Friday, February 27, 2009

February 2009 Update

Steering Committee
The Steering Committee is very pleased to announce that Lynn MacEachern has been hired by the Wolfville Historical Society for 6 weeks in order to continue the Passage data cleaning work. They want to reassure the partners that there is enough money in the current SDI year to accommodate this without jeopardizing other areas of work.

CHIN Meetings
Every February CHIN & CCI host meetings in Ottawa in order to stay in touch with the heritage community, and determine how to better meet the needs of their members and clients. Invitees include Executive Directors and either special project, technical or training coordinators from provincial museum associations, as well as government and other staff who have province-wide mandates or scopes to their work. This was the 5th year that Passage staff have attended these meetings and reported on our activities.

The follow-up report can be found on the blog in two sections: proceedings of the CHIN meetings, and a report on what’s going on in other provinces and territories.

Data Cleaning
Several sites have not responded to our call for data cleaning. We cannot stress enough that this is a limited, one-time offer. It is absolutely imperative that people send us their database when it is requested. As mentioned above, Lynn will be around until the end of March to complete this work. We cannot afford to fall behind schedule because we are waiting for people to answer phone and/or email messages. If you have not received this service yet, please keep an eye on your inbox or give us a call so Lynn can start working on your database.

Artefacts Canada Tally
February was a very good month for uploading. 10,586 records were uploaded to Artefacts Canada, giving us a grand total of 58,831 records online!

Here are the current regional standings:
Southwest: 23,507
Northeast: 16,755
Central: 12,527
Cape Breton: 6,042

Congratulations to the Central region for uploading the most records this month. They definitely blew away the competition by more than doubling their former tally.

Remember that your records need to be online by the summer, so if you haven’t uploaded yet, give us a call and we will help you with this.

Staff Report
Here’s an account of how Karin and Lynn have spent their time this month.

Monthly Breakdown: Karin____Lynn
Phone ____________8.65%___1.67%
Meetings _________24.98%___5.57%
Travel ____________7.69%___3.34%
Reports __________15.22%___0.00%
Database Work ______2.33%__81.08%
Administrative _____16.65%___3.15%
System Maintenance __1.87%___0.37%

Blog Polls

Just a reminder to everyone to vote in the latest poll. This question will play a key role in determining how to proceed in future activities, and so it is very important that everyone responds. To find the poll, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Ask a Librarian
The Halifax Public Library would like to remind everyone of their “Ask a Librarian” service. If you need help finding out about a company, organization, event, or other aspect of Nova Scotia’s past, you can visit the library’s website and ask for assistance. While they can’t guarantee success, they’ll look through their resources and get back to you with whatever information they uncover.

Passage in the Community

While site visits aren’t normally conducted during the winter, staff do try to attend partners’ special events when possible. Karin and Lynn were privileged to attend a reception in honour of the Year of Aviation in Nova Scotia, hosted by the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum. In attendance were MLA Percy Paris, Canadian astronaut Chris Hatfield and former Snowbirds Commander Dan Dempsey, as well as three of the original Golden Hawks aerobatic team pilots. Many RCAF and other veterans were also present, and it was evident that they thoroughly enjoyed seeing old friends and reliving their flying days. Attendees enjoyed talks by the aforementioned special guests, as well as archived footage of the Golden Hawks, and a chance to visit the museum and hear stories from the veterans.

If anyone else has an upcoming special event, we would love to help you celebrate the work that you are doing in your community.


Last but certainly not least, I am sorry to inform everyone that after 22 years working in the museum world, Penny Lighthall is moving on. Penny has worked at the Nova Scotia Museum, Wallace & Area Museum, and for the past 11 years has been at the Colchester Historical Society Museum in Truro. She served twice on the FNSH board of directors, and has attended and hosted numerous workshops and professional development opportunities. Penny also played a key role in the creation of Passage, being one of the original “Power of 17” museum partners, and has continued to be a very strong supporter of Passage over the years.

Penny, you will be greatly missed. We wish you all the best as you pursue new and exciting opportunities.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What's Going on in Other Provinces & Territories

A roundtable discussion was held at the February CHIN meetings during which representatives from each province reviewed their work over the past year. Written reports were not submitted.

