Data quality for an effective web presenceJesmond CallejaCollection Systems ManagerArt Gallery of New South Walesjesmondc@...
Introduction•   Museums are established institutions existing in a changing world•   Earliest date back to the 15th centur...
This presentation will address:1.   The history of data management at the AGNSW (from 1874)2.   Data management and its im...
The Gallery’s data in 1997*•    Was in shambles•    Had missing data in many of the essential fields•    Could not be reli...
Plates showing old catalogue cards and cabinets widely used in the AGNSW for cataloguingcollection data
Data managementSteps taken preceding the data entry stage•   A list of data fields was compiled•   A short, working defini...
Collection Project                                  Assistant Director - Collections      Head curator of                 ...
Commencement of Collection ProjectBibliography• Buck, Rebecca A. (1998). The New Museum Registration Methods. American   A...
Digitisation Project•    To establish a phase of an important aspect of the Gallery’s future operation and     relevance• ...
Image capture•   Images were created according to a priority list of approximately 7,600 works from a    total collection ...
Previous and current image numbering systemAccession #                                     Digital image #Previous – start...
Plates showing the root where the digital images reside on the Gallery’s server. Top left:Images stored in respective fold...
90    80    70    60    50                                                      % digitised    40                         ...
CopyrightThere are three key copyright concepts of which museum professionals should be aware:1.    There is a difference ...
•   The copyright law in Australia is complex•   AGNSW Vernon database allows for flexibility in determining copyright sta...
The changes that will affectthe Gallery include:Photographs by an Australian artist•   Any photograph taken (does not matt...
Upper left: Showing a historical record of                                             how Matisse’s print has been       ...
Provenance•   Meaning of the word is origin•   Association of collections, provenance means the history of ownership•   Th...
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Boy                 Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Boybitten by a lizard c1595/1600...
•   Provenance fulfils a fundamental mission of a museum to research its collection•   Prior to the late 1990s, it was unc...
Recording and assemblingprovenance data•   The object itself is an important, if not the most important primary document• ...
Internationally accepted location diagram and abbreviations. The AGNSW has used andadapted similar conventionsfrom: Varver...
Jean Appleton, Red cannas (1948), oil                                                 on paperboard. Purchased 1948.      ...
Inscriptions recorded for Braque’s Glass of absinthe on Vernon showing consistent andstandardised data format
Vernon data for Braque’s Glass of absinthe, showing acquisition and provenance data.Note: for this presentation the valuat...
Moving towards a web presence•   A modest search the collection site was built and the collection went live in December   ...
40                                                                    40  35                                              ...
900080007000600050004000300020001000   0                         Browse         Simple       AdvancedGraph showing the rel...
Moving towards web 2.0•   The third iteration of the website went live in September 2009•   A 5 person web team and 2 deve...
Accessibility•   All Australian websites are required by law to be accessible to users with disabilities•   Australia is o...
Redesign and implementation•   A recent redesign of the website was initially carried from the perspective of user    stor...
Institution        Browse options      Browse by   Display multiple   Results with   Stemming   Showing    Multi-word     ...
•   The new collection interface was built with the goal of both exposing the breadth of the    collection and encouraging...
At top level, the public are able to                                                    filter browses and perform basic  ...
Having authority controlledfields in the Vernon databaseallows for hyperlinksProvenance data from currentto earliest dateP...
Data in Bibliography and Exhibition History contain hyperlinks.Object web record for Georges Braque, Glass of absinthe 191...
Primary image is max 505 pixels                                                                         wideObject web rec...
Conclusion•   Accurate, consistent and standardised data is imperative for any collection    management system•   The Coll...
THE END                    ZHANG Xiaogong            The boy who sticks out his tongueTHANK YOU                2001, oil o...
