Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February 2012 Update

February always seems like a dreary month, and I have to say that this year was no different. A transit strike, lots of snow/rain messiness (always seeming to fall on weekends)'s this time of year when spring feels so close and yet so far away.

CRHG Meeting
The Central Region Heritage Group met this month at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. For anyone within the HRM Regional Municipality, this is a great group to connect with. It is a great cross-section of heritage organizations, representing museums at the community, provincial, and national level. On the agenda was War of 1812 commemorations, the HRM Social Heritage Strategy, Civic Tourism, and a roundtable of what the 10 different organizations have been up to. Seamus reminded everyone that HRM offers community grants and the deadline for application is March 31st - click here for more info.

Database Renewal - Website Development
We've officially entered the scary new world of website design, and the Whirl-i-gig folks are working on some mock-ups for our fancy new website. It's hard to believe that after 9 years we will finally have all the databases together and searchable. I have to say it's feeling rather anticlimactic.

I've been talking to a lot of people about the work they are doing in their databases. It seems that since we have switched to CollectiveAccess there is a renewed interest in database work. Not only are images and new records being added, but old records are being updated. And with the recent database upgrade, you can now see when each record was last edited and by whom, another great way to monitor work. So where do things stand this month? Another 469 records and 403 images have been added, giving us new totals of 173,807 records and 46,859 images.
This is how things stand regionally:
Southwest: 85,504 artifacts, 20,162 images
Central: 35,389 artifacts, 10,565 images
Northeast: 30,715 artifacts, 12,882 images
Cape Breton: 22,199 artifacts, 3,250 images

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

Coffin Plate
Admiral Digby Museum
Your image for this month is an example of how helpful a scanner can be with small non-paper artifacts, ie stuff we don't always think about using a scanner to digitize. Sure you could set up the camera and tripod and scale, but look at how crisp the detail is in this coffin plate. The object is squared off and straight on which allows for easy reading of the inscription, and there is nothing else in the shot to distract the eye. If the light levels seem uneven from one end of the scan to the other you can put a piece of paper over the object to even things out a bit.
If you aren't sure what resolution to set your scanner, refer to my blog post on 2-dimensional digitization.

Fleming Partnership
We continue to work with Fleming College on the data cleaning project and I am happy to say that things are going very well. The students are thoroughly enjoying their real-world work, and Deb is already working on how to revise the assignment for next year.
In other Fleming news, we will be having an intern join us for the summer to work on photographing textiles and historic dress (among other tasks) and training museum staff, volunteers and students to continue this work. Given our limited resources we won't be able to work with every site, so will be conducting a survey of textiles in collections so that we can get the most bang for our buck. We are very excited to be able to provide some extra support to our members by focusing on this area of collections, and can't wait to see what people have tucked away in storage. This was one of our schemes for the Year of Images, and we are so happy that things are falling into place.