Steve: The Museum Social Tagging Project

The steve project team has developed a suite of open source tools that enable tagging of museum collections and the review, analysis, and management of tags. The tools—including the steve tagger, a term review tool, and a reporting tool—support our research activities and are also used by project partners and others to solicit and manage user contributed descriptions of their collections. The steve tagger is available for download through SourceForge.

A preliminary description of plans for further development of the steve tool set will be posted here in the spring of 2009; new releases of the software will be announced here and linked from this page.

How to Participate

Steve software is open source and released under the GNU Lesser General Public License.

The easiest way to get involved is to install the software and start using it. Contact the developers by writing to steve [at] steve [dot] museum and let us know what works for you and what doesn't.

If you're the type to get your hands dirty in code, grab the source from SourceForge and hack away. If your changes would be useful to the community at large, send them to us and we'll see if it makes sense to add them to a future build. We encourage the participation of new developers: let us know if you'd like to be part of the team. Non-developers who have ideas about how the software might be improved are also welcome to share their ideas on our listserv, or by attending one of our presentations or discussions.

Latest Release
The latest release of the steve tagger is 2.0.

New features include

  • Image Hub
    Choose which images you'd like to tag
  • Tag Hub
    Choose what you'll tag based on previous tags assigned to that item
Download the release at
System Requirements

In order to run the Steve tagger on your web server, you will need to have the following software installed:

This list represents the environments that have been targeted and tested. You may be able to run the software under different environments with some tweaking.

Tagger Software Documentation on SourceForge
Documentation for the tagger software is also available through thesteve SourceForge site. Available documentation includes the steve API spec and documentation, the data specification, install guides, and a development roadmap.

The steve software development process is managed using Trac's software tools. Visit the steve Trac site to find bug reports, development tasks, and a crude roadmap. Trac also has a nice front end to the SVN code repository if you want to look at a particular bit of code.

Software Development Team
Although all of the members of the steve project team contribute to the software development effort through their participation in a collaborative requirements specification and testing process, a core group of developers is responsible for most of the software planning, programming, testing, and documentation. The current members of the steve development team are:

Robert Stein, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Technical Lead
Ed Bachta, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Lead Developer, T3
Charlie Moad, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Lead Developer, Steve in Action

Staff of Think Design, including David Ellis, Gavin Foster, and Ray Shah, were involved in the initial design of the software, and in helping to outline and implement the project’s agile development strategy. In addition, Michael Jenkins of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Willy Lee of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, served as members of the core software development team throughout the project start-up and 2006-08 research project.