Integrating collections data to build sustainable online resources


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Alex Bromley ,Rhiannon Looseley, Matthew Rose
Museum of London
Imperial War Museum, London

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  • Issues to point out:
  • Some examples of microsites Re-assessing Cand G Medieval London Post code
  • Issues to point out:
  • Introduction – unique perspective Covering the workflow that corresponded to developing, processing and uploading content to Picturebank
  • Initial Project meetings comprised multiple staff members which encouraged diverse perspectives Time allocated for discussion of developing resource and content but also on how best to develop data for it. Key themes arrived at by rejecting project specific model of working – avoiding reinventing the wheel with new process and procedures and instead emphasising adoption and consistency across Museum. Emphasise that decision to use the CIIM had already been made – just needed to work on the finer details. Helped to define my role – bridging the gap between Curatorial and Learning data creators and the documentation practices that would underpin this
  • Concurrent development of Collections Online and the CIIM meant it seemed natural to adopt these procedures and practices. Incorporated not just standards but other quality checking. Sustainability through integration. From this a basic workflow emerged Provided a framework for next steps – identifying object records in Mimsy XG which were to be used in Picturebank and setting about generating content. In the first instance, Curators responsible for adding core data in Mimsy XG records.
  • Previous online resources created their own project-specific data standards. This meant inconsistent data, potentially involving a single record used across multiple resources displaying different information. Current approach was to use the data standards developed by documentation for determining cataloguing in XG. This had been used for Collections Online but stress that it existed before then. Picturebank merely adopting this. Sustainability is at the heart of the standard, created with a mixture of inputs from internal and external customers of the data to ensure the information is useful to all. When it came to managing the object records intended for use with the Picturebank, Curators were required in some situations to begin upgrading the records to a desired level.
  • Introduce data standard levels Specified minimum standard of cataloguing incorporating data in mandatory fields Decided to use highest standard to ensure detail and thus greater flexibility Combined with the main data standard document, we had easy to use transparent guidelines which could be provided to curators without significant training
  • Once record has been upgraded, it then needs to be processed through additional procedures Image quality checking to reject any records without sufficient quality image – integral for Picturebank Copyright assessment – this was project specific though a uniform procedure is now in place Data Quality Assurance – necessary to ensuring the ambitions of consistency and thus sustainability is met – your resource can only be as good as your data so you need to get this right. Outcome – consistent high quality records which could be used not only for Picturebank but also for other resources as well, namely Collections Online. Benefits of using a consistency standard and framework across both projects. A strong data standard empowers your records and makes building functionality easier. Benefits; tried and tested (used for Collections Online), ensured consistency (all records, regardless of output, share same standards and quality levels so no uneven or inconsistent data which can be confusing for internal or external customers of the data), procedures already active
  • Previous projects would have used one-time uploads from Mimsy XG. CIIM enables a constant upload link to exist between Mimsy XG and CIIM where they can be processed. Requirements of Picturebank resource and expected audience meant there was a need to add additional, contextual data. Previously this would have been added to Mimsy XG incongruously Using CIIM, Picturebank ‘schema’ could be created and applied to those records intended for inclusion with this resource Allows for record augmentation with new fields and data transformation Benefits; core data untouched clearly delineating between data for core internal collections management and that used for online resources, multiple schemas can be made – one record with multiple outputs, live automated link (no need to complete new uploads when data is changed)
  • Highlight Object name, Description, Discussion Questions as examples of contextualised Picturebank data
  • Highlight Object Name, Caption and availability of more information (Collection Place, Materials etc)
  • Integrating collections data to build sustainable online resources