The museum association has been re-evaluating the tools that they have and how they have been using them. They have launched a joint website with the department of Tourism that allows the visitor to enter either on the museum side or general tourism side. In the near future it will be linked with the member & grants databases. They are moving towards e-publications to cut down on paper consumption and costs, and are doing research into social networking in order to revitalize their communication efforts. The museum affirmation program recognizes museums that meet set standards in all areas of operation. It is thriving, and there are currently 189 museums who have received this designation, providing them with exclusive access to more funding programs.

British Columbia

BC celebrated their sesquicentennial in 2008 which took up a lot of time and effort within the museum association (BCMA). In conjunction with this, a legacy fund was introduced, but has since been decimated by the economic downturn. There is a group in BC whose mandate is to support $20,000 worth of digitization work each year, and so the BCMA took part in talks with the library, archives and post-secondary institutions in order to take advantage of this opportunity. They were also able to partner with BC Tourism to get an online directory in acknowledgement of the move to a travel & knowledge-based economy. Updating the BCMA website is their next priority.

The museum association has been undertaking a standards renewal process and studying their membership in order to get a better picture of their needs. A list of recommendations has come out of the study. Included in their future work is a cost analysis of providing their member museums with a website template that works through the association website.

New Brunswick
A part-time communications director has just been hired by the Association Museums of NB (AMNB), and they hope to be able to increase their funding so that the position will become full-time. Training is funded by the province and is organized & delivered in each geographic zone according to their needs.
Heritage Branch, which has taken over much of the AMNB’s work as they have rebuilt over the past 6 years, was approached to add a rotating exhibit in the legislature to tell different stories from NB’s history. The Collections Inventory program continues to be very successful, and provides funding to museums to obtain a database system (Virtual Collections), and train staff & volunteers with cataloguing and data entry. They are also working on a pilot project in order to provide small museums with good quality websites.

Newfoundland & Labrador
The enrichment work undertaken this year focused on the spirit of adventure and exploration, and was linked to the grade 8 curriculum in order to gain more buy-in within the province. The provincial museum association (MANL) has an entirely new staff and have been reviewing policies and updating their training programs. They have created a Best Practices document that is available to their members on cd. It contains basic tools such as marketing tips, templates, and links to relevant websites. The information is broken down into three categories, based on the size of the museum, so that it can be catered more towards individual sites.
MANL is looking forward to hosting the CMA Annual Conference in 2010 and staff are already busy making arrangements for this event.

Nova Scotia
53 community museums are currently involved with Passage, and in the coming year we will be adding another 3 sites to the group. The past year a condition report & loans feature were added to the collections database, and the user manuals have been rewritten in order to accommodate these changes. I started a Passage blog in order to increase communication & transparency with our members. Member feedback on this has been excellent, and has allowed us to poll members for information in an informal way to assist with future planning. Passage partnered with CHIN to complete a collections development project, which saw 677 records enriched from 31 sites. The data cleaning initiative that was started in 2006 continued, and approximately 115,000 records have been cleaned to date. Over 48,000 of these records have been uploaded to Artefacts Canada, and our goal is to have the remaining records online by August 2009.

Nunavut has been cultivating relationships and partnerships with a variety of groups. They are working with a university on a cyber cartography project, and the department of education to develop websites on Inuit contact & colonization. This can be connected with school curriculum and used in the classroom. A weekly newsletter is sent out to members, and they have just completed development of the 1st museological training program in the territory. For future work they are looking at standardizing collections management systems and hope to create an Inuit culture portal as a one-stop shopping for cultural heritage knowledge.

The museum association (OMA) are currently working on a strategic plan and refocusing of their efforts. They are going to target advocacy, professional development and networking, and are using existing information from applications and other documents in order to gain a better picture of their membership and determine how to better meet their needs. They have held roundtables of cluster groups, asking members how they can do better and what the members’ top priorities are. While it was recognized that the OMA couldn’t take on all of these tasks, they are figuring out how to be more of a facilitator and develop services to combat a lack of succession planning.
Enrichment work of the year was tagged “Let’s Get Digital”. Since members each have different database systems, each member had to be dealt with one-on-one and required a pre-visit assessment in order to cater to specific needs while on-site.
The Ontario Association of Art Galleries reported on a network mapping project. Using a proprietary software, they are able to visualize their members and determine who is active and whose interests overlap. They are then able to create a list of mentors to answer questions and help to encourage the “peripheral” members to become more active. They are also using in order to make their websites more interactive. Similar to Facebook, using this site allows you to create forums and groups and is easily managed.

