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Engaging the Experts in Museum Computing: Seven Years of Queries on MCN-L


  • Paul F. Marty,

  • Nicole D. Alemanne


MCN-L, an email listserv administered by the Museum Computer Network, is open to anyone interested in discussing information technology in museums and other cultural heritage organizations. To determine how MCN-L meets the needs of museum information professionals, this study presents an analysis of more than 6,000 emails sent to the listserv over a seven-year period (2004–2011). The results of this analysis indicate that MCN-L adds value to the online community of museum information professionals by providing an online communication channel focused on professional outreach and expert support, backed up by specific examples drawn from personal experiences. MCN-L's emphasis on personal expertise is a key characteristic that speaks to the listserv's lasting value to the museum community and has implications for researchers and practitioners as they consider the future of computer-mediated communication for all museum professionals.