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Jesmond Calleja

  1. 1. Data quality for an effective web presenceJesmond CallejaCollection Systems ManagerArt Gallery of New South Walesjesmondc@ag.nsw.gov.auhttp://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au
  2. 2. Introduction• Museums are established institutions existing in a changing world• Earliest date back to the 15th century• Collecting data on old dusty cards in cabinets paved for the way for computerised access at one’s fingertips• Today access is of paramount importance• The nature of museum work itself needs to be examined• Issues of management, quality of data and collection management affect outcomes• These are the points we had to piece together over a 14 year period in order for the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ (AGNSW) online collection to have an effective and consistent web presence
  3. 3. This presentation will address:1. The history of data management at the AGNSW (from 1874)2. Data management and its importance3. The ‘Collection Project’ (1998) which served an the initial basis to accurately record the Gallery’s collection data in a standardised and consistent format on the Vernon collection management system4. The ‘Digitisation Project’ (2000) was established to provide a complete visual record of the Gallery’s collection5. Re-evaluation and implementation of copyright data as it contains information critical to the broad goals of the Digitisation Project (2000)6. Importance of recording Provenance data (2002)7. Consolidation of above points by providing a user friendly interactive experience where the public can browse and search the AGNSW collection online (2010) Note: this is the third iteration of the Gallery’s website
  4. 4. The Gallery’s data in 1997*• Was in shambles• Had missing data in many of the essential fields• Could not be relied on• Was inconsistent• Had infrequent used of standards• Made it extremely difficult to retrieve works and perform adequate reports• Most curators were still using old catalogue cards as their primary tool for cataloguing the collection* Note: 1997 is the year that the author joined the Gallery
  5. 5. Plates showing old catalogue cards and cabinets widely used in the AGNSW for cataloguingcollection data
  6. 6. Data managementSteps taken preceding the data entry stage• A list of data fields was compiled• A short, working definition was assigned to each data field• The need for syntax control was determined for each data field• An inventory of existing documentation sources was undertaken• A determination was made of which data fields are needed to fulfil the goals of the ‘Collection Project’• A determination was made of which documentation source is the best for the configuration of data fields satisfying the project• A determination was made of which data fields need vocabulary control• An estimated time frame for the conclusion of the project
  7. 7. Collection Project Assistant Director - Collections Head curator of Head curator of Head curator of Australian art Western art Asian art Registrar of cataloguing and documentation Assistant curator/ Assistant curator/ Assistant curator/ registrar for registrar for registrar for Western art Asia art Australian art Flow chart showing distribution of positions involved in the Collection Project
  8. 8. Commencement of Collection ProjectBibliography• Buck, Rebecca A. (1998). The New Museum Registration Methods. American Association of Museums, Washington D.C.• Varveris, T. (1980). Cataloguer’s Manual for the Visual Arts. National Gallery of Victoria, AustraliaResources and authorities• The Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) is a thesaurus of art historical and architectural terminology developed as a controlled indexing language for use by museums, libraries and archives in cataloguing book and periodical collections, image collections and museum objects, particularly art related works. http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/aat/index.html• Object ID offers invaluable information on object data in order to facilitate the prevention of theft http://archives.icom.museum/object-id/checklist/english.pdf• Thesaurus of Geographical Names (TGN) is a thesaurus of hierarchically arranged geographical terms to aid museums, libraries and archives that enter and index geography terms for object and people records. http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/tgn/index.html• Union List of Artist Names (ULAN) is a resource that was developed to serve as a terminology resource for cultural institutions that research and use artist names. It is neither an authority nor a thesaurus but a database of about 20,000 names that are linked to 100,000 individual artists. http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/ulan/index.html
  9. 9. Digitisation Project• To establish a phase of an important aspect of the Gallery’s future operation and relevance• The project will position the Gallery to maintain: 1. a permanent high quality image repository of the collection 2. an enhanced collection database 3. and be a primary source for educational and scholarly research 4. appropriate internal and external access to the database• Budget allocated for the project was set for a 3 year period• Project was initially established to provide a complete visual record of the Gallery’s collection AND to set the wheels in motion to have a dynamic, database- driven website that presents a thematic route of entry for exploration of the collections