Prince Edward Island
PEI has partnered with CHIN to do a special project on cultural tourism using handheld and self-guided media. The objective was to create an interactive learning tool that would increase visitor’s understanding & enjoyment and assist museums in promoting their services. 13 indoor & outdoor points of interest in one county were completed, integrating both natural and cultural history. Music, video, interviews, guided interpretation, slideshows, historic images with voiceovers, and GPS coordinates were included. While there was some variation in quality, visitors seem very satisfied with the product. In the coming year, another 18 sites will be completed, including the addition of detailed audio/visual files for 6 museums. The content will be available in three file formats, and further usability evaluations will take place. It is hoped that this will turn into a new source of income for participating museums.

Quebec museums currently have 500,000 records on Artefacts Canada, and their focus is now shifting to quality rather than quantity. Their database systems also have an upload button, which allows members to upload both to Info-Muse and Artefacts Canada at the same time. Sites are encouraged to upload all of their records to both sites. The provincial society has started to work more with libraries and archives, and have updated the membership section of their website. They continue to facilitate partnerships and collaborations that highlight New France and French North America. Some very successful work has been accomplished in more rural areas through funding from the Building Communities through Arts & Heritage program initiative.

An organizational review was undertaken in 2007, during which they talked to their 200+ members and looked at community relevancy and sustainability. They realized that they had been too focused on standards and had lost sight of other ways in which to serve their membership. They have been working on updating their certificate programs, allowing for diversity in technical knowledge, and providing more training through online courses in order to counteract the distance & travel issues that accompany traditional workshops. They are working on the website, and have been grouping members by theme, location etc, and are very eager to develop a better relationship with the Department of Tourism to assist with the promotion of their members. They are also developing an Advocacy Toolkit which will be a broad based “what is” & “how to” document that will include case studies from both rural and urban museums.

The museum association is currently focusing on marketing, advocacy and networking, three areas outlined in their new strategic plan that was passed at the 2008 AGM. They are also increasing cataloguing at their 18 member museums, and looking at ways to work more with tourism. A project to create audio tours of Whitehorse was carried out, but has been abandoned until cell reception improves. With their new focus, they also built a new website, which has been very well received and came in under budget as it only took two months to create.
The Yukon also partnered with CHIN to work on a special project to explore the application of to the museum community. Similar to flickr, users can comment on photos by phone, text, webcam, and even doodle to circle individuals who they identify or talk about. The intention was to partner with schools and seniors homes to do interviews and learn more about the territory’s past, sharing results on voicethread. The project was advertised on CBC radio, their website, and through several other local means. However it was discovered that feedback only came after solicitation, and so the association has been capturing information whenever possible at their own events.

Through the provincial roundtable discussions, it was abundantly clear that everyone has been strategizing and trying to revitalize their services to museums. It was suggested that the provincial associations should increase their level of communication with eachother, and unite through joint endeavours so that no one is re-inventing the wheel or repeating work that has already been done by someone else. No set timeline was given, but over the coming months CHIN will be investigating ways to facilitate this discussion in order to establish a “Community of Practice”.

CHIN meetings - February 8-12, 2009

Ottawa, February 9-12, 2009

Follow-up Report to ANSM, PSC & Passage Members
By Karin Kierstead,
Collections Coordinator - Passage Project

The meetings were very well attended, with representation from each province & territory except for the Northwest Territories and PEI, who sent their regrets. Invitees included Executive Directors and either special project, technical or training coordinators from provincial museum and art gallery associations, as well as government and other staff who have province-wide mandates or scopes to their work.

CHIN Membership
The meetings began with an overview of CHIN’s membership as of December 2008, from which I have extracted the following pertinent information:
• 1341 members in Canada
• 95 members in NS
o 3rd highest in the country, following Ontario & Quebec respectively
• 43 contributing members in NS
o 3rd highest in the country, following Quebec & Ontario respectively
o since this report was issued, the NS number has increased to 51
• 8 new members from NS in 2008
o 3rd highest in the country, following Ontario & Quebec respectively
• 15 potential members in NS
o these groups are in the middle of the membership application process
• 1 museum in NS participated in the Community Memories project in 2008

Due to the difference in the number of museums in Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, we can never expect to “beat” these much larger provinces. That said, the fact that we are ranked as highly as we are in terms of membership activity and online contribution speaks very highly to the dedication of the heritage community in Nova Scotia and the effectiveness of Passage.

