The Future of Museum Documentation

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Presentation to the 2014 CIDOC Documentation school in Sao Paulo, Brazil

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The Future of Museum Documentation

  1. 1. Documentation at the heart of the museum of the future Nick Poole CEO, Collections Trust
  2. 2. Contents • Introduction • What is a collection anyway...? • How our organisations are changing • What is Documentation? • Trust and Trustability • Strategic Collections Management • SPECTRUM, COPE and the CRM • The future of Documentation
  3. 3. Collections Trust • Working with 25,000 museums in 18 countries worldwide – Connecting people with collections – Supporting professional development – Building digital capacity – Demonstrating the value of Collections Management • Our mission is to help ensure that our shared cultural heritage is enjoyed by current generations and passed on to future generations in better condition and greater abundance than we received it – the mission of the cultural commons. • www.collectionstrust.org.uk
  4. 4. Introducing myself • CEO of Collections Trust • Former Chair of ICOM UK & Trustee of the Museums Association • Working in museum documentation for 15 years • Advising UK & European Governments on cultural policy • Currently responsible for GBP15m in digital/documentation programmes in European museums
  5. 5. What is a Collection? Physical Collections
  6. 6. What is a Collection? Physical Collections Administrative Information
  7. 7. What is a Collection? Physical Collections Administrative Information Collections-based Knowledge
  8. 8. What is a Collection? Physical Collections Administrative Information Collections-based Knowledge NNaarrrraattiivveess
  9. 9. What is a Collection? Physical Collections Administrative Information Digital Assets Collections-based Knowledge NNaarrrraattiivveess
  10. 10. What is a Collection? Physical Collections Administrative Information Digital Assets Collections-based Knowledge Physical surrogates (3D print) NNaarrrraattiivveess
  11. 11. What is a Collection? Physical Collections Administrative Information Digital Assets The nature of the material which society trusts us to collect, manage and care for has changed beyond all recognition... Collections-based Knowledge Physical surrogates (3D print) NNaarrrraattiivveess
  12. 12. The changing role of museums The role of museums has always been a balance between physical protection and facilitating public access
  13. 13. The changing role of museums The role of museums has always been a balance between physical protection and facilitating access We’re replacing access with activism, relevance, engagement & participation
  14. 14. The changing role of museums The role of museums has always been a balance between physical protection and facilitating access We’re replacing access with activism, relevance, engagement & participation Delivering a relevant, exciting museum service depends on supporting an increased range of different types of collecting and an increased range of different types of use
  15. 15. The changing role of museums The role of museums has always been a balance between physical protection and facilitating access We’re replacing access with activism, relevance, engagement & participation Delivering a relevant, exciting museum service depends on supporting an increased range of different types of collecting and an increased range of different types of use To become relevant, the museum has to become responsive, which starts with collections & documentation.
  16. 16. The ‘traditional’ museum... Most cultural organisations operate in ‘vertical’ silos Education Management Collections Retail IT
  17. 17. The ‘traditional’ museum... Most cultural organisations operate in ‘vertical’ silos Education Management Collections Retail IT
  18. 18. User-centred design for museums
  19. 19. It’s about finding the fastest, simplest & most reproducible way of giving people meaningful, emotional experiences Not about partitioning peoples’ lives, but about letting them express the kind of connection they want to make. Not about creating knowledge for one particular group, but creating knowledge that can be repurposed for and extended by many different groups dynamically.
  20. 20. What is Documentation? Documentation is the process by which we record a set of assertions about a given thing in our collections...
  21. 21. What is Documentation?
  22. 22. What is Documentation? WWhhaatt iiss iitt?? WWhheerree iiss iitt?? What is it made of? WWhhoo oowwnnss iitt?? Why do we have it? What is it connected to? Who collected it? Where was it found? HHooww bbiigg iiss iitt?? How much is it worth?
  23. 23. What is Documentation? WWhhaatt iiss iitt?? WWhheerree iiss iitt?? What is it made of? WWhhoo oowwnnss iitt?? Why do we have it? What is it connected to? Who collected it? Where was it found? HHooww bbiigg iiss iitt?? How much is it worth? Why should I care? What does it mean? What story does it tell? What is its context? How do I relate to it? What makes it unique? What does it help me understand? Is it ethical/ political/ moral?
  24. 24. What is Documentation?
  25. 25. What is Documentation?
  26. 26. What is Documentation?
  27. 27. What is Documentation?
  28. 28. What is Documentation? Our visitors must be free to wander the paths we create, create their own, or tell us why a path is broken and should lead somewhere else...
  29. 29. What is Documentation? The aim of documentation is not the creation of fixed points, but to facilitate the museum in reflecting the changing nature of knowledge & understanding about our collections.
  30. 30. What is Documentation? In a connected world, knowledge flows freely between contexts and communities, becoming greater & more valuable as it travels.
  31. 31. In the real world, museums remain among the most trusted civic institutions, more than banks, politicians, broadcasters, teachers and the church. In a world of hyper-connected information, trust is a currency Museums are rich in trust because of professionalism and accountability – which are expressed through Documentation, Conservation & Collections Management
