Collections Trust Sector Support, Museums Galleries Scotland event
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Collections Trust Sector Support, Museums Galleries Scotland event

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Presentation by Laura Whitton, Collections Trust Networks Officer, at Museums Galleries Scotland partnership event, Edinburgh, 2 March

Presentation by Laura Whitton, Collections Trust Networks Officer, at Museums Galleries Scotland partnership event, Edinburgh, 2 March

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  • Outline the areas of the presentation
  • Introducing the Networks Team Susanna Hillhouse is part-time freelance Networks Officer for Collections Trust alongside her other consultancy work. If you want to contact Collections Trust you can contact Susie very easily.
  • The role of Collections Trust
  • One of the roles of the networks team is to ensure museum, library and archive practitioners throughout the UK are aware of the variety of resources they can access which will help them manage their collections more effectively. Partnerships such as this between the Collections Trust and Museums Galleries Scotland will ensure we can connect to as wide a range of sector professionals and groups in the UK as possible offering them many routes for advice, guidance and networking. It also assists in connecting Scottish museums to the rest of the UK.
  • The Collections Trust launched Collections Link in 2006, and it rapidly became established as a leading source of Collections Management information for practitioners both in the UK and worldwide. The service is run by the Collections Trust, and is supported by funding from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) and Museums Galleries Scotland. Following extensive consultation with the Collections Management community, the service is being redeveloped to provide a platform for practitioners to connect, share their knowledge and learn from the experiences of their peers. The new website will launch in April 2010.
  • There will still be: An online library of Collections Management resources and guidelines, contributed by national organisations, professional groups and associations, and by practitioners which will now be easier to navigate enabling you to find what you need faster Other features of the new website are: Social networks, allowing users to form online groups where they can connect with colleagues and share advice and information A directory of conferences, events, training courses and professional development opportunities An online shop supplying a range of Collections Management publications and, in the future, publications from third parties
  • The best way to get the most from Collections Link is to register on the website and join the community of practitioners working with collections. Registration is free and allows users to: Contribute resources – share your knowledge and expertise with other professionals Upload training and events listings – publicise your courses for free Create or join social networks – discuss issues with colleagues, ask questions, find answers Receive discounts at the online shop
  • The website includes content from a wide range of national professional organisations, including MGS. Content from these providers is badged as being from a Collections Trust partner, and appears at the top of search results.
  • MGS resources are featured on Collections Link and have proved extremely popular with the rest of the UK which is why it is so useful to have those factsheets on both the MGS website and on Collections Link. It will be even easier on the new website to find MGS content and other content can be tagged as Scotland-specific to assist your searching. Registered users on the Collections Link site are also able to upload their own resources, guidelines and advice documents.
  • If you choose to register on the new Collections Link website, one of the things you will be able to do is set up or join online networks on the site. Networks are designed to help users to connect with other practitioners, share content, ask questions and get advice from colleagues. Members of formally constituted groups such as SSNs or federations can use an online network to manage their organisation and communicate with their members. Equally, anyone with an interest in a particular subject or discipline can set up their own group on the site.
  • The website includes listings of events and training courses from across the cultural sector. Listings are fully searchable and it will be far easier to find what you are looking for. Registered users and networks can upload details of their own courses and events for free.
  • Three animated tutorials will be available online to guide you through using key aspects of the site, including how to use the search function, how to upload content, and how to set up or join an online network. These tutorials are also available in PDF format, so if you can’t view flash animation on your work computer, or you would like the instructions printed out, we can send them to you.
  • Collections Trust also offers an online service called SSN Connect. Originally developed for Subject Specialist Networks which many of you are members of, the straightforward, effective and easy to use platform has been very successful and is now available to any networks wanting to develop their own shop window online. A clear template offers you the opportunity to promote your network’s news, events, training, and resources as well as a place to circulate meeting agendas and minutes, list organisations participating in the network and tell people who you are and what you do.
  • The SSN Connect platform can link to the Culture Grid (which Phill will talk about shortly) and could provide a fantastic opportunity to search the collections involved in the network. We also promote the websites listing them all through Collections Link and offer guidance and support through the process of populating a site. We are also looking to improve the service offering more functionality to better suit your needs.
  • What to do if you are interested.