CHIN Initiatives
The following initiatives are underway at CHIN in order to increase networking and member visibility online.

Working with Provincial Associations

CHIN is renewing its efforts to work with provincial museum associations in order to strengthen the knowledge and abilities of heritage professionals with regards to technology. They strive to gain a broad understanding of the technology capacity and digitization initiatives that are being undertaken around the country, and are working to establish a dialogue with the museum community to determine their needs pertaining to digital heritage and its applications.
Their efforts are threefold:
• undertake collections development and other special projects with provincial associations
• learn about technology developments and challenges
• become actively involved and engaged in museum activities

Virtual Museum of Canada Renewal
Currently, the VMC boasts:
• 13 million visits per year
• over 500 online exhibits
• 600,000 images
• 140 interactive games
• 3,000 museums & heritage organizations
• a teacher’s centre for enhancing course curriculum

The renewed website will be launched on May 18th, coinciding with Museum Month. Upgrades to the site include:
• Feature Museums
• Theme, subject, and color searching
o increasing usability of search function
o targeting youth
• What’s New
o allows frequent visitors to easily locate new information
o will assist enrichment project staff with tracking of uploaded records
• Curator’s Pick
o feature artifacts or collections submitted by curators from across the country
• Find Museums Near You
o search by theme or location
• Museum Guide priority
o focus on ensuring information is correct and always up-to-date
• Professional Exchange
o section aimed at museum workers, consisting of case studies, fact sheets, etc.
o members can request information on different topics

Artefacts Canada Renewal
• improve content standards
• improving the search function
• increasing the number of images
• improving the quality of data & images
• connecting researchers with museums and collections that they otherwise would not see

Community Memories Renewal
CHIN is currently developing new software to improve the ease of use and marketing capabilities for smaller museums. They are always looking for more virtual exhibits, and encourage both new and repeat applicants. New applicants receive $5000 to complete an exhibit, and repeat partners receive $2500 for each subsequent exhibit.

The pilot project that partnered teachers with museums to create learning objects to enhance school curriculum has been completed. AGORA is now being incorporated into the Virtual Museum of Canada as the Teacher’s Centre. Currently, on average, 5 new teachers use the site every week in order to enhance their curriculum content. Participating in this work requires the assistance of a certified teaching professional, and not only increases museums’ online profile but expands their educational outreach, thus fulfilling their mandate.

Resources & Training
CHIN is continuing to add information to the Reference Library on their website. One such resource is the Parks Canada Description and Visual Dictionary of Objects. This site is very easy to use and assists in the proper documentation of artifacts. You can browse through over 2,500 bilingual terms either by keyword or through the index.
In the coming year, the newly revised Nomenclature for Museum Cataloguing will also be launched and an online version will be available. CHIN is also hoping to increase their training portfolio, and offer more webinars and information through their professional development centre known as the Knowledge Exchange.

Museums & the Internet
With CHIN’s focus on Artefacts Canada and the Virtual Museum of Canada, they have inevitably received many inquiries about the impact of museums having an online presence.
Here are some important statistics to consider:
• 71% of Canadians are on the internet:
• 84% of them are active in social media
• 89% of them watch videos
• 64% of them visit blogs
• website visitors are 2.5 times more likely to visit museums in person

In addition to the traditional website presence, it is increasingly important for museums to expand their online presence through social media networks and other sites that are already frequented by online visitors. These include Facebook, Blogger, YouTube, flickr, and digg, websites that can be easily maintained once an initial presence is established.
Here are 7 steps for success in social media:
• identify target audience
• establish clear objectives
• select key words and phrases
• solicit
• contribute
• socialize
• monitor

Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI)
The website is undergoing changes, which will reflect a federal government standardized formatting. They will be sharing more information online through a conservation resource centre. It will contain information at a variety of levels from technical information for conservators to the basics of conservation for the general public. There will also be a web-based risk assessment tool that will show where and how to distribute limited resources. The light damage calculator that was mentioned last year has been completed and will allow users to predict the amount of fading of an object under its current conditions, and determine a better preservation scenario by adjusting light levels.
CCI reported that only four objects were treated from Nova Scotia over the past year, while some other provinces had upwards of 50 treatments. They are very concerned about the lack of applications as it may appear to government that they are not meeting their national mandate. The paper & textile lab had to turn away several applications this year, but the objects & archaeology lab accepted all applications and are looking to increase the number of applications in the coming year. Information about eligibility for this free service can be found on their website.

