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MMD > Archives > December 1999 > 1999.12.07 > 03Prev  Next

Virtual Visiting
By Gerry Bay

My little experiment with posting pictures on the web has produced some
interesting results and feedback which I will summarize here.  First of
all, the hit counter shows the following hits:

  Small music boxes               35
  Miscellaneous                   46
  Cylinder and disk               70
  Gasparini restoration project  119
  Large instruments              168

Looks like we like the big things but have surprisingly little interest
in miniatures.

In general, I have received very favorable feedback about the concept
of sharing one's collection with other enthusiasts.  Most people that
emailed me said they hoped that others would share photos of their
collections as well.  However, several people expressed concern over
security issues.

I really have mixed feelings on this issue.  I certainly don't want
to put myself in harm's way but I also don't want to live in a shell.
My thoughts were that Photopoint required you to log in with my email
address which should pretty much limit access to the people on MMD.
I sure don't know everyone out there but I can say that I haven't
met anyone in MBSI or AMICA that I didn't like.  I have occasionally
received calls from people passing through the area and have invited
them to our home with very enjoyable results.  Thus, I felt that
virtual visiting was merely an extension of what I would do in the
real world.  I'm also aware that many "high profile" collectors publish
catalogs and open their collections to the general public.  They have
not, apparently, had security problems.

We seem to have a bit of a dilemma on our hands.  Increasingly, instru-
ments are going into private collections.  Unless people owning these
collections share their finds with outsiders, then these instruments
will be "lost" and we will all be poorer.  But, allowing people to see
the collections in person or by photo means that the collector takes on
some additional risk.  Actually, it may just be that sharing by photo
is safer than sharing with a personal visit.

I suspect that sharing photos of my collection with around 150 fellow
collectors is an acceptable risk.  I can, however, password protect the
photos for additional security.  This will create additional hassles
for me and for any collector wanting to see the photos.  As an experi-
ment, I have password protected the photos but would give out the
password to you if you email me.  I'll see how this goes.

Finally, I would really encourage others to share their photos with
the group.  Mechanical Music instruments are ideally suited for display
on the web because we should be able to share not only pictures but
audio/video as well.  If you have security concerns, then password
protect the photos so that you at least have a list of who's been
looking at your collection.

Any further thoughts on this topic, pro or con, would be appreciated.

Gerry Bay

(Message sent Tue 7 Dec 1999, 13:41:27 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

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