  10. 10. Image capture• Images were created according to a priority list of approximately 7,600 works from a total collection of 26,000 objects (@ year 2000) = 29% of the collection• Each image stored in 6 formats: Master Archive, Publishing, Multimedia, Screen, Web and Thumbnail• Screen, web and thumbnail images planned for the web• A numbering system was set up for documenting images that attempted to reflect the accession number of collection objects• A new numbering system was implemented in 2004 that would offer flexibility and easy link of images to the Vernon database and website
  11. 11. Previous and current image numbering systemAccession # Digital image #Previous – started 20004.1998 4_1998.S 4_1998_view.S 4_1998_side.S 4_1998_detail.SCurrent – adopted 20044.1998 4.1998##S.jpg (the primary image) 4.1998#view02#S.jpg 4.1998#view03#S.jpg 4.1998#detail01#.jpg Table showing the digital numbering systems adopted by the Gallery. The previous system proved to be incompatible with linking images to the web so all images were renamed with the current system around 2004. The file name consists of 4 parts: 1. Accession number – exactly matched to the Vernon record 2. Photography generated parts – view/detail/base – separated by # 3. Archive initial eg. S=screen, M=master etc. 4. File extension ie. jpg, tif, dng etc
  12. 12. Plates showing the root where the digital images reside on the Gallery’s server. Top left:Images stored in respective folders according to the first digit of their accession numbers.Middle: Shows all the images in folder 4. Top right: easy retrieval of images
  13. 13. 90 80 70 60 50 % digitised 40 % not digitised 30 20 10 0 ian rn n al lia te As in es ra ig st W or Au AbTable showing the % of digitised and non digitised works for the main curatorialcollecting areas as at January 2010AGNSW collection = 29530, 61% have been digitised
  14. 14. CopyrightThere are three key copyright concepts of which museum professionals should be aware:1. There is a difference between owning a physical work and owning rights associated with it2. There is an assortment of rights surrounding copyrighted works. This involves the right to exploit a work ie. to reproduce it, create derivatives works, to distribute the work, to perform the work publicly, to display the work, and to control he digital transmission of sound recordings3. Application of copyright law to any particular work is extremely date and fact sensitive
  15. 15. • The copyright law in Australia is complex• AGNSW Vernon database allows for flexibility in determining copyright status• We can make it clear when a work is both in the public domain in Australia, yet in copyright overseas• This allows us to record if we have rights for the internet but is clear that we do not need the obtain rights for print purposes in AustraliaAustralian Copyright Act – Copyright extension 1.1.2005• Was passed in December to take affect on 1 January 2005• Essentially it will bring Australia in line with the US and Europe by extending copyright from life of the artist plus 50 years to life of the artist plus 70 years• The changes are a little complicated given that it is not retrospective - hence photographs by Max Dupain or David Moore that were out of copyright as of the 31.12.2004 remain out of copyright whilst those that were in copyright as of 1.1.2005 are now in copyright for life plus 70 years• International works that went out of copyright in Australia in 2004 remain out in Australia but may still be in overseas which of course we need to be aware of if reproducing the work on the internet or distributing catalogues etc overseas
  16. 16. The changes that will affectthe Gallery include:Photographs by an Australian artist• Any photograph taken (does not matter when it was printed) by an Australian photographer taken before the end of 1954 is out of copyright world wide• Any photograph taken after the 1st of January 1955 will now remain in copyright for the life of the artist plus 70 yearsPhotographs by an International artist• Any photograph taken before the end of 1954 is out of copyright in Australia but still in copyright internationally• For online use any photograph taken by an International photographer (except Canada, Japan, Russia and a couple of others) is in copyright for life plus 70 years
  17. 17. Upper left: Showing a historical record of how Matisse’s print has been photographed Left: Data on Vernon showing Matisse’s print is no longer in copyright in Australia but still in overseas. Obtaining a license allows AGNSW to publish on the web Right: Matisse’s print flagged ‘fullpublic access’ to allow publication onto the web
  18. 18. Provenance• Meaning of the word is origin• Association of collections, provenance means the history of ownership• The availability of records from eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and publicly surrounding high-profile cases of Jewish-owned art stolen by Nazi officials• Documenting the transfer of an artwork from one owner to another can establish the legal ownership of that work• Provenance can also help determine the authorship of a work• Knowing where a painting was at a given time also allows the art historian to trace its influence on other artists.