Steering Committee Meeting - January 22, 2009

Minutes; January 22, 2008
ANSM Boardroom

Present: D. Watts, Chairperson
Passage Project Steering Committee
G. MaGee, Secretary, Central Rep.
D. Crouse, Northeast Rep.
L. Rafuse, Southwest Rep.
J.McLean, Cape Breton Rep.
P. Collins, Dept. Tourism, Culture and Heritage
K. Kierstead
L. MacEachern
G. Hammond, ANSM (Guest)

1.0 Welcome
D. Watts welcomed all to the meeting and introduced G. Hammond,
President Pro Tem of ANSM, who will be invited to participate later in the meeting.

An Agenda was distributed. The chair asked to add an item (8 New Business) in which the chair will introduce and discuss the issues to be resolved between ANSM and PSC. The next meeting date item will become item 9.

2.0 Minutes of Previous Meeting, Oct. 24/08
By motion of L. Rafuse, seconded by D. Crouse, the Minutes of the October
24, 2008 meeting were approved as previously distributed.

3.0 Business Arising: There was nothing to bring forward from the previous

4.0 Passage Update and WHS:
D. Watts informed the committee that an account has been set up at the Bank of Montreal by Wolfville Historical Society for the administration of the Passage Project and a bookkeeper engaged on an hourly basis. A copy of the bookkeeper's report for December consisting of a Balance Sheet and an Income Statement was given to the secretary for attachment to the minutes. It is the intention to keep a second copy of these in the project financial files.

5.0 Staff/Project Reports
5.1 Work Plan for 2009. There were 2 work plan documents sent out via email. One was the actual plan and the other document was an explanation guide. The tasks as set out for the month of December have been achieved even though the goal of 9300 records was not reached. Weekly updates are being sent and this information is being tallied on a monthly basis and will be included in the blog updates to the partners. K. Kierstead has assisted G. Hammond in his preparation of the ANSM accounts in respect to the project and devoted in total twenty hours towards that. As a result some of the tasks that were set for this month have not been accomplished, but the work plan is flexible enough to allow recovery later.

The information management system is a multi-sheet excel document that outlines Passage delivery, member participation etc. It is still being populated but is progressing well.

The computer maintenance plan for partners’ computers has not been formalized on paper but has been conceptualized and will be put to paper in the next week. This is not a very technical task. However there are different levels of computer literacy and some members do not understand that by running virus and malware scans that this will not only protect the information on the computer but will prolong the life of the computer. Some people/sites will need training on this aspect of project delivery.
The final report and regular monthly report for CHIN is slated for next week.
Data cleaning will be addressed later.

5.2 Member Surveys: A polling feature was added to the blog, this allows multiple choice questions to be put to the members. The first question was whether their website works for them. Of the 21 who responded there were 7 who said no, it did not; 6 who said somewhat; and 8 who said yes. The second question as suggested by Randall House was how did other sites classify their photographs. Were they artifacts or were they archival material. Of the 13 sites that responded there were 7 that said archival, 3 that said artifact, and 3 that used the combination arc/arf field. Results will be shared in the monthly update. There was an open ended question as to thoughts for the next survey.

Other sites have expressed an interest in joining Passage. A survey might be useful in determining future members; this survey would also create a paper trail and will establish baseline. This could be applied to member museums that have already been part of the Passage Project since this would provide a baseline of information on all members. In the past potential partners were interviewed over the phone and/or through site visits.

The question was raised as to who were future potential partners for Passage. SDI has been approached for the funding for 3 new partners. The $500.00 fee covers approximately 1/3 of the actual cost. Unless there are surplus funds then this is the number of new partners that can be added. There may be about 8 that can be approached that participate with CMAP. There is one site in Cape Breton and two in the Southwest who are very serious about joining.

5.3 Made in NS, Phase III: The final report to CHIN is due Jan. 30th. Eighteen out of thirty two sites have uploaded, so fourteen are remaining; most of those have not uploaded before. Randall House has made data enrichment a priority and has been working on its own so the numbers that it has sent up are unknown. The final report will include an invoice for $5000.05, and while the ANSM bookkeeper has given assurances that when CHIN cheques are received that they will notify us, so far this is not occurring. To the best of our knowledge $24 500.00 of the $41 000.00 from CHIN has been received, this covers both L. MacEachern’s project expenses as well as the YCW interns.