  • Collections Trust (and formerly MDA) have always been involved in setting standards for museums, and now libraries and archives. There are currently three areas we are concentrating on: We publish and maintain Spectrum which you will all know about We have jointly published the PAS code of practice for cultural collections management We are involved in MLAs Accreditation review (LW - through attendance at working groups)
  • Through the national and international success of SPECTRUM, we built partnerships with a number of Collections Management Software Suppliers through the SPECTRUM Partners scheme who are licenced for the commercial use of Spectrum and can have their systems tested for Spectrum compliancy. The partnership between Collections Trust and the Spectrum Partners should make it easier for practitioners to confidently document their collections and meet accreditation requirements.
  • PAS 197:2009 – the British Standards Institution Code of Practice for Collections Management The PAS was sponsored by the Collections Trust and developed with LAMs and partners including MGS to take account of developments within the collections management world and BSI feedback indicated that this research provided the greatest number of responses ever for a PAS ICT is making it easier to link up knowledge about conservation, documentation, access and interpretation and the new discipline of integrated collections management is beginning to emerge. Collections Trust felt that the time was right to capture and acknowledge these developments and so the PAS provides a blueprint for putting Collections Management at the heart of running your organisation, d emonstrating the value & impact of strategic Collections Management as a core part of business planning .
  • In order to help you interpret the PAS, we published Collections Management: A Practical Guide to tell you exactly what you need to know in practical terms. Susie read the PAS many times and talked to people in every shape and size of museum, library and archive in her research for the guide, collecting case studies to illustrate how the PAS can be used in a variety of sizes and types of organisation to produce a comprehensive, indispensible publication. It is a voluntary set of standards but it is likely that it will influence museum practice and standards in the future
  • 1. What is RC? The Revisiting Collections toolkit explains how to identify and document ‘hidden' knowledge about your collections, as well as ‘new' or non-traditional knowledge which might be held by individuals outside your organisation. By recording emotional and subjective reactions to collections, we can reveal and capture hidden histories and enrich existing documentation with information. Since it was first developed and piloted by MLA London in collaboration with CT, RC has had an extraordinary impact on how we collect knowledge about collections, and how we as curators can acknowledge that there are many different and diverse stories hidden in the objects we care for. 3. Museums Galleries Scotland is currently working in partnership with the Collections Trust, on a pilot project with two member museums, the Museum of the University of St Andrews and East Lothian Council Museums using the Revisiting Collections Methodology to engage with communities and record new information about existing collections. 4. There is information about this pilot on the MGS website – and a link to the RC toolkit on Collections Link and you should have a CD of the toolkit in your delegates pack
  • The methodology has been well received by both collections managers and the groups that have been participating in adding meaning and enriching the collection descriptions Quotations include thoughts from: MUSA Museum volunteer East Lothian Council Museums
  • A project called Stories of the World is also using RC and Glasgow Museums and National Museums Scotland are currently taking part. Stories of the World is part of the celebrations for the Cultural Olympiad - groups of museums are working together to use the RC methodology to uncover stories about their collections which reflect past and represent relationships between the UK and the rest of the world.
  • Practical guides in the series include: Collections Management – the interpretation of the PAS Documentation – which is really a practical guide to understanding Spectrum Pest Management Copyright SPECIAL OFFER for MGS delegates – flyer in your packs and we have copies for you to look at and order forms to take with you that will get you the discounted rate


  • 2. Welcome to the session Introductions: Who we are What we do Key services: Collections Link SSN Connect PAS 197 & SPECTRUM Publications Stories of the World & Revisiting Collections Culture Grid Supporting Sustainable Digital Content Contents
  • 3. Who we are... Supporting Networks Laura Whitton Networks Officer [email_address] Susanna Hillhouse Networks Officer [email_address] Simon Sheffield Online Services Officer [email_address]
  • 4.
    • Campaigning for the public right to access and engage with collections by:
    • Promoting best practice
    • Encouraging innovation
    • Working with the sector
    Our role...
  • 5. Our role... We offer a route to the resources that help museums manage their collections more effectively and so provide better access for the public Through Partnership working we can connect with greater numbers of museums, libraries and archives and networks to promote engagement with their collections
  • 6. Collections Link Launched by the Collections Trust in 2006, providing a focus for the international collections management community Re-launching in April 2010, following extensive consultation with practitioners A platform for practitioners to connect with colleagues, find expert advice and contribute best practice guidance to the community
  • 7. A comprehensive online library of best practice resources and guidelines Tools to help you connect with other collections practitioners, expert groups, specialist networks and training providers An enhanced database of training and skills development opportunities An online shop selling Collections Management publications and resources New Collections Link website
  • 8.
