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MUSM5321 Museology - information management

Museum of Texas Tech Museology
Fall Semester 2013

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MUSM5321 Museology - information management

  1. 1. MUSM 5321 Museology Information management in museums Nicholas Crofts nicholas@crofts.ch
  2. 2. Overview • Understand what information management is about • Understand some of the jargon (data, information, knowledge…) • Understand the problems specific to museum information 2
  3. 3. Information management • Information management (IM) is the collection and management of information from one or more sources and the distribution of that information to one or more audiences. […] Management means the organization of and control over the structure, processing and delivery of information. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_management 3
  4. 4. Information life-cycle 4 Identify Create/collect Organise Store/maintain Use/distribute Archive/dispose
  5. 5. Data, Information, Knowledge 5 Foskett, D. J. (1995). Libraries and information systems: A fruitful partnership.
  6. 6. analysis implementation impact Domain of discourse Conceptualisation Technical system Information system lifecycle 6
  7. 7. Project implemenation 7
  8. 8. Information technology • Manual - Paper documentation – Limited capacity, few entry points – Systematic classification • Computerised records (~1980) – High capacity, multiple entry points – Structure and organisation of data • WWW (~1990) – Cheap publication – Reuse and publication • Social networking (~2008) – Sharing, integration – Audience participation 8
  9. 9. Impact of storage medium 9 Paper document Published document Web page Visibility few many unlimited Security good poor nil Conservation high risk low risk high risk Cost low high low Change tracking innate impossible nil
  10. 10. Museum information 12
  11. 11. ICOM definition of museum “A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.” ICOM Statutes, Vienna, Austria, in 2007 13
  12. 12. Mission and information Acquire and conserve Research Registers, insurance evaluations, inventory Academic journals, articles, studies, reports Communicate and exhibit Catalogues, CD-ROMS, Web site 14
  13. 13. Information management issues Confidentiality Vs Communication Comprehensive Vs Exhaustive Complexity Vs Readability Convenience Vs Long-term needs Unlimited needs Vs Finite resources 15
  14. 14. Confidentiality vs Communication • “Serving visitors and other audiences is part of the very essence of a museum... staff are in effect public servants” p 107 • “The museum could also consider providing the public and researchers with online access to information, both within the museum and on the Web.” • “The museum must take special care to ensure that the information about the location of a particular object or collection is kept secure. This information can be of great assistance to criminals considering raiding the museum.” Andrew Roberts, 2004 16
  15. 15. Comprehensive vs Depth “One of the greatest costs associated with documentation is the work involved in developing records and particularly carrying out backlog cataloguing... It may be more important to have limited details across the collection than to record information in each ... field.” Andrew Roberts, 2004 • 30 mins/record * 1750 person hours/year => ~3500 records / person / year • 35,000 records = 10 person years work 17
  16. 16. Complexity vs Accessibility “records need to be consistently structured into discrete categories or fields, each of which can hold a specific piece of information.” Andrews Roberts, 2004 18
  17. 17. Long-term preservation • Industrial Paper – 50 years • B/w Photograph – 80 years • Computer – 5 years (technical life) • Digital storage medium – 10 years (technical) • Computer program – 10 years • Information - indefinite 19
  18. 18. Information strategy • An audit of the existing situation • Identifies problems and priorities • Proposes a plan for the resolution of these problems • Provides an estimation of the resources and time required • Is subject to regular review • Clarifies documentation policy • Justifies investment 21
  19. 19. Conclusions • Information – an asset, needs management • Information systems – not just computers • Heritage information raises specific issues • An information strategy needed • Course: MGMT 7000-006 Heritage Information management (elective) 22
  20. 20. References • Roberts, A. “Inventories and Documentation”, in Running a Museum, A practical handbook, ICOM, 2004 • Orna, E and Pettitt, C. Information Management in Museums, Gower 1998, Chapter 2 • Renaissance London - Information and Records Management Project 2007-2012 www.museuminfo-records.org.uk • ICOM CIDOC http://cidoc.icom.museum 23
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