Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 2012 Update

Wow. 2012. Hard to believe.

Renewal Contracts
It's the end of January which means the renewal deadline is upon us. Keep in mind that with our new database system we are incurring costs for hosting the system which means we are taking renewal deadlines far more serious than in past years. The service policy that was included in your renewal package outlines how we will be handling this, but if you have any questions please let me know.

IMAC Meeting
The Information Management & Access Committee met this month to talk about the advisory service, database, and website development. I am happy to report that we have narrowed it down to two possible names for the collections website, and that we seem to be on track to show you the website during my summer travels (this does not affect the September launch date, but will be a preview so you can see how your data will appear). We have heard from a number of museums who are interested in joining the CollectiveAccess crew, and interest in the collections website seems to be a big selling point.
ANSM is looking at a number of ways to help you prepare for the website launch, and we will keep sharing tips on how to get the most bang for your buck and let you know about any funding opportunities that cross our desks. I know that several museums applied for Young Canada Works funding to help get their records & images ready. Fingers crossed that everything comes together!

Database Renewal Project - Website Development
I wonder if a few people made New Year's Resolutions to add a lot of information to their database, because WOW!! And the funny thing is that a few sites deleted records and/or images as they have been cleaning up their databases. So you'd think that would drop us down a bit from last month, but no...miles ahead. Another 1,329 object records were added, and 3,800 images were attached, for new grand totals of 173,338 objects and 46,425 images. This is awesome. All of your hard work continues to improve our position for the September launch of our collections website. What a great way to start the year!
North Cumberland Historical Society
And now, for the ever-popular regional tally:
Southwest - 85,370 artifacts, 20,699 images
Central - 35,205 artifacts, 9,824 images
Northeast - 30,564 artifacts, 12,700 images
Cape Breton - 22,199 artifacts, 3,202 images

Congrats to the Southwest region, who have taken the top spot in both categories, adding another 1,200+ objects and 3,000+ images this month!

Your image example of the month comes from our friends in Pugwash, who have become experts at scanning photographs and other 2-dimensional items. Notice how square the image is, and how you can't see any black edges. It's pretty perfect. The extra care and attention paid to their scans ensures that each photo will look fantastic in the collections website.

Website development is underway, and we are even planning a face-to-face meeting with our friends from Whirl-i-gig so we can kick off the fun design work. Stay tuned for pics of candy & chocolate and brainstorming sessions.

Fleming College Partnership
Last week I Skyped into the Museum Management & Curatorship program at Fleming College to chat about collections management, our advisory service, and to launch a really cool pilot project. A few years ago a survey was done of Museum Studies programs, and what it found was that the majority of programs are lacking in the area of information technology, specifically database training. Having just hosted a fantastic intern from Fleming, and being a graduate myself, discussions with the instructors somehow evolved into an idea for a class project.
from blog.greatgunsmarketing.com
So we asked 9 museums if they would be willing to let me set up student level logins for these students to do some data cleaning & updating of records. It did not take a lot of convincing. So right now we have 28 students reviewing 10 records each from these 9 participating sites. It doesn't matter that they are three provinces away (or 1700km if you want to get technical), they have been given their own logins and are happily working away. The students have only been assigned records with associated images, which is yet another reason to make sure you have high-quality photographs & scans of your collection. We are hoping that the assignment will go well enough that we can tweak it and have it be a regular part of the program.

I'd like to give a special shout out to my readers in Taiwan. You've just made the top 10 list of countries to read the blog. I appreciate you following our activities in Nova Scotia and hope that you continue to check in.