    • A network of Collections Management practitioners
    • Register with the website to:
    • Contribute resources
    • Upload training and events listings
    • Create or join social networks
    • Receive discounts at the online shop
    A community of practice
  • 9.
    • Content from national organisations including:
    • Collections Trust
    • Institute of Conservation
    • British Library Preservation Advisory Centre
    • The National Archives
    • Museums Galleries Scotland
    • Culture24
    • AIM
    • Content from other registered users including museums, libraries, archives, consultants and trainers
    Content library
  • 10.
    • Content from national organisations including:
    • Collections Trust
    • Institute of Conservation
    • British Library Preservation Advisory Centre
    • The National Archives
    • Museums Galleries Scotland
    • Culture24
    • AIM
    • Content from other registered users including museums, libraries, archives, consultants and trainers
    Content library
  • 11.
    • Social networks allow users to:
    • Network with colleagues
    • Share content with other users
    • Send messages to group members
    • Invite new members
    Social networks
  • 12. Online directory of training courses and professional development opportunities Listings of conferences and events Searchable by subject, date and location Registered users able to upload their own training and events listings Training and events listings
  • 13.
    • Online tutorials to help you:
    • Search for content
    • Upload resources
    • Set up or join an online network
    Help and guidance
  • 14. What next? Visit the website: Follow us on Twitter: Find out more
  • 15. SSN Connect Your own website – your ‘shop window’ A place to promote your network and any news, events or training Resource section for you to add content for members A ‘How To...’ guide and Online Services support from Collections Trust
  • 16. SSN Connect Links to the Culture Grid: Can see who the members of your network are Can search all your member collections for specific items through the Culture Grid Another way for audiences to reach your collections as well as network members
  • 17. SSN Connect – Your Choice Are you part of a network that needs an online presence? Look at other examples of SSN Connect sites Talk to Susanna Hillhouse who can put you in touch with Simon Sheffield, Online Services Officer at Collections Trust for advice and how to get started [email_address] [email_address]
  • 18. Standards
  • 19. SPECTRUM Partners are the only collection and digital asset management software vendors who have a licence for the commercial use of SPECTRUM Only SPECTRUM Partners are allowed to say they are SPECTRUM Compliant, after a formal testing process Partnership with Collections Management Software suppliers
  • 20. Collections Management Systems You may need advice on the suitability of a Collections Management software system The Software Survey is on the Collections Trust website
  • 21. Joint British Standards Institution/Collections Trust Code of Practice for Collections Management Right time to capture and acknowledge developments in Collections Management practice. PAS 197 defines and consolidates professional practice A joint definition across museums, archives and libraries which allows the sector to face future challenges from a commonly agreed position Demonstrating the value & impact of strategic Collections Management as a core part of business planning PAS 197:2009
  • 22. The PAS is interpreted in Collections Management: A Practical Guide by Susanna Hillhouse The guide tells you exactly what you need to know about the PAS in practical terms using case studies and illustrations. It is a voluntary set of standards but it is likely that it will influence museum practice and standards in the future PAS 197:2009 Interpreted
  • 23. Anyone can use the Revisiting Collections methodology. It can be embedded into your normal documentation practice. The toolkit is available on Collections Link and on CD. Revisiting Collections
  • 24. ‘ It felt like walking in history itself, not just British history but the entire world ’ Revisiting Collections ‘ Our participants have very much enjoyed the session... all had different experiences which has added real depth to the sessions’ ‘ I enjoyed 'bouncing' ideas and comments with other volunteers and the Museum Team ’
  • 25. Using the Revisiting Collections methodology, the Stories of the World project will uncover stories about museum collections to help celebrate the Cultural Olympiad Revisiting Collections in action: Stories of the World
  • 26. Publications: Practical Guide Series Produced with the sector to provide the best Collections Management guidance on the topics museums need to know about most
  • 27. Key services: Practical Guide Series Coming Soon... Security: A Practical Guide (June 2010) The Practical Guide series will total about 12 publications. We want to represent what is most important to the sector so do tell us what you need as a Practical Guide Please contact me [email_address] or one of my colleagues.
  • 28. OpenCulture Blog Follow us on Twitter! Further Information
  • 29. Thank you! Laura Whitton Networks Officer Collections Trust [email_address]