Museum Decks Here We Go! Beaty Biodiversity Museum Deck in progress.

We’re happy to announce that we’ve made quite a bit of progress in the museum deck front. Basically, for a while now, we’ve been talking about the possibility of special museum decks, primarily to address some of the core issues that are inherent with the Phylomon Project. Many of these were discussed in the forums, but for a quick reminder, these included the following:

1. The cards, as great as they look, are still only as good as the printer you print them with. Furthermore, even with a great printer, and great paper, and the use of slick card sleeves, it’s still not as cool (in terms of tactile feel) as the cards that get printed professionally. Plus, many of the most desired cards are the ones that are printed with special inks (they glow, or sparkle, etc). In other words, we wanted to explore whether there was a way where Phylo cards could be printed using the same high quality materials found in other commercially available card games.

2. Often the most sought after cards are the “rare” cards. However, although the phylo cards are a great resource, the open access nature of the project prevents the possibility of “rare” cards (i.e. they’re all free and only a click away). Allowing the printing of special decks could address this need, as quantity can be easily controlled.

3. Finally, constructing specific decks for specific reasons is often very difficult. This is because the card options are ultimately determined by the image donations received. Whilst, these are uniformly awesome, it is often impossible to make a perfect representative deck of, say, a locale (like Vancouver) or a particular scenario (like rainforest challenges).

With these three points in mind, we’re currently in the midst of a pilot project with the Beaty Biodiversity Museum as our partner. Generally speaking, the main objective is to print physical decks. The tricky part here, of course, is that this would ideally involve a mechanism where the deck could be sold, so that costs could be recoup. However, since the project revolves around non-commercial, educational, open access, open source philosophies, we had to be careful to still stay mindful of these very important ideals. This would mean either to continue following them, or at the very least, operate in a manner that would still respect the general mandate of the project and continue the good will that has been a wonderful element so far. Anyway, this Beaty initiative involves the following logistics:

1. Total funding offered for art per deck is approximately $5000.

2. Base payment of $200 per image. This number is being piloted but seemed to hit the middle ground of all the different quotes we heard when getting feedback on fair payment amounts. Hire an artist to do a minimum of 5 images per contract. Depending on museum desires and artist’s interest/availability, one artist could be courted to do more, even an entire deck (about 25 images).

3. Choice of the 25 images – about 20 different organisms, and 5 different event cards – will be determined by the museum. This collection will likely reflect either a locality (i.e. the museum is based in a particular city or area) or it may highlight the exhibits and specimens that it contains (this is similar to what was done with the primer London Natural History Museum Deck).

4a. Full copyright of images (and the physical image) will still be retained by the artist, except that the artist agrees that the imagery can be used online with full attribution, in a noncommercial manner, and is strictly non-derivative (i.e. must be used in context with the phylo card). In other words, the “cards” will also live online and be freely accessible like all the other online phylo cards.

4b. Art can also be used to make physical phylo decks. Again with full attribution and in a non-derivative fashion. In this case, non-derivative means use is restricted to the museum or institution who is hosting the “deck.” This is a little more open than the online details, but I’m guessing the museum would love to use the same images for other non-commercial exhibit related purposes? As well, in this case, there is an option for such physical decks to be sold, but if so, any revenue made MUST go towards outreach initiatives and not general purpose budgets. i.e. we attempt to ensure that the decks, if in the fortunate position of being popular enough to create funding, can only be sold to fund raise for worthy educational/outreach projects.

Note that full attribution to you (as well as a website to point to) follows your image in every circumstance.

5. Detailed contract of expectations of images and timeline is produced in collaboration before finalization. We already currently have two templates for contracts (one simple, and one with in depth legal language to cover the specific copyright details – thanks Alex and Lindsay!), as well as sample invoice documents. We’ll make sure they are kept here at this post and once this deck is finished, we’ll also place on a centralized part of the website as a resource for other interested museums.

6. All cards will use a universal card back. This is currently being designed, but will involve minor tweaks of this gorgeous repeating pattern provided by Suzanne Norris.

7. We’ll also do our best to track how feasible it is for a museum to recoup the initial art costs. For instance, if the numbers suggest a reasonably quick timeframe, we can suggest that artists be made at a higher rate.

8. Note that this model also opens up the wonderful possibility of “expansion packs.” Mini decks that can be sold separately, possibly in tandem with specific exhibitions shown at the museum.

In any event, take a look here to look at some of the specific resources that the Beaty Biodiversity Museum has produced to help move this along. For now, we’ve included this, in the deck section of the phylo website.