5.4 Data Cleaning & Uploading: Since the last meeting 10 067 records have been uploaded to Artefacts Canada so currently there are now 47 692 records are online. Recently completed is the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum, the North Cumberland Historical Society and the Islands Museum. Over the past year 48 000 records have been cleaned and each site has been provided with a report on the state of their records and how they can improve their methodology. There are still sites that are reluctant to upload unless their records have been enriched but the majority of sites have been happy to have their cleaned records uploaded. Sites continue to express their appreciation for the help and work done in this area. Last year there was some difficulty with uploading to CHIN, this year it seems easier as there have been no changes.

6.0 Finances
6.1 Current Financial Report: The updated Passage & CHIN ledger was not sent by the ANSM bookkeeper until the night before the meeting. It appears that there is still money being taken out for office supplies, internet, etc. even though Passage is not operating out of the ANSM offices. This will need to be reversed, and has amounted to $51.14 to date. The ledger did not include some known YCW expenses, but from our books it appears that there is approximately $1000.00 that can be spent on digitization equipment as planned

6.2 Future Investments & Expenditures: The CMA Conference is coming up soon, L. Rafuse made a motion that K. Kierstead attend, seconded by J. McLean and carried (there is money budgeted for this).

The current SDI provides funding for 1.2 staff, that has allowed us to have R. Cloutier on call for technical support. This continues to work well. With the same arrangement last year, we did not use all of the staff money. As a result there was about $6000.00 left in staff salary. Since there will still be data cleaning work outstanding at the end of L. MacEachern’s contract, and in view of our priority of having all databases uploaded by August, extending her contract is a way of ensuring that we complete our goals & obligations. K. Kierstead will do a cost analysis and forward this to the committee for final approval. A motion to approve the extension of L. MacEachern’s contract was made in principle by L. Rafuse and seconded by D. Crouse. Motion carried.

Magic White Board: V. Lenethan has invested in a training board that allows Long Distance Learning provided the participants have a microphone, webcam and internet access. This is ideal as it overcomes issues regarding travel, weather, time difficulties, etc. so this seems worthy of further investigation. K. Kierstead and D. Watts will look into this and report back to the committee.

7.0 Position Papers:
7.1 J. McLean presented the committee with a copy of his report prepared on open source vs. proprietary software. One of the featured software was PastPerfect, R. Cloutier just happens to be the only certified trainer in Canada for this software. R. Cloutier stated that this software’s feature of building your own report is convoluted and that users could only begin to make use of this feature after preparing a proper procedures manual. That said, if there are any small bugs in the preparation of these forms, the program shows an error message and forces you to quit the program. It was decided that perhaps the best course of action would be to update the current program. One item that might be added would be a merge feature that would allow multiple computers at the various sites to be fully utilized. Such a feature could lock out access from the supporting computer for a file in progress or make the computer read only. K. Kierstead will put J. McLean in touch with R. Cloutier to discuss various upgrade options as well as a backup button which will likely be the efficient way to backup the system, most likely through a server.

7.2 Passage in the Future: This paper is one that D. Watts said he had wanted
(and was willing to do including face to face site visits) to undertake to help him thoroughly understand the project and to be prepared to make a comprehensive proposal. Much else has prevented this from being started. In his view partners are not ready for any abrupt changes or major shifts in the method of project delivery at the moment. It does seem to be rather obvious that the project should translate from a labour intensive project to more of a maintenance project for the long term. This approach is yet to be developed.

At the chair's request, K. Kierstead prepared a confidential document in which the capabilities/capacities of every partner site were appraised, based on Kierstead's many encounters with the partners during the delivery of project services. In that document poor records mean that they are skeletal in the database and do not necessarily reflect the paper cataloguing. Poor records are those that may contain information in only the required 6 fields. Good records are those that have information in the “important” fields, such information is short and provides for only basic understanding of the artifact. Excellent records are those that have been enriched so that there is a full appreciation and understanding of the artifact. Problems or poor records seem to result when there is incomplete training (often of summer students) at many sites. There are a number of partner sites who can be identified who do exhibit confidence and competence with their ability. The task is to increase that number. The problem is to know how.

7.3 Terms of Reference (for PSC within ANSM):
D.Watts said he had already written a paper for himself about this, in which he considered three ways in which the project might eventually be brought back "under the wing" of ANSM. It’s not for distribution. Suffice to say that Passage appears to be working within a policy vacuum.

