Introduction to Digitisation for Museums


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Presentation introducing the Collections Trust's guidance on running successful digitisation projects in museums.

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Introduction to Digitisation for Museums

  1. 1. Digitisation & online collections These slides online at July 2014
  2. 2. Going Digital • 3-year programme on computers in museums • Launch event at Tyne & Wear in November – Auditing IT in your museum – Photography & scanning – Digital copyright – Digital Asset Management – Putting collections online – Developing mobile applications – Funding digital work
  3. 3. Digitisation: A Simple Guide • New free guide by Natasha Hutcheson for Collections Trust • Available from beginning of August – Deciding to digitise – Deciding what to digitise – Choosing a camera – Choosing a scanner – A basic digitisation setup – Taking good photographs – Budgeting for digitisation – Glossary of terms
  4. 4. Deciding why to digitise • There are many reasons why museums decide to digitise their collections: – To make the collection more accessible – In response to a proven audience need – To support the production of a new book or app – To reduce handling of fragile originals – As part of conservation work – To provide content for an exhibition, school activity or outreach – To support internal needs (such as inventory)
  5. 5. What is ‘Digitisation’? • ‘Digitisation’ is a catch-all term that describes a range of connected activities: – Selecting material – Choosing formats & resolutions – Creating digital images/models – Adding descriptive information (metadata) – Storing digital images and information – Supporting discovery and use – Planning for long-term preservation
  6. 6. Project or process • Digitisation can be done through one or more projects, or as part of the ongoing process of Collections Management • Most museums set out a Digitisation Plan or Digital Strategy which sets a longer-term objective and then take an opportunistic approach to how they get there • It is vital to be clear how digitisation supports your museum’s aims, from audience development to conservation.
  7. 7. User-centred planning • Digitising things without knowing what (and who) they are for results in content that is unsustainable and unloved. • Always design your digitisation around the user: – Who is the content for? (schools, specialists, researchers etc) – What do they want to do and why? (user needs) – How will they find and use the content? – What do you want to enable them to do (or prevent them from doing)? – What do you want them to get out of engaging with your content?
  8. 8. Choosing formats/resolutions
  9. 9. What’s your ‘use case’? Content Metadata A bit A lot
  10. 10. What’s your ‘use case’? Content Metadata A bit A lot FUN!
  11. 11. What’s your ‘use case’? Content Metadata A bit A lot FUN! RESEARCH
  12. 12. What’s your ‘use case’? Content Metadata A bit A lot FUN! RESEARCH Digitise relatively few things, but focus on quality, richness, depth and interpretation – iconic or star items, context, stories and supporting information for educational use. Choose a license that doesn’t undermine your association or ability to control re-use or derivatives
  13. 13. What’s your ‘use case’? Content Metadata A bit A lot FUN! RESEARCH Aim for coverage – digitise as much as possible, to a reasonable quality, and provide keywords to support discovery and use. License openly for distribution and re-use.
  14. 14. No magic solutions • When it comes to digitisation, every museum really is different – there is no one-size-fits-all solution. • How you make use of digitisation depends on: – Your Forward Plan – Your capacity & enthusiasm – Your collections & stories – Your audience – The particular kinds of use you want to encourage/support
  15. 15. A Digitisation Plan • A Digitisation Plan should include: – Strategy and aims (why are you digitising, who for?) – Scope and content (what are you going to digitise?) – Running your digitisation project or process: • Technology • Formats • Workflow • Storage • Copyright • Metadata – Access & use – Preservation
  16. 16. Making money from digitisation • ‘Digitisation’ isn’t a revenue-stream • There are three main models: – Find a way of getting people to pay for your digital content – Give your digital content to someone else to sell (eg. picture libraries) – Make use of your digital content to funnel more people at your existing business model (merchandising, retail, event hire, donations etc) • Generally, it costs more to create your own picture library than it does to push people at your existing revenue model.
  17. 17. Some other options • Let the Wikipedians in! • ‘Do a Rijksmuseum’ • Find a commercial partner to digitise & monetise for you • Crowdsource it – let people photograph and share
  18. 18. Contact @NickPoole1 @CollectionTrust WC209 Natural History Museum Cromwell Road London SW7 5BD