Monday, August 31, 2015

August 2015 Update

Wow. How is it the end of summer already?

Odds and Ends
First and foremost, I hope to see you all at our first ever joint conference for archives, libraries and museums. Read all about it and register online:

Secondly, a tip from Sheryl in Digby. Did you know you can preschedule Facebook posts? As you power down for the winter, this is a great little tool that can make your lives a bit easier. When writing your post, instead of clicking publish, click the little down arrow next to publish and select schedule. From here it's just a matter of picking the date & time you want to share the info.

And finally, for those of you preparing to close for the season, please stay tuned to the Beacon, email updates, etc. It's shaping up to be a very busy fall and we don't want you to miss out on key info.

IMAC Meeting
We ended this month with an IMAC meeting. Your illustrious peers got together to talk about NovaMuse, digitization efforts, conferences, internships, partnerships, and most excitedly, to review a couple applications from museums wanting to join in all this fun. We also talked about committee membership and feel that it is a good time to bring in some new people, so if you are curious about this committee or the Advisory Service in general, check out the policy on our website. If you'd like more info about the committee please let me know. We've got terms of reference and I can answer any other questions about it.

Evaluation Project
Unfortunately we're back in a holding pattern, waiting for news. So I will repeat what I said last month. It's been a long time since we've had to think or talk about evaluations. Even though a new evaluation tool has been developed, you can still learn a lot from your old scores and reports. For now, the best way to prepare for your next evaluation is to review those old documents and talk about what changes you've made since the last evaluation. If you scored low in an area, would you still score low? If you scored high, would you still score high? Don't assume that you will get the same score as last time. A lot has changed in the past 4-6 years. New board members, new staff members, new volunteers, new projects and websites and school kits and programs and buildings....the list of changes is almost endless. So don't hold off on starting these discussions. It's a healthy exercise in general, and a great way to get a jump on things. If you have questions about interpreting your previous scores feel free to give me a call.

Site Visits
I can't say that I'm officially off the road, but I'm pretty darn close with only two sites left. This month was a much better balance of office time and site visits, but not enough to get me through all my site visit homework. According to my infamous "to do book", it is only early July. On the one hand this is great news, because it means there's so much activity in our museum community that I've got all sorts of stuff to follow up on. On the other hand, it means I'm way behind in my work. Sincere apologies to all those who are waiting, and sincere thanks to everyone for your patience. I will be devoting this month to wrapping up site visit homework so you will be hearing from me.
85th Highlanders Badge
Kings County Museum

One of the fun things I'm behind on is First World War-era images. I have a great stockpile from all my travels, and these are slowly making their way online. I encountered a good variety of items, saw the typical/expected military stuff, and just thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see stuff that has been tucked away in storage for many moons. As we discussed at this morning's IMAC meeting, there are so many different kinds of objects in our collections, we could easily pick a different focus each year and it would take a long time to run out of stuff to digitize.

Collections & Database Info
The yo-yo effect is still in play as museums clean up old records. As a gentle reminder, you don't necessarily want to delete something from your system when it has been deaccessioned. You need to be able to quickly and easily answer any questions that come in about your collection - past or present. Having said that, I know that most of the clean up work is getting rid of duplicate or otherwise mistaken entries, which is great to see being done. So while it looks like only 86 new records were added this month, the reality is that our shared resource is more accurate than ever. I can also see that a whole lot of effort went into scanning & photographing collections. 3,341 new images went in this month. I love that number. We have now passed the 100,000 images mark, and not just by a little bit. We flew past it.

So, the regional tally looks like this:
Southwest - 120,581 artifacts, 45,631 images
Central - 42,077 artifacts, 23,418 images
Northeast - 31,172 artifacts, 21,595 images
Cape Breton - 27,371 artifacts, 10,277 images

