departmental team of more than 30 staff responsible for tool implementation and training, business practices, legal and financial management, imaging, and cataloguing.
Scholars’ License. Developed a plan to offer high-resolution images of the museum’s collections free of charge for scholarly publishing (reducing administrative costs and serving art historians and educators seeking to use or publish academic content). Established license terms and conditions, negotiated with distributors of images, including ARTstor, which launched the initiative in 2006 as “Images for Academic Publishing.”
Social Tagging (Steve.Museum). Planned a project to investigate methods for acquiring keyword or subject terminology for images of works in the collection in order to support improved access by the staff and public. Sponsored the 2005 “Cataloguing by Crowd” meeting of museum professionals that resulted in the formation of the Steve.Museum collaboration to build open source social tagging tools and analyze the collected terms. Co-authored three successful IMLS National Leadership Grant proposals funding the collaborative research project.
Conservation Documentation. Planned and supervised a Mellon Foundation-funded project to conduct a detailed inventory of the museum’s conservation documentation and to recommend a course of action for managing and preserving it.
Educational and Training Initiatives. Worked with the College Art Association to develop a copyright workshop for museum professional staff that reviews current trends in copyright law as well as museum policies and procedures for preparing materials for publication. Developed a workshop and research project on “The Qualities of Enduring Publications” aimed at engendering discussion with professional staff about creating books of enduring quality.
Intellectual Property Policy. Formed and chaired the museum’s first IP Policy Committee. Developed and documented policies for digital rights expression, licensing of museum content for scholarly and commercial uses, and attribution. Authored best practices and due diligence guidelines for authors and researchers.
Labels. Managed a project to automate authoring, editing, design, production, and archiving of wall labels for exhibitions and installations and to integrate authoring and archiving with the museum’s collections management system.
Publication Distribution. Led a two-year review of the museum’s book distribution and co-publishing activities, resulting in the selection of Yale University Press as the new worldwide distributor for the Met’s scholarly and exhibition catalogues. Supervised contract negotiation and transition from existing distributor, as well as development of inventory management strategies, marketing activities, and financial reporting.
Asia Society, New York, New York, 1996–98
Managed planning, development, editing, production, and distribution of all Asia Society books and journals, exhibition graphics, ephemera, and educational materials. Served as the Society’s principal contact with authors, curators, and suppliers (including editors, photographers, designers, printers, and publishers). Developed and edited all art-related content for www.asiasociety.org.
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, New York, 1994–96
Senior Production Manager
Handled project and production management of Knopf’s heavily-illustrated books. Developed a new publishing database to track specifications, calculate p&ls, manage schedules, and generate reports for Knopf Publishing Group’s editorial, production, design, and accounting staff. Oversaw database testing, implementation, revision, and training.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1986–88
Editorial and Production Assistant, Publications Department
SELECTED PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES & APPOINTMENTS
ARTstor: Museum Advisory Council (2013–present)
Museums and the Web: Publisher (2013–present)
Guidestar: User Advisory Panel (2012–present)
Digital Public Library of America: Convening Member, Content Strategy Committee (2011–present)
Balboa Park Online Collaborative: Director of Strategic Initiatives and Research (2011–12)
Conservation Reel: Chair, Advisory Board (2010–present)
Project Audience: Program Director and Principal Investigator, Los Angeles Cultural Benchmarking Project (2010–present)
Art 21 (Art in the 21st Century) National Education Advisory Council: Education and Public Programs Committee member (2009–present)
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore: Lecturer, Master of Arts, Museum Studies program. Course: Cataloguing Museum Collections: History, Trends, and Issues (2006–07)
Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland: Instructor, Master of Science, Technology-assisted Cultural Heritage program. Course: Cataloguing Cultural Heritage Collections (2005–10)
Exploring Tools for Meaningful Concept Displays (Drexel University): advisory board member (2010–11)
Horizon Report Museum Edition: Advisory Board (2010–11)
Museum Computer Network: Program Committee (2010)
Founder and Project Lead, Steve: The Museum Social Tagging Project (Steve.Museum); Co-Principal Investigator, “Steve in Action” grant (New Media Consortium, 2008–11); Research Consultant and Museums Working Group Chair, “T3: Text, Tags, Trust” (University of Maryland, 2008–11); Project Director/Research Consultant, “Researching Social Tagging and Folksonomy in Art Museums” grant (The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Indianapolis Museum of Art, 2006–08)
AAM Media & Technology Committee MUSE Awards: juror (2009–10)
U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant program: panelist (2007–09)
Resident Scholar, Museum Programs, New Media Consortium (2007-2008)
International Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting (ICHIM): International Program Committee (2001, 2007)
Publications Committee, College Art Association (2004–07)
Founding Member, Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO); Board of Directors (2002–05); AMICO-ARTstor Transition Committee (Chairman); Editorial Committee (Chairman, 1999–2002)
PRESENTATIONS, PUBLICATIONS, AND GRANTS
Forthcoming and past presentations and publications, as well as a list of funded grant proposals, can be viewed here.
American Association of Museums/International Council of Museums (AAM/ICOM)
Americans for the Arts
College Art Association
Museum Computer Network
CIDOC (International Committee for Documentation of the International Council of Museums)
Visual Resources Association
Past Member/Institutional Representative: Consortium for the Interchange of Museum Information (CIMI); National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage (NINCH)
Bryn Mawr College, A.B., English Literature