  19. 19. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Boy Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Boybitten by a lizard c1595/1600, oil on bitten by a lizard c1600, oil on canvas.canvas. The National Gallery, London Fondazione di Studi di Storia dell’Arte Roberto Longhi, FlorenceThese two identical paintings introduces many of the problems faced by scholars inattributing, dating and interpreting Caravaggio’s workfrom: Blunden, G. (ed.). (2004). Darkness & Light: Caravaggio & his world. Art Gallery of New SouthWales, Australia
  20. 20. • Provenance fulfils a fundamental mission of a museum to research its collection• Prior to the late 1990s, it was uncommon for significant provenance information to be recorded in collection management systems• Standards for provenance research were not defined by the museum community• Provenance should be presented in a clear and organised fashion and be as complete as possible• The order of ownership may be earliest to latest owner, or the reverse, as long as the chronology is obvious• There should be some mechanism by which owners are distinguished from dealers or auctioneers• The source of information about each owner or transaction should be documented References• Yeide, Nancy H., K. Akinsha and A.L. Walsh (2001). The AAM Guide to Provenance Research. American Association of Museums, Washington DC• Yiede, Nancy H. (2005). Vitalizing Memory – International Perspectives on Provenance Research. American Association of Museums, Washington DC
  21. 21. Recording and assemblingprovenance data• The object itself is an important, if not the most important primary document• It should be fully examined for clues tracing its history from the moment it left the hands of the artist until the present• The work should be taken to a well-lit location and unframed so that it can be carefully studied front and back• Recording provenance data aids the cataloguing process into gathering more data• All data on the front and verso of the painting needs to be recorded: signature, date, inscriptions and labels
  22. 22. Internationally accepted location diagram and abbreviations. The AGNSW has used andadapted similar conventionsfrom: Varveris, T. (1980). Cataloguer’s Manual for the Visual Arts. National Gallery of Victoria, Australia
  23. 23. Jean Appleton, Red cannas (1948), oil on paperboard. Purchased 1948. © AGNSWAbove: front of painting: Signed l.l.corner, red oil "Jean Appleton". Notdated.Right: verso of painting: Signed topc. verso on frame, pen and brownink "Jean Appleton/ .../ .../ .../ ....".Purchase price of 25gns
  24. 24. Inscriptions recorded for Braque’s Glass of absinthe on Vernon showing consistent andstandardised data format
  25. 25. Vernon data for Braque’s Glass of absinthe, showing acquisition and provenance data.Note: for this presentation the valuation and purchase price have been purposely omitted
  26. 26. Moving towards a web presence• A modest search the collection site was built and the collection went live in December 2002• First substantial re-design of the Gallery’s website took place in December 2005• This re-haul also coincided with the launch of myVirtualGallery• Implementation of the Vernon Browser as the back-end operating system• Results yielded from a curatorial search did not provide a true cross-reference to works that could possibly fit into more than one curatorial department. Because of this, major adjustments to previously entered data were performed onto the Vernon database• User feasibility tests undertaken on 746 random individuals asking 4 collection related questions
  27. 27. 40 40 35 35 30 30 25 25 20 20 15 15 10 10 5 5 0 0 Agree Strongly Neither Disagree Strongly No Agree Strongly Neither Disagree Strongly No agree disagree opinion agree disagree opinionFig. 1 Is it easy to find works in the online collection? Fig. 2 Is the browse section well organised? 50 35 45 30 40 35 25 30 20 25 20 15 15 10 10 5 5 0 Agree Strongly Neither Disagree Strongly No 0 agree disagree opinion Agree Strongly Neither Disagree Strongly No agree disagree opinionFig. 3 Does the on-line collection need a simpler ‘simple search’? Fig. 4 Does the on-line collection need a subject keyword search?Results from a 2005 survey of 746 random individuals
  28. 28. 900080007000600050004000300020001000 0 Browse Simple AdvancedGraph showing the relationship of the number of hits for browse, simple and advancedsearch: May 2008 – June 2009
  29. 29. Moving towards web 2.0• The third iteration of the website went live in September 2009• A 5 person web team and 2 developers started the planning process in early 2008• Given the right publishing infrastructure would provide the Gallery with the opportunity to develop a number of fully integrated web 2.0 strategies, including: 1. Making the collection “machine readable” 2. Develop an online community 3. Support the mobile web
  30. 30. Accessibility• All Australian websites are required by law to be accessible to users with disabilities• Australia is one of the few countries where this requirement has been tested in law• In the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) lawsuit of 2000, a visually impaired user successfully sued SOCOG over their website accessibility http://webaim.org/blog/target-lawsuit-settled• Most government funded organisations that have not already complied are currently working towards compliance• The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20, describe levels of accessibility• The Gallery’s website failed to meet even the lowest of these levels• The redesign of our site was a good opportunity to address and fix the site’s accessibility issues