8.0 New Business:
The chair invited G. Hammond to participate at this point in the meeting.
D. Watts said that this has been introduced to make PSC familiar with the engagement that he and G.Hammond have been conducting on the issues that have been an ongoing problem for ANSM and which resulted in the SDI debacle in August last. Since then, B.A. Aaboe-Milligan and D. Watts met the ANSM board and commenced a dialogue. Subsequently, with Aaboe-Milligan's retirement as PSC chair and DW's becoming chair at the 24 October PSC meeting, the dialogue has been continued between GH and DW, by meeting and by e-mail.

DW prepared for the meeting by writing a response to the most recent exchange of communication with GH, and which was replied to by its reading to the meeting by DW (a copy of that reply, together with documents from GH were given to the secretary for keeping in the minute book).

These were the issues addressed.

1. Ownership of the money which the project generated, over time, in excess of the expenditures is considered by the board to belong to ANSM, and their's absolutely to manage. This amounts to about $37,000 in total.

The Passage partners contend, and have always done so, that this money belongs to the project and should only be directed to services delivered by the PSC. Since the Passage partners are unincorporated, they clearly cannot own anything. They might say they have been charged excessively for Passage services however.

Accordingly DW took the position that these monies had to be acknowledged as such within the ANSM books as accruing to the project and be treated as a reserve to be expended from time to time for the benefit of the project. For his part GH said that ANSM couldn't have this on their books for accounting reasons. A three part proposal was subsequently received by DW from GH which proposed to eliminate all the earnings this year, as follows:
(a) Send each past and present Passage partner $300, which will account for about half the earnings;
(b) Allocate $10,000 to the Collections Management Advisory Committee to support their expenses for the CMAC mandate for 2009.
(c) Allocate $12,000 to a Three Year Museology Training Plan for NS (Museums) proposed by ANSM, for which partner funding from MAP and SDI had been approved and a consultant about to be retained.

DW's response was that (a) was retrograde and other PSC members said that $300 in each partners hand would not be as productive as PSC providing service to them and were not in favour of that idea.

DW's response to (b) was that this favoured the partner's interests and was a use that would very likely receive their endorsement once they knew what it was the CMAC was to do in 2009. PSC was inclined to agree.

DW's response to (c) was negative. PSC had been told clearly that Training was not their mandate and was one of the reasons ANSM declined to submit the SDI application. In DW's opinion, the partners would not agree to that.

The PSC appealed to GH to find a way to recognise and manage the project earnings over a period of time, for the total benefit of the project.

On this point at the meeting, GH heard an account from G. MaGee of how the Fultz House Society, of which she is member and administrator, manages a segregated investment fund for a future, time uncertain building project, to which monies are contributed year upon year. DW also described investment savings managed by Wolfville Historical Society, which has monies flowing in both directions, for four different purposes. There does seem to be a way by which charitable organisations can manage monies like this, acceptable to CRA and the Charities Directorate.

2. Ownership of Computers, used by the project staff, purchased with project funds.

The board, through GH took exactly the same position concerning these assets as the one taken regarding the project earnings in his proposal ie: to claim ownership. In this case however, DW concluded that the project's interests would be protected and indicated he would support this proposal. DW made a point regarding computer maintenance and upgrade and asked for that to be addressed.

3. 2009 Passage Workplan

The initial part of the board's proposal spoke of what they considered the project's mandate to be, one in opposition to the one held by the project, being that Passage was not confined just to Collections Management Practices. The difficulty with this, as noted at 7.3 above, is that the project appears to be operating in a policy vacuum. Neither the board nor the PSC, nor DHM before them, ever clearly articulated an understanding or a purpose beyond that of the range of services delivered by the project that all are familiar with, except the SDI application for 2008/09.

While the particular parts of the Workplan of concern to the board, (derived of course from the SDI Application submitted by Wolfville Historical Society on behalf of the Passage partners) were spoken to in the Introduction to the Workplan, as a way to minimise the amount of work on these items and with the object of mollifying those concerns, this turned out to be unacceptable to the board.

