Digital strategies and new archives: developing digital archival access at the National Maritime Museum (Part 2)
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Digital strategies and new archives: developing digital archival access at the National Maritime Museum (Part 2)

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Presentation by Fiona Romeo, National Maritime Museum. Given at the London Museum Librarians and Archivists Group conference "Not Museum Pieces" 10 September 2009.

Presentation by Fiona Romeo, National Maritime Museum. Given at the London Museum Librarians and Archivists Group conference "Not Museum Pieces" 10 September 2009.

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  • Almost 10,000 enhanced collection records online, plus an additional 20,000 prints and drawings images We digitise 1000 objects and publish 5000 new collection records each year Collections include: Archive & Library, Astronomical & navigational instruments, Charts & maps, Coins & medals, Decorative art, Figureheads, Fine art, Flags, Historic photographs, Relics, Ship models, Ship plans, Timekeeping, Uniforms, Weapons The most popular collections online are ship models, maps & charts, and paintings Eleanor: partnering and volunteering
  • The needs of our visitors will vary according to their level of engagement with the Museum’s subjects. Therefore, we need to be both broad and deep in our approach to digitized collections – offering targeted levels of context and interpretation as appropriate. Visitor requirements can be grouped around three layers of access: 1) In-depth context and interpretation layer: in-depth context, interpretation and narrative delivered via beautiful and engaging interfaces. This layer can be delivered both online and in the gallery spaces. 2) Digital-surrogacy layer: prioritises broad access to the collections but offers an appropriate level of context, supports both onsite and offsite access to the collections. 3) Resource-discovery layer: supports onsite physical access to the collections by facilitating discovery and request services, such as order-in-advance. Approaching our collections via these layers gives a framework for digital service delivery which is both visitor-focused and scalable.
  • Largest number of records with the smallest amount of text / specialist only
  • Intermediate stage/ specialist and enthusiast
  • Contains the largest amount of text and information with the smallest number of assets/ general visitor Criteria for prioritisation
  • Almost 10,000 enhanced collection records online, plus an additional 20,000 prints and drawings images We digitise 1000 objects and publish 5000 new collection records each year Collections include: Archive & Library, Astronomical & navigational instruments, Charts & maps, Coins & medals, Decorative art, Figureheads, Fine art, Flags, Historic photographs, Relics, Ship models, Ship plans, Timekeeping, Uniforms, Weapons The most popular collections online are ship models, maps & charts, and paintings
  • Flickr pilot. Compiled from Wikipedia
  • 5. To develop our taxonomies and browsing options (‘subject access’) in response to the public’s use of descriptive ‘tags’. portrait (type) prow (detail) suspenders (detail) exploration (concept) arctic (place) eskimo, inuit, British, Canadian (people) Also, more informal, anecdotal contributions – ‘bare-chested’ on picture of a sailor, ‘bangs’ on young Inuit girl, knitting pattern on fisherman – opening them up to other interests
  • International access This is not information we hold or would have added ourselves and it opens our collections up to new audiences
  • Already some useful corrections from the public – Jon Pratty correcting maker information on a picture. Amended in our collections management system.
  • In addition to the straightforward contributions, there are questions. Guide to where to put interpretative effort These exchanges help you to learn what the general public is interested in, or where your information is unclear or confusing
  • They’ve even built software tools to help people get the most our of the Commons and to help institutions manage their streams A fantastic example of online fans becoming active volunteers
  • Poetic visualisation of maritime memorials Creative approach to museum data. are beautiful and engaging show the data at different levels or in new contexts let people manipulate the view to see what’s most relevant to them are provocative rather than conclusive, raise questions appeal to different learning styles and broader audiences and the most successful ones take people deeper into the data than they would have otherwise gone
  • Visualisation of sentence construction in journal of Hayward, one of the willing amateurs of the Ross Sea Party – a group of ten men charged with laying a lifeline of essential supply depots for Shackleton

Digital strategies and new archives: developing digital archival access at the National Maritime Museum (Part 2) Digital strategies and new archives: developing digital archival access at the National Maritime Museum (Part 2) Presentation Transcript

  • Scale and prioritisation (photo by Flickr member Dominique Pipet)
  • Layered access model (photo by Flickr member Rghrous)
  • Resource discovery layer
  • Digital surrogacy
  • Context and interpretation
  • Context and interpretation Ref Proposed criteria Methodology for assessment A Social inclusion (to improve access or reach new audiences) Objects can be compared against specific areas of interest, e.g. immigration B Documented user need (e.g. frequently requested items, items nominated by users in consultation, matches top subjects searched for on the museum’s website)
    • analysis of search terms across NMM
    • external consultation (e.g. through blogs)
    • frequently-requested items
    • primary sources with family-history appeal
    C Reduce need for physical access to object
    • if on-site storage is impossible,
    • fragility of object,
    • concerns over security
    D Wide/popular appeal for a non-specialist audience
    • high-profile stories (e.g. Titanic, Scott, Shackleton)
    • human-interest stories
    E Synchronisation with museum programmes (e.g. learning programmes, exhibitions, research initiatives)
    • comparison with exhibition masterplan
    • comparison with curatorial research strategy
    • comparison with learning programmes
    • Pilots
    • The Commons on Flickr
    • Data mining and information visualisation
    • Syndication on Europeana
  • 1. The Commons on Flickr
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  • 2. Data mining and visualisation
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  • 3. Syndication to Europeana
    • Strategies
    • Invite the public to contribute their knowledge to our collections
    • Use automated textual analysis, where practical
    • Link 3D and 2D collections via subjects, people, vessels, place and date, e.g. interpreting crew lists through the relevant ship plans, charts, and historic photographs
    • Embrace different levels of interpretation – from ‘stub’ catalogue entries, to full entries, digital surrogates, and narratives
    • Develop an open license for all NMM content, and syndicate widely
  • Case study: warship histories