  31. 31. Redesign and implementation• A recent redesign of the website was initially carried from the perspective of user stories• A user story is basically a narrative that a user tells from their perspective• This story typically describes some kind of scenario or situation that the user finds themselves in• Keep the user stories as simple and short as possible to allow the developers to make a reasonably low risk estimate of how long the story will take to develop• Once the design templates were executed, the developers built a beta-site and from this site acceptance tests were carried out• These were crucial as we randomly selected a cross range of people from the public to test the site• 13 institutions were surveyed on the basis of their web interfaces and fuctionality
  32. 32. Institution Browse options Browse by Display multiple Results with Stemming Showing Multi-word filter images no images location query operator National Gallery interface no no yes yes yes AND Art - DC National Gallery interface no no yes no yes Cannot search of Victoria Art Gallery of No browse options no no yes no no AND or OR Western Aust. Tate Gallery backdoor no no yes no yes AND Art Institute of interface no no yes no yes AND Chicago Powerhouse backdoor no yes yes no yes AND Museum National Gallery interface no no yes n/a yes Cannot search – London Fine Arts no browse options no no yes no yes AND Museum SF Walker Art interface yes no no yes yes AND Center Museum of interface yes no yes yes yes AND or OR Modern Art National Gallery no browse options no no yes no no AND of Australia Museum of Fine interface no no yes No no AND Arts Boston V&A Museum interface no yes yes yes yes AND AGNSW after Interface yes yes yes no yes AND 20 Sept. 2009Table showing results from 13 institutions surveyed
  33. 33. • The new collection interface was built with the goal of both exposing the breadth of the collection and encouraging deeper exploration• User studies have recently shown that if a user does not know precisely what objects s/he is looking for, then the multi-facet search method with its browsing the shelves sensation is clearly preferred over keyword search or using only a single facet• If the user is capable of expressing an information need straightforwardly in terms of keywords, then a Google-like keyword search interface is usually faster and preferable• Early discussions considered building one interface that would accommodate a simple search together with a browse• Large percentage of our public comprise of educators, researchers and scholars who know precisely what they are looking for in our collection• Browse interface, and including our object metadata as facets with counts gives users two immediate benefits: i. it exposes the collection since they can see at a glance how many paintings, sculptures, etc. ii. it gives a key way to differentiate between words and meaning
  34. 34. At top level, the public are able to filter browses and perform basic searches Advanced search option also available at top level The public are invited to explore and browse through the collection Options available to view all highlights and to see what is on displayCollection landing page at top level showing allcollection areas the public can browse through
  35. 35. Having authority controlledfields in the Vernon databaseallows for hyperlinksProvenance data from currentto earliest dateProvenance, Bibliography andExhibition History are allcollapsible fields.Data in Bibliography andExhibition History containhyperlinks (see next slide)Object web record forGeorges Braque, Glass ofabsinthe 1911, oil on canvas. ©Georges Braque/ADAGP.Licensed by Viscopy
  36. 36. Data in Bibliography and Exhibition History contain hyperlinks.Object web record for Georges Braque, Glass of absinthe 1911, oil on canvas.© Georges Braque/ADAGP. Licensed by Viscopy
  37. 37. Primary image is max 505 pixels wideObject web record for the Nepalesesculpture Padmapani c13th century, giltcopper, lapis lazuli, gems and stones. Each detailed image is 155 pixels widePurchased 2010
  38. 38. Conclusion• Accurate, consistent and standardised data is imperative for any collection management system• The Collection, Digitisation, Provenance and Copyright projects were of paramount importance in setting a precedence for quality of data• Good quality data creates a path for putting collections online• Browsing and navigating are two main interactions users currently have with our site• We have allowed our users to deconstruct a large set of results by peeling back the layers into bite-size pieces and navigate based on what’s important to them• Faceted search can just add more complexity and frustrate users if not considered from the user perspective and carefully thought through with sound usability principles in mind• Faceted search is giving our public a unique way for them to interact with the collection in a way that was not possible in previous iterations• The journey toward a perfect collection interface is ongoing and a project that is forever evolving
  39. 39. THE END ZHANG Xiaogong The boy who sticks out his tongueTHANK YOU 2001, oil on canvas © ZHANG Xiaogong

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