Thursday, March 28, 2013

March 2013 Update

This month was really focused on database work that aligns with our funding deliverables, so I'm afraid that I don't have a lot of other interesting tidbits to share. So let's do a recap of some questions instead of my normal ramblings:
1. Have you put a link to your NovaMuse profile on your website yet? If not, now is the time. We've had traffic from 14 contributing museums' websites, so we know this is a fantastic new offering that you can give your audience...and one that really works.
2. If you are sharing information on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites, please share artifact links to NovaMuse. When you post photos you are relinquishing all intellectual rights to the host site, whereas sharing a link to NovaMuse gives people the opportunity to see that particular item, and also investigate other aspects of your collection.

NovaMuse visitors
NovaMuse statistics
I've never shared any statistics from NovaMuse use, so thought I'd pull a few interesting facts to share. Since the website launch in September we've had visits from 62 countries (from Albania to Zimbabwe) and 774 cities (from Abbotsford to Zaanstad). It's amazing to me that 51 community museums have such a global reach. And while it's pretty cool to see traffic from around the world, the majority of our traffic is from good ol' Nova Scotia Canada. The public is engaged; they're visiting, they're leaving a few comments, and they're telling their friends about the site. That bubbles on the map show where our visits are coming from, and the bigger and brighter the bubble, the more hits from that area. So congrats to everyone on being a success in Nova Scotia. With the site being updated every day with more objects and images, people have a reason to come back, and they definitely are. If this doesn't show the power of cooperative working I don't know what does!

Database Info
This year we set a rather lofty goal of mapping 40,000 records while we work through the Cape Breton, Central, and Northeast region sites. Next year we'll do the same thing with the Southwest region sites, trying to map another 40,000 records. I'm not gonna lie; I'm not sure if we'll hit this mark. We've garnered a reputation for meeting and exceeding our insane goals. So this is one of those blunt moments. Adding georeferences to 80,000 records in two years will only be accomplished if each museum works towards this goal. I know the dating will be fine since that is going very well (very quickly, and lots of records have already been dated). It's the mapping that I'm worried about. As of today we have 9,151 georeferences in the system. So we have about 31,000 more to go this year, let alone the other 40,000 to do next year. So here's the deal with the mapping. You guys know your collection and where the stuff came from. You know the location of the merchant's store, the carpenter's shop, the subject of the photograph etc etc etc. So while I'm going through and adding as many geotags as possible based on the record itself, you have a lot more knowledge in your heads that needs to get documented in the database.

So here's a slightly revised view of where we stand with our funding deliverables and general statistics. 258 artifacts and 462, giving us new totals of 192,091 records and 73,319 images.
By region,
Southwest: 98,787 artifacts, 32,504 images
Central: 36,598 artifacts, 13,872 images
Northeast: 30,685 artifacts, 17,926 images
Cape Breton: 26,021 artifacts, 9,017 images

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

Your image of the month is an example of what not to do, so I'm not going to tell you where it's from. The reason I've chosen to share this is to talk about natural positioning of the artifact. This particular item is a little statue, a miniature of an actual memorial in Springhill. Now, if you visit Springhill, you won't see the statue lying on the ground, but standing proud and tall. So when the photo was taken, it should have been upright, with the scale tucked around the front left corner of the base. We don't want to the object to look like it fainted or fell over. Detail shots are where you move the orientation to capture whatever detail you need, but for the overall image, natural positioning is key.

That's all for March. Happy Easter to everyone. Whether you're participating in spiritual activities, conducting Easter egg hunts or just enjoying a long weekend, I hope it's a great one.

Friday, March 1, 2013

February 2013 Update

Canada's History Webinar
Sometimes we forget just how cutting-edge CollectiveAccess and NovaMuse are. Last year I was approached to develop a one-hour webinar on online collections. So this week, rather than take a lunch break (who are we kidding, I never take lunch breaks), I shared a bit of information on putting museum collections online. It was an interesting experience since I've never taught a webinar before, but so far the feedback has been positive. If you've never heard of the Canada's History organization, or want to listen to me chatter away about NovaMuse and what we had to discuss and consider in getting the website up and running, you can watch a recording of the webinar here.

CollectiveAccess Update
New Quality Alert Widget
I'm very excited to announce that we've finally installed the quality control filter widget in CollectiveAccess. This is your "to do list" tool so you can see which records were blocked by NovaMuse and why. The widget shows the accession number, object name, reason for being blocked, and then a date. The date refers to when they were first blocked by NovaMuse, but as we've just added this widget all of your records will have February dates at the earliest. You'll also notice that any loans will show up in your list. Consider this your reminder that it's time to reconcile those old loans. If you want to review why this is important, read my blog post on permanent loans.
To access your list of blocked records, when you log in to your database, click Add Widget and then Quality Filter. This will add the list to your dashboard. Click Done to finalize the addition and then you'll be able to browse through the list, see where the issues are, and click on any records you need to fix. If you have trouble adding the widget just let me know and I can help you figure it out.

Database Info
I'm also happy to say that I've already completed the data upgrade work for 4 sites. The order has skipped around a bit based on when we received renewal contracts, but I've been plugging away and making good progress. I've had a few museums ask me what they can do to help us meet our goals this year. I've previously mentioned that I'm working on dating, mapping, and upgrading to Nomenclature 3.0. Now that I've finished this for the first few sites, I have a much better sense of the state of our information. And this has led me back to our game plan. If you haven't found a rhythm for accomplishing database work in your museum, having a methodical plan can keep things progressing, no matter how limited time and resources are for database work. If you want to refresh your memory on the game plan, it's always available on our website. There are 3 steps - transferring all paper-based info into the system, enriching the info through an inventory and research, and finally tackling all those outstanding loans.
I am also building up some tips and reminders on database/documentation standards, and will publish those here once I get enough to fill a post. So stay tuned for some blunt reminders.

And how much did we add to the databases this month? 581 records and 686 images were added this month, giving us new totals of 191,833 records and 72,857 images.
By region:
Southwest: 98,721 artifacts, 32,404 images
Central: 36,433 artifacts, 13,654 images
Northeast: 30,658 artifacts, 17,782 images
Cape Breton: 26,021 artifacts, 9,017 images

Congratulations goes to Cape Breton for adding the most records and images this month!

Antigonish Heritage Museum
Your image of the month is a great and artistic detail shot of bagpipes. I love this image. You can see all the details of the turned wood, and the colour is so obviously true. As much as we love those crisp and clear overall images of the object, taking the time to capture one or two detail shots can really enhance the record. They can also serve as condition reports - a snapshot of the state of preservation that you can use as you monitor the collection for signs of deterioration.

I think that's about it for now. Only a couple more weeks until daylight savings and then the next week will be Spring. Hard to believe.