Thursday, September 8, 2011

August 2011 Update

Database Renewal Project
Guess what?!  We're done!!  Everyone has been migrated into CollectiveAccess and the first celebratory cake has been eaten.  It's very surreal after actively working on the migration portion of the project for the past 9 months.  We (ANSM & Whirl-i-gig staff) are rather proud of ourselves and a little in awe of how smoothly it all went, and would like to thank everyone for their support, patience and understanding.
As our former intern Alexandra put it, "time for another monster project, I guess!"  Yup, sounds about right.  So soon we'll be turning our focus toward the public website, aka Database Renewal Phase II.  Yes we are gluttons for punishment, or perhaps just overachievers, but by next fall we'll be ready to launch a great new website featuring the collections of Nova Scotia museums. 
For anyone who has not yet renewed their ANSM membership, keep in mind that you need to do this in order to continue in the database program as it is a service offered to ANSM members only.  Membership packages were mailed out over the summer so if you did not receive one or have questions, please call the office.

By the Numbers
We have almost 180,000 object records in the database system, and over 35,000 images.  This means that since last year an additional 13,000 object records have been entered.  So every time that you log in and see your nice counts widget, remember that you're feeding into something much larger than your individual museum.
In  previous posts I have tallied our collective contributions to Artefacts Canada by region.  So in keeping with that tradition, here is a tally from our new CollectiveAccess system:
Southwest - 83,347 artifacts, 15,901 images
Central - 36,609 artifacts, 6,563 images
Northeast - 30,427 artifacts, 11,645 images
Cape Breton - 21,855 artifacts, 2,642 images

Congrats to the Southwest region for holding the top spots for number of records and images! Special mention to the Northeast region for having over 1/3 of their images attached!!  Way to go!

Remember that if all goes according to plan we'll be launching the public website in September 2012, so that gives you one year to work on your records & images before they go live.  As you work on the fancy and fun new system, think about the public perception of your records, and what people will expect to be complete and accurate.  Please review your entries and use the spell check feature like it's going out of style.  If your visitors are always asking you "how old is that?" then try to narrow down the begin & end dates.  If they always ask "what does the makers mark look like on the bottom of that plate?" then make sure you get some nice detail shots of the various marks & labels on your artifacts.  If you have questions about artifact photography or scanning (or anything at all), please call the office.  We want to make sure we present your collection to the world in the best possible light (pun intended).

Site Visits
August was an insane month of driving from one end of the province to the other, but it was great to see everyone.  I visited 22 museums and trained over 30 people on CollectiveAccess.  This means that site visits are almost done for the season, and that summer is unfortunately nearing its end.  Thanks to everyone for all your hospitality and good conversation.  Let's do it again next year!
I know I quickly fell behind in my travelogs, but don't worry, I have lots of photos and tidbits to share over the fall.

QR Code Usage Stats
After an exciting increase in July usage, August went back down to only 230 hits.  The Halifax area museums are still maintaining steady use, but rural usage is very hit or miss.  While I'm not ready to declare a final verdict yet, I've been casually analyzing all the data for trends.  We'll watch for another couple of months and then formulate some conclusions.

New Faces
As many of you have already heard, we have a new face in the ANSM office.  Chris has joined us for his final term of Fleming College's Collections, Conservation and Management Program - the dreaded internship.  He'll be around until Christmas, and will be helping out with all sorts of tasks, one of which is creating more online resources for the ANSM website.  If you need a particular sample form, policy, or tip sheet, feel free to place your request with Chris.  He can be reached by phone at the office and by email at project[at]  I'll be dragging the poor boy around the province as I finish up site visits, and he'll also be putting in random appearances at meetings and workshops, so feel free to introduce yourself and show him how friendly we are on the East Coast.

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