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NZMuseums: Showcasing the collections of all New Zealand museums


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A presentation from Museums and the Web 2009.

Paul Rowe, Vernon Systems, New Zealand
Wallis Barnicoat, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand

The NZMuseums Web site provides a focal point for all museums in New Zealand. A major redevelopment of the site set out to provide a strong presence on the Internet for several hundred small mainly voluntary museums. Challenges included developing a process for museums with only basic knowledge of technology to contribute, generating momentum in the sector for the project, data quality issues, and a long list of desirable functionality.

The redeveloped Web site was launched on 17 September 2008. Every museum has its own profile page on the Web site and each can catalogue highlights of the collection for a global audience.

The new Web site is the result of a collaboration between National Services Te Paerangi at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and Vernon Systems Ltd, the solution provider for NZMuseums and creator of eHive, the underlying CMS.

Session: Building and Using On-line Collections [Institutional]

Published in: Technology, Education, Business
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NZMuseums: Showcasing the collections of all New Zealand museums

  1. 1. NZMuseums website Showcasing the collections of all New Zealand museums <ul><li>Pamela Lovis on behalf of National Services Te Paerangi, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa </li></ul><ul><li>Paul Rowe, Vernon Systems Ltd </li></ul><ul><li>Museums and the Web, Indianapolis, 18 April, 2009 </li></ul>
  2. 2. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  3. 3. National Services Te Paerangi The team on the Our Space map at Te Papa
  4. 4. How we help He Rauemi Resource Guides 0508 freephone helpline
  5. 5. Training and professional development Marae based workshops Workshops for museums at regional and national level
  6. 6. The NZMuseums website <ul><li>Focal point for all New Zealand museums </li></ul><ul><li>National Services Te Paerangi (NSTP) administers the site </li></ul><ul><li>Vernon Systems is the solution provider </li></ul>
  7. 7. Redevelopment <ul><li>Live on 17 September 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Museum profile page </li></ul><ul><li>Highlights of their collections </li></ul><ul><li>Built on top of a collections management system </li></ul>
  8. 8. Questions for the website to address <ul><li>What needs to be in place for small museums to contribute? </li></ul><ul><li>How can a portal for many museums be built with limited resources? </li></ul><ul><li>What features in the website would encourage re-use of the data? </li></ul>
  9. 9. The original NZMuseums website <ul><li>The existing website was built in 1997 and was looking tired ... </li></ul>
  10. 10. Museum detail page
  11. 11. Redevelopment was needed <ul><li>Metropolitan and regional museums had good web presences, but what about the small museums? </li></ul><ul><li>More dynamic and visually appealing website </li></ul><ul><li>Include collection information </li></ul><ul><li>Involve the public through tagging and making comments </li></ul>
  12. 12. Research <ul><li>2002 report: “Museums Online: Finding Museums everywhere” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ few [New Zealand] museums have their resources in a state that they could contribute to an on-line collections database” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2003 report: “Online collection development options for New Zealand Museums” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>85% would like to add information on some of their collection items to the site </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2008 survey results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There’s a lot of small museums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>80% have five or less full-time staff </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Focus groups Three regional focus groups organised in 2006: <ul><ul><li>Volunteers are key - museums depend on them and they often change - keep in simple </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time and resources are often in short supply - keep costs low </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many museums are in remote areas and do not have fast internet connections </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s common to have reservations over content being on the Internet </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. How did we promote involvement to the sector <ul><li>NSTP e-alerts and e-newsletters </li></ul><ul><li>Museum Development Officers out in the field </li></ul><ul><li>Minimum of 20 items for placement on the site </li></ul><ul><li>An online forum </li></ul>
  15. 15. Engaging museums through training <ul><li>NSTP engaged in Photography training </li></ul><ul><li>Regional workshops were held on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collections cataloguing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Digitisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Photography for the web </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Benefits for small museums <ul><li>Reduce the barriers to achieving a web presence </li></ul><ul><li>Unified approach across New Zealand </li></ul><ul><li>Entry point into simple collections management </li></ul><ul><li>Minimal cost and expertise required </li></ul><ul><li>Greater visibility for museums and their collections </li></ul><ul><li>Website allows self-service of information requests </li></ul>Motueka Museum
  17. 17. Addressing institutional fears <ul><li>Contributors had the option of watermarking </li></ul><ul><li>Finding objects through tags increases access </li></ul><ul><li>An online presence helps reach a wider, more diverse, audience </li></ul>Russell Museum Te Whare Taonga O Kororareka
  18. 18. eHive collection management system <ul><li>Within eHive , each contributor has their own login to create and edit content and upload images </li></ul>
  19. 19. Excel Import Spreadsheet
  20. 21. Content Sharing <ul><li>Museum and collection item information is entered and updated through the eHive CMS </li></ul><ul><li>NZMuseums is a community within eHive comprising of just museums within New Zealand </li></ul><ul><li>Objects marked as belonging to the NZMuseums community appear on </li></ul>
  21. 22. Tips for success <ul><li>Use Open Source software where possible </li></ul><ul><li>Use existing online forum and communication networks to avoid answering the same question many times </li></ul><ul><li>Use a subscription model to cover operating costs </li></ul><ul><li>Give ample warning to the contributors </li></ul><ul><li>Set realistic goals – cataloguing 20 items was a big deal for many smaller museums </li></ul><ul><li>Keep things simple – any computer work was new territory for some </li></ul><ul><li>Support for data exchange standards is needed for collaboration with other sites </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage public involvement – the data gets enriched helping others to discover it </li></ul>
  22. 23. NZMuseums now <ul><li>386 museums are represented on the site </li></ul><ul><li>56 museums have added highlights of their collection </li></ul><ul><li>90% of these collection items not previously available on the Internet </li></ul><ul><li>99% of collection records have images </li></ul><ul><li>Google Analytics used to track site visitors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>30,000 visits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tags and comments added daily </li></ul></ul>
  23. 24. Case Study: Raglan Museum “ Using the NZMuseums website as motivation, we narrowed our selection down to 100 artefacts, took the digital photographs, and researched what we could in the time available.” “ We have found the NZMuseums web site to be very useful, and a great way to display our collections to a much wider audience. Local people have shown more interest since having seen their museum on the Internet, and tourists are able to access it ahead of their stay.“ Roslyn Miles, Administrator, Raglan Museum, wrote about her experience with the project: Raglan Museum’s profile page on NZMuseums
  24. 25. Future Plans <ul><li>Virtual exhibitions created by museums and public </li></ul><ul><li>Google Maps for museum locations </li></ul><ul><li>Integrate with NZLive for museum event information </li></ul><ul><li>Write stories which link to specific museums or collection items </li></ul>
  25. 26. Contact us <ul><li>National Services Te Paerangi [email_address] 64 4 381 7121 </li></ul><ul><li>Vernon Systems Ltd [email_address] 64 9 815 5599 </li></ul><ul><li>Images: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa </li></ul>