The communication received from G. Hammond suggested that future ANSM applications for partnering with CHIN would be contingent on three compliant actions by the PSC (Wolfville not being recognised by CHIN as an acceptable organisation for that application). The first and last of these are acceptable by PSC without hesitation. The second contained three sub-items and required PSC to drop from the 2009 Workplan the elements of Training, Exhibits and Marketing, and Position Papers, as described in the Workplan Introduction. Of the Position Papers listed, two are complete and the third not started, but in any event, all three have been or might have been written by volunteer members of PSC for their own information, to be published or not as they might determine. Thus the preparation of Position Papers is not an issue over which the board can expect to have influence. The possibility of dropping the remaining two items affects Wolfville's liability in respect to the SDI contract. At the meeting it was not possible to resolve that.

The first of the three compliant actions required the Passage Collections Coordinator, when attending the CHIN PMA and CMA conferences, to attend only as a representative of PSC and not as an ANSM representative. No problem on the part of PSC with that. The third compliant action was that D. Watts, as chair of the PSC, agree to join the new ANSM Collections Management Advisory Committee, to assist that committee in the work it has been mandated to do in 2009. No problem here either - D. Watts had earlier asked to be invited to join that committee, seeing that as an opportunity to help develop a very necessary long term plan for the project, and relieving him of the great commitment of work he was voluntarily prepared to carry out in preparing the third, un-started Position Paper referred to above, which would have done what in fact the new CMAC will do in response to its mandate for 2009.

The resolution of the matters laid out above will allow the project to be returned to ANSM, which is where truly it belongs. Progress was made today.
G. Hammond was asked to investigate why Passage earnings cannot be somehow accommodated within the financial framework of ANSM, and to offer a more acceptable recognition of them. PSC's reservations having been heard, given the existence of such reserved funds in two member Societies, acceptable to CRA and Charities Directorate in both cases and which had been described to him during the discussions today. On their part, PSC will request Wolfville to determine the funder's response to its omitting certain work elements from the approved SDI application.

9.0 Next Meeting Date: April 23, 2009, pre-ANSM conference. Location:TBA

Note: Following the meeting, D. Watts asked P. Collins and K.Kierstead to remain. Omission of work from the Workplan was discussed and will be reported in a separate communication.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

January 2009 Update

Steering Committee
The Steering Committee met on Thursday, January 22nd. The minutes will be posted to the blog shortly along with a message from chairperson Derek Watts.

November’s update recognized two Cape Breton heritage workers who have been in the field for 20 years. One of them has just received even greater recognition than our simple thanks. Martin Boston was chosen as the latest Faces of Heritage profile. I encourage you all to read his story, and visit him at the Orangedale Railway Museum if you haven’t already been there. If you would like to nominate someone for similar acknowledgement, you can learn more by visiting the website.

Made in Nova Scotia – Phase III
The deadline for completing this year’s Made in NS project work has arrived. Last month we told you that while we had completed our end of the bargain, we were still waiting for some partner sites to upload information and make our numbers a reality.

Lynn is still working on tying up the loose ends of the project, which includes uploading the remaining records to fully complete & further exceed the project deliverables. If you have not uploaded your enriched information yet, she will be calling you to assist with this process. It is absolutely imperative that this is done in order to receive our final payment from CHIN.

Artefacts Canada Tally
January has been a busy month with the completion of the Made in NS work requirements and a variety of meetings. 1,560 records were uploaded to Artefacts Canada this month. This still hasn’t changed the regional standings, but Passage museums now have a grand total of 48,245 records online.

Here are the current regional standings:
Southwest: 22,362
Northeast: 16,755
Central: 5,773
Cape Breton: 3,355

Congratulations to the Northeast region for uploading the most records this month.
As we outlined in this year’s renewal letter & contract, it is absolutely imperative that we get all of the database records online by the summer. If your records aren’t uploaded yet, give us a call and we will help you with this.

Staff Report
Karin & Lynn have been very busy this month. Here is a breakdown of how they spent their time.

Monthly Breakdown:


















Database Work






System Maintenance



Blog Polls
Thank you to everyone who voted in our recent blog polls. Here are the results:
Websites – asking whether or not your website worked for you. Of 21 respondents, 8 people said yes, 7 people said no, and 6 people said somewhat.
Classifying photographs – how do you do it? Of 13 respondents, 7 people enter them as archival, 3 as artifacts, and 3 as archival/artifact.

You will notice that there is a new question at the bottom of the page, and so we ask if you would once again cast your ballot. Remember that the more responses we get, the better we can cater to your needs. Ideas for questions can be sent to Karin for posting.