Friday, March 31, 2017

March 2017 Update

Meetings Etc.
We had a lot of committee meetings this month. As you may have noticed by now, the CNSA's Education Committee meets on a monthly basis, and is gearing up even more for the annual conference in May. In other committee news...

ETT - Our Education & Training Task Force met to talk about conference survey results (Fall symposium it is!), upcoming workshops, and other fun stuff about our professional development offerings. In exciting news, we were successful in our application for the CCI workshop on Disaster Planning, and it is now scheduled to take place on November 8-9th in Halifax.

MEP - the Museum Evaluation Program Steering Committee also met this month, and selected this year's team of evaluators. We're excited to have some returnees from last year, as well as some new faces. And they've all expressed how much they're looking forward to the evaluation work.

IMAC - While the Information Management & Access Committee didn't meet this month, they are keeping busy as they've just embarked on a website review to get ideas and inspiration for NovaMuse's next big upgrade. Committee members are reviewing two online collections sites each, and making lots of notes about their likes and dislikes. If any of you have ideas for new features or improvements to NovaMuse, please let us know. We want to have a nice big wish list at the end of the review process.

Museum Evaluation Program
In addition to committee meetings and forming up the evaluation teams, there is a lot on the go with the MEP. In terms of this year's evaluations, questions are pouring in from museums, which means lots of tips & answers to questions are circulating, and we've just opened online submissions for documentation review. Mid-March was the deadline for museums to submit blackout dates for their site evaluations, so that means that next up is the development of the site evaluation schedule. This is either a major juggling act or work of art, depending on who you talk to. Lots of drawing is involved, so I guess there is that.
We are also working on evolving the program into the Accreditation Program, which means guiding documents are being developed to address eligibility, the application process, the appeals process, and benefits of the program. We're in the final stages of developing the implementation timeline and will be updating our website with new info over the next few months. Stay tuned for more info.

CollectiveAccess & NovaMuse
We had one of those rare months where a number of records were deleted from databases, as museums are actively working on winter data clean-up projects. Some are inventorying and adjusting storage locations, some are identifying and deleting duplicate records, and others are updating old entries with new information. It's all great work; great to see our collections information being enhanced. With all the ups and downs, we now collectively have 285,894 artifacts and 136,187 images in CollectiveAccess. Wouldn't it be great if those two numbers started to converge and we had images for everything? I would love to see that, and I'm sure our online NovaMuse community would as well.

Here's the regional breakdown:
Southwest - 124,425 artifacts, 56,287 images
Central - 99,138 artifacts, 39,715 images
Northeast - 32,935 artifacts, 26,412 images
Cape Breton - 29,396 artifacts, 13,773 images

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

In fun NovaMuse news, this September will be its 5th birthday and we are looking for ideas on how to celebrate! We're brainstorming here at ANSM, and we want you to brainstorm too! Email us your ideas. Let's see if we can come up with something really fun and engaging.

Made in Nova Scotia
Sandi and I continue to pick away at the Made in NS database. I'm still working on that epic silversmiths book by Donald Mackay, and Sandi has just started in on Deb Trask's book on gravestone and other carvers of Nova Scotia. We've now got 7,932 entries in Made in NS, so please, please please don't forget to use this field in your database. With all the additions we've been making, it is more and more likely that you can link your locally made artifacts to an artisan's or company's profile. We have big plans for this feature for our NovaMuse upgrades, but we've got to have the artifacts linked in order for this to work.
Also, if you have any local resources that would help us enhance the database, please let us know. We're working through our little stockpile, but we're always happy to add to it. Right now we are particularly thinking about shipbuilding and other marine-related businesses.

Fleming Project
The students wrapped up phase 1 of their assignment at the end of February, but have gone back to make a few more adjustments in some of the records. This means that 270 of our collections records got proofread and corrected. Isn't that great? It can be hard to find the time to go back and review one record, let along 270. Huge kudos to the class on their hard work. They are now busy in phase 2 of their assignment - selecting two items from the ten on their list and doing some extra research to enhance the record. It's still early days but we're looking forward to hearing about the students' discoveries.
As a friendly reminder, having good images is critical for the success of this project, and is critical in general. So keep up the digitization work, but be sure to take your time and get the best images possible.

Let's take one of the items from this project for our image lesson of the month. Here we have a penny,
a little, flat object. If you look in the museum's database, there are 4 images of it. How come so many? Because there are 2 with scales (the obverse and reverse), and then two without the scale. Since the scale can be distracting in such close-up shots, we left those images as "not accessible" in the database, and only published the photos without scales on NovaMuse. A couple things to notice about this shot - notice how centred the coin is and how uniform the contrasting backdrop is. The camera was set to macro (the little flower) in order to get improved focus. Never shoot detail shots without using macro.

#150 Touchstones
And last but not least, we're very excited to announce that #150Touchstones has returned! During the second phase, we are asking students studying Grade 11 Canadian History to select artifacts that they feel speak to Nova Scotia's role in the evolution of Canada. Each participating class will vote for their top artifacts on NovaMuse, creating a list of their personal favourites, and then voting as a class on their top 30 artifacts. Once this is done, we will be creating a virtual exhibit of the selected #150Touchstones and do some interactive storytelling about the items. It's going to be fun!

Looking ahead to April & May, it is regional meeting time again. I hope to see you all at your respective meetings. Lots of other news to share and discuss.

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