10 Challenges for the Next Generation of Collections Management Standards

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Presentation to the German Collections Management Standards conference in Dresden

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10 Challenges for the Next Generation of Collections Management Standards

  1. 1. 10 CHALLENGES FOR NEXT-GENERATION COLLECTIONS MANAGEMENT STANDARDS 01.02.10
  2. 2. <ul><li>Campaign for the public right to access and engage with Collections by: </li></ul><ul><li>Promoting best practice </li></ul><ul><li>Supporting innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Representing the sector </li></ul><ul><li>Independent not-for-profit organisation based in London </li></ul><ul><li>As a ‘social enterprise’, we’re accountable for our environmental, social and economic sustainability. </li></ul>Collections Trust
  3. 3. PAS 197: A Code of Practice for Cultural Collections Management Standards : Collections Trust/BSI PAS 197 Organisational Mission/Purpose Collections Management Policy Collections Access Collections Care Collections Information Collections Development
  4. 4. <ul><li>SPECTRUM 4.0 </li></ul><ul><li>Joint standard for Sustainable Environmental Management </li></ul><ul><li>Principles for Digital Sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>LIDO </li></ul><ul><li>Museum Accreditation Scheme </li></ul><ul><li>The museum sector is experiencing a dramatic period of change, and our aim is to ensure that the next generation of standards is able to meet these new challenges. </li></ul>Collections Trust Standards Programmes
  5. 5. What are the 10 most important challenges for the next generation of Collections Management Standards?
  6. 6. Challenge 1: Hybrid organisations
  7. 7. <ul><li>There is no such thing as a ‘pure’ museum, archive or library any more </li></ul><ul><li>Museums are managing both physical and digital collections </li></ul><ul><li>Museums are delivering onsite and offsite, online and offline </li></ul><ul><li>Museums are both places of memory and places of business </li></ul><ul><li>Information and Records Management are vital </li></ul><ul><li>Our standards must prevent silos of information </li></ul><ul><li>And promote synergy between different parts of the museum </li></ul>Challenge 1 – Hybrid organisations
  8. 8. Challenge 2: Flexibility
  9. 9. <ul><li>Different institutions have different needs and capabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Different situations require different responses </li></ul><ul><li>How can we make our standards flexible enough to allow people to exercise their judgement in how to apply them? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we create standards which are more flexible without losing the measurability of the current standards? </li></ul><ul><li>We are moving from ‘big’ standards to frameworks of smaller standards, assembled on demand </li></ul>Challenge 2 – Flexibility
  10. 10. Challenge 3: Difference
  11. 11. Different types of material require different standards The tendency has been to treat everything as if it were the same Managing Natural History collections is different from managing Fine Art or Geology The legal, ethical and practical aspects of managing different types of material must be recognised Our new generation of standards must retain a common core, but be adaptable to allow for difference Challenge 3 - Difference
  12. 12. Challenge 4: Demonstrating public value
  13. 13. <ul><li>Museums have an obligation to provide value for their publics </li></ul><ul><li>Collections Management has to deliver public value </li></ul><ul><li>How do we demonstrate that Collections Management is an important part of public service? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we, as Collections Managers, ensure that Collections Management systems and processes support our organisations in delivering value? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we unite ‘back office management’ with ‘front of house’ services </li></ul>Challenge 4 – Public Value
  14. 14. Challenge 5: Return on Investment
  15. 15. <ul><li>Collections Management costs a lot of money </li></ul><ul><li>What is the return on that investment? </li></ul><ul><li>Can our new standards demonstrate that: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Investment in improving processes makes museums more efficient? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collections Management creates new opportunities for generating income? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collections Management helps our organisations survive and recover from the Recession? </li></ul></ul>Challenge 5 – Return on Investment
  16. 16. Challenge 6: An Interoperable World
  17. 17. <ul><li>We live in an age of aggregation, syndication and federation </li></ul><ul><li>The opportunities of Machine-Readable Data and the Semantic Web are tremendous </li></ul><ul><li>Our documentation can become Linked Data for a tremendous range of other systems </li></ul><ul><li>How do our sector-specific standards interact with standards in other industries (such as tourism, health, education, libraries and archives) </li></ul><ul><li>How can we make best use of standards and knowledge from other sectors? </li></ul>Challenge 6 – An Interoperable World
  18. 18. Challenge 7: Management buy-in
  19. 19. <ul><li>Standards are useless without senior-level understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Managers can regard Collections Management as a burden </li></ul><ul><li>It’s a cost without a clear return </li></ul><ul><li>Our standards present the problem, but not the solution </li></ul><ul><li>We talk about Collections Management in terms of its features, rather than its benefits for the wider organisation </li></ul><ul><li>How can our standards help managers engage with the value of the work involved? </li></ul>Challenge 7 – Management buy-in
  20. 20. Challenge 8: Richer information
  21. 21. <ul><li>We have already moved far beyond the simple catalogue record </li></ul><ul><li>Collections Management still has to cater for accountability, location and movement control and security </li></ul><ul><li>At the same time, it has to enable a whole range of new, more complex and non-standard data sources </li></ul><ul><li>As well as managing complex narratives, standards increasingly need to account for User-generated Content </li></ul><ul><li>Both our procedural and taxonomic standards have to be able to manage this new richness of information </li></ul>Challenge 8 – Richer information
  22. 22. Challenge 9: The Green Challenge
  23. 23. <ul><li>Collections Management is about slowing the process of decay </li></ul><ul><li>Collections Management is resource-intensive, and has a clear environmental impact </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in both the internal micro-climate and external macro-climate have impact on the sustainability of the Collections </li></ul><ul><li>Information Management is process-intensive </li></ul><ul><li>How can our new generation of standards make use of new knowledge about living in sympathy with our environment (eg. passive environmental control and Green computing) </li></ul>Challenge 9 – The Green Challenge
  24. 24. Challenge 10: Change
  25. 25. <ul><li>Change is inevitable, and in the Digital world is happening faster than ever </li></ul><ul><li>The development of standards is not fluid or progressive, it happens in 10-year bursts </li></ul><ul><li>What can we learn from the new generation of iterative, agile standards in the technology industry </li></ul><ul><li>Can we turn Collections Management into a perpetual beta, with stable releases every few years </li></ul><ul><li>Can we connect the global community of Collections Managers to share knowledge and collective effort? </li></ul>Challenge 10 – Change
  26. 26. <ul><li>Hybrid organisations </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>Difference </li></ul><ul><li>Public Value </li></ul><ul><li>Return on Investment </li></ul><ul><li>An interoperable world </li></ul><ul><li>Management buy-in </li></ul><ul><li>Richer information </li></ul><ul><li>The Green Challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Change </li></ul><ul><li>Our next generation of standards have to be able to respond to these new challenges, and enable us to deal with the challenges of the future. </li></ul>10 Challenges
  27. 27. Contact... Nick Poole Chief Executive Collections Trust + 44 (0) 207 022 1889 http://www.collectionstrust.org.uk http://www.collectionslink.org.uk http://openculture.collectionstrustblogs.org.uk @NickPoole1 @collectiontrust

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