Thursday, July 4, 2013

June 2013 Update

Site Visits
Cole Harbour Heritage Farm
With all the meetings and visitors and other goings on throughout June, I was late starting my annual site visits, but I still managed checking in with five sites in the Central, Northeast and Southwest regions. I'm actively scheduling and travelling now, so if you don't have a site visit scheduled yet, I will be in touch over the next week or so. What I'm hearing so far is that June saw a modest increase in visitors from last year, which is great. So far I've also been really pleased with how people are moving forward at each museum. This is the first time in several years that I've been able to just sit and chat about stuff without a major project or deadline looming - no more database migrations or website launches! You have no idea how refreshing this is; to be able to figure out how to move forward and clean up old issues and just plug away at stuff.

NovaMuse Statistics 
Quite awhile ago I asked our Facebook fans what they'd like to see more of on NovaMuse. I figured this would be useful as people were making their summer staffing plans and thinking about potential exhibit topics. I don't have a picture to share, but here's what we're seeing on NovaMuse: we all know the home page suggests themes for visitors to check out. Art, Farming, Fishing, and the Military are the most popular themes. We're also seeing that people love checking out the contributor map from the home page. This is great because one of our big goals with the site was to direct people to the contributing museums - this is where you can go to see the stuff!
This also raises the point about documentation and making sure you put the right category in the object record. If you don't, your artifacts won't get into the right theme and this makes us all look bad.

Database Info
The funky issues we experienced last month with Internet Explorer have now been fixed. 
One funny holdover is that the daily synchronization was only picking up certain records during its sweep. So, if you've been waiting for an image or record to appear on NovaMuse and it's just not showing up, here's what to do. Go into that record and make a simple change. Maybe you can add a date or georeference, or add something to the description, or doesn't matter what the change is, but by making this change it will "wake up" the record for the daily sync. Something is new which means the sync knows to grab and update the info online.

The database review work continues. Chris and I have finished 10 sites, representing over 48,000 records. This puts us 3,000 records ahead of schedule which feels pretty great.  Once we finish the quick and dirty review we want to go back and do some research to further narrow down begin & end dates, so the more work museums do on their own records, the more time we'll have to do in-depth research and make improvements. So basically this is one of those "help us help you" situations. Speaking of helping, I finally published a blog post on some database lessons - trends we've noticed as we've been reviewing records. This is a must-read for anyone doing cataloguing and/or data entry. We're still keeping track of trends and will share more lessons when we get a full page worth.

In other news 804 records and 1,075 images were added this month, so we now have 191,890 artifacts and 73,627 images in the databases:

Southwest - 99,458 artifacts, 33,206 images
Central - 37,168 artifacts, 14,686 images
Northeast - 29,200 artifacts, 16,676 images
Cape Breton - 26,064 artifacts, 9,059 images

Congrats to the Southwest region for adding the most records and images this month!

American Invasion
Karin & Seth, always photogenic
We also had some company this month. Our illustrious CollectiveAccess guru came to visit for a "vacation", which of course means we spent an insane amount of time in meetings and talking shop. We had a seafood barbeque, ate cake, did some disaster planning, made a few subtle changes to NovaMuse, and had a fun sit-down with some Dept of CCH staffers. We of course had to take the opportunity to show Seth our new award, which is just as much his as it is ours. So once again, congrats to my New York penpal, the guy who was up sending emails back and forth with me at 4am, who flipped the switch for our website launch, who bullied his co-workers to make sure that all of our deadlines were met, and who continues to go above and beyond the call of duty. This is why we send him care packages of chocolate and tea, and this is why ANSM loves Whirl-i-gig...even if they are yankees.

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