    1. 1. Museum of London Integrating collections data to build sustainable online resources UK Museums and the Web 2011 Alex Bromley Rhiannon Looseley Matthew Rose
    2. 2. Museum began putting its collections online around 2001. Initially to accompany exhibitions but gradually this increased to large scale digitisation projects such as Ceramics and Glass and Exploring 20 th century London. By 2009 the Museum had a large number of collections records available largely on a project-by-project basis in the form of microsites (self-contained pages on the website driven by their own dataset) History of collections online at Museum of London
    3. 4. <ul><li>Microsites: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>located in different areas of our website and had their own searching, browsing and navigation mechanisms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>difficult to update </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>different schemas </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Departments created their own web resources, using re-created or duplicated sets of collections data. </li></ul><ul><li>No automated way of providing records to third parties, e.g. Culture Grid </li></ul><ul><li>Project driven workflow for digitisation </li></ul><ul><li>Project driven copyright clearance procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Collections-related data (Text and images) outside MIMSY XG was scattered, duplicated and unstructured </li></ul>Common Issues
    4. 5. Result <ul><li>Inefficiency in use of museum resources </li></ul><ul><li>Confusing user experience </li></ul><ul><li>No real understanding of what we had online and what level of quality the data was at </li></ul><ul><li>Unable to fully exploit digital opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>In-house resources were not connected, leading to different data being recorded about the same object </li></ul>
    5. 6. <ul><li>Create a new technical infrastructure to support the ongoing and incremental sharing and delivery of collections information online including a new dedicated area of the Museum of London website </li></ul><ul><li>Single Collections Online delivery system that will both meet our immediate goals and give us a long term infrastructure that can be developed over time and adapted to meet the business needs of the Museum. </li></ul><ul><li>Users will be able to search across all of the Museum’s on-line collections and will be offered a choice of browse, navigation and search tools designed for differing needs. </li></ul><ul><li>Create a repository that collates object and contextual information from various sources to provide a set of collections information for both internal and online use. </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of the repository will be accompanied by sustainable and efficient working practices that support the ongoing digitisation of collections information by integrating digitisation into core business processes such as acquisition and exhibitions. </li></ul><ul><li>The project is committed to ensuring that these resources are reusable, interoperable and user-focussed. </li></ul>Collections Online Delivery System: Project Vision
    6. 7. Requirements for the CDS <ul><li>Central, quality assured core information set created to agreed and layered standards, e.g. Core, Extended 1, Extended 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Single repository for collections data </li></ul><ul><li>Reliable extraction routine from MIMSY XG </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to ‘augment’ collections data and re-purpose for different contexts </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to ingest non-MIMSY collections-related data and re-use for different contexts </li></ul><ul><li>Linked data functionality </li></ul><ul><li>Create an infrastructure that is robust, modular, flexible, that can be delivered incrementally and can be adapted over time </li></ul>
    7. 8. Progress since 2009 <ul><li>Advocacy of project to senior management - ‘making the case’ </li></ul><ul><li>IT Strategy, Requirements document and development project </li></ul><ul><li>Delivery of a collections information integration module (CIIM) (Feb 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>Gallery kiosks in Galleries of Modern London (May 2010) using new infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Collections online in a re-launched Museum website (April 2011) </li></ul><ul><li>First attempt to use CIIM for a cross-departmental project, Picturebank (April 2011) </li></ul>
    8. 9. Today’s presentations <ul><li>The first project to work with us and test the new system was the Picturebank, initiated by the Learning dept. </li></ul><ul><li>Rhiannon Looseley – background to Picturebank, issues and methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Matthew Rose – data standards, quality assurance, workflow and collaboration </li></ul>
    9. 10. Picturebank background <ul><li>Redevelopment of Pocket Histories and Picturebank: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
    10. 11. New Picturebank
    11. 12. New Picturebank
    12. 13. New Picturebank
    13. 14. Previous Picturebank
    14. 15. Previous Picturebank
    15. 16. Objects exported into the CIIM
    16. 17. Add data to each group
    17. 18. Add data to each object
    18. 19. Finished record <ul><li>Leather restraining belt, made about 1840, used by Suffragettes around 1908 </li></ul>
    19. 20. Matthew Rose , Documentation Assistant Worked on Collections Online and Picturebank Developing, Processing and Uploading Content to Picturebank Planning Developing Core Content Additional Procedures Contextualising the data
    20. 21. Time allocated for reflection on aims and aspirations Key themes of sustainability and integration through using the CIIM Defining my role – ‘Bridging the gap’ Project Meetings advocated staff collaboration - Key questions: Why are we doing this? Is the resource satisfying a need of potential users? Will it compete with existing external resources (Wiki etc)? Is this intended for long-term support? Where will it sit next to other MoL online resources (e.g. Collections Online)? Planning Developing Core Content Additional Procedures Contextualising the data
    21. 22. Adopting existing procedures and practices Basic Workflow emerged Mimsy XG CIIM Picturebank Next step – building the core Picturebank information in Mimsy XG Collections Online Planning Developing Core Content Additional Procedures Contextualising the data (Collections delivery system)
    22. 23. Planning Developing Core Content Additional Procedures Contextualising the data Previous approach – bespoke data standards Current approach – using Mimsy XG data standards - Developed to meet the needs of internal and external stakeholders, particularly for exporting records to the CIIM. - Potential for multiple online records for the same object with differing data available. Developing Picturebank core content - Upgrading/Reusing records <ul><li>Records not already online would need new or amended data according to data standards. </li></ul>
    23. 26. <ul><li>- Image quality checking </li></ul><ul><li>Copyright assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Data Quality Assurance </li></ul>Once upgraded, the completed record is passed through the following procedures Outcome – a set of detailed quality assured records that can be reused in multiple contexts Benefits of this framework <ul><li>Ensures data consistency </li></ul><ul><li>Tried and tested </li></ul><ul><li>Minimum training – maximum ‘buy-in’ </li></ul>Planning Developing Core Content Additional Procedures Contextualising the data
    24. 27. Benefits of using the CIIM for record contextualisation Contextualising the records for the Picturebank resource <ul><li>Record augmentation </li></ul><ul><li>Data transformation </li></ul><ul><li>Core Mimsy XG data untouched </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple contextualisation schemas available </li></ul><ul><li>Live automated link between Mimsy XG and CIIM </li></ul>Planning Developing Core Content Additional Procedures Contextualising the data Completed records uploaded to CIIM
    25. 30. Actionable lessons <ul><li>Take time to build the foundations properly (technical infrastructure, data standard, procedures etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to work collaboratively and accommodate different working practices </li></ul><ul><li>Seek integration with tried and tested policies and procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Copyright – ensure that any rights clearance covers all possible uses to avoid duplication of effort </li></ul><ul><li>Employ a minimum data standard that suits both internal and external users </li></ul><ul><li>Future sustainability is key: look to re-purpose and re-use resources </li></ul>
    26. 31. Contacts <ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>