  32. 32. Strategic Collections Management • Not about practice for its own sake, but about designing an organisation that works well & works together • Making decisions about documentation and collections based on the needs of the audience and the organisation • Ensuring effective management based on the right balance of skills, resources, systems and processes...
  33. 33. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree
  34. 34. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree Organisation’s MMiissssiioonn SSttaatteemmeenntt
  35. 35. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree Organisation’s MMiissssiioonn SSttaatteemmeenntt CCoolllleeccttiioonnss MMaannaaggeemmeenntt PPoolliiccyy
  36. 36. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree Organisation’s MMiissssiioonn SSttaatteemmeenntt CCoolllleeccttiioonnss MMaannaaggeemmeenntt PPoolliiccyy CCaarree UUssee LLeeaarrnn DDeevveelloopp
  37. 37. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree Organisation’s MMiissssiioonn SSttaatteemmeenntt CCoolllleeccttiioonnss MMaannaaggeemmeenntt PPoolliiccyy CCaarree UUssee LLeeaarrnn DDeevveelloopp PPeeooppllee PPrroocceesssseess SSyysstteemmss IInnffoo
  38. 38. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree Organisation’s MMiissssiioonn SSttaatteemmeenntt CCoolllleeccttiioonnss MMaannaaggeemmeenntt PPoolliiccyy CCaarree UUssee LLeeaarrnn DDeevveelloopp PPeeooppllee PPrroocceesssseess SSyysstteemmss IInnffoo EEvvaalluuaattiioonn && iimmpprroovveemmeenntt
  39. 39. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree Organisation’s MMiissssiioonn SSttaatteemmeenntt CCoolllleeccttiioonnss MMaannaaggeemmeenntt PPoolliiccyy CCaarree UUssee LLeeaarrnn DDeevveelloopp PPeeooppllee PPrroocceesssseess SSyysstteemmss IInnffoo EEvvaalluuaattiioonn && iimmpprroovveemmeenntt RRiicchh,, mmeeaanniinnggffuull eexxppeerriieenncceess ffoorr uusseerrss
  40. 40. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree Organisation’s MMiissssiioonn SSttaatteemmeenntt A continuous cycle of improvement, learning, review, CCoolllleeccttiioonnss MMaannaaggeemmeenntt PPoolliiccyy planning and development CCaarree UUssee LLeeaarrnn DDeevveelloopp PPeeooppllee PPrroocceesssseess SSyysstteemmss IInnffoo EEvvaalluuaattiioonn && iimmpprroovveemmeenntt RRiicchh,, mmeeaanniinnggffuull eexxppeerriieenncceess ffoorr uusseerrss
  41. 41. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree Organisation’s MMiissssiioonn SSttaatteemmeenntt CCoolllleeccttiioonnss MMaannaaggeemmeenntt PPoolliiccyy CCaarree UUssee LLeeaarrnn DDeevveelloopp PPeeooppllee PPrroocceesssseess SSyysstteemmss IInnffoo EEvvaalluuaattiioonn && iimmpprroovveemmeenntt RRiicchh,, mmeeaanniinnggffuull eexxppeerriieenncceess ffoorr uusseerrss
  42. 42. The core elements of SPECTRUM • SPECTRUM helps museums review their work with their collections, celebrate good practice and identify opportunities to improve! • SPECTRUM Standard including translations/ localisations, SPECTRUM Digital Asset Management, the SPECTRUM Schema and the Archive of previous versions of SPECTRUM • SPECTRUM Labs, including new ideas and potential applications of the SPECTRUM Standard • SPECTRUM Resources which support the application of the standard • SPECTRUM Community which includes anyone who uses the standard nationally or internationally
  43. 43. STANDARD WORLDWIDE COMMUNITY (7,600) GUIDANCE COMPLIANCE (23,000) PDF/XML/PRINT + SCHEMA NEW IDEAS
  44. 44. Create Once, Publish Everywhere (COPE) • If the standards, systems, processes and structures of museum documentation are to meet the current and future needs of our audiences, we need approaches that are adaptable and scalable • Designing scalable information systems in museums means ‘no single-use information’ – information that can be discovered, re-used and adapted to different needs, channels or experiences • Instead of designing information around one specific use (collections management, documentation, mobile apps, websites, catalogues), we design information so that it can flow dynamically across different uses.
  45. 45. COPE in practice (From a presentation by Paul Rowe, CEO, Vernon Systems)
  46. 46. COPE in practice (From a presentation by Paul Rowe, CEO, Vernon Systems)
  47. 47. COPE in practice (From a presentation by Paul Rowe, CEO, Vernon Systems)
  48. 48. Sharing simple information (From a presentation by Paul Rowe, CEO, Vernon Systems) Title Description Media Web address Sewing bag and contents Sewing bag and contents; a mottled blue, felt bag with two short, plaited felt handles. Each side of the bag is decorated with applied felt flowers in pink and yellow. The bag is dated 1938. The bag contains many scraps of fabric; a plastic shoe horn; a matchbox; a baby's shoe and socks; http://nzgirlhistory.net/object/32498/
  49. 49. Sharing on social sites (From a presentation by Paul Rowe, CEO, Vernon Systems)
  50. 50. COPE & the CIDOC CRM CIDOC CRM LIDO, ESE, ? Abstraction layer Collections management layer Data interchange layer CIDOC CRM opens up the potential to share rich narrative context using the COPE approach, rather than just simple object information
  51. 51. The future of Documentation?
  52. 52. There is a golden thread that connects the card-index cataloguing of the 1970’s with the world of linked open data & the delivery of dynamic, relevant, modern and accountable museum experiences (online and onsite) Documentation is about much more than cataloguing objects, it is what allows those objects to tell and re-tell their stories In a connected world, it is the professionalism and accountability of our documentation & collections care which give us our trusted status
  53. 53. Practical Guides • A Practical Guide to Collections Management • A Practical Guide to Documentation • Both available from Collections Trust as books and e-books • www.collectionstrust.org.uk/shop
  54. 54. Obrigado! www.collectionstrust.org.uk @NickPoole1 These slides online at http://www.slideshare.net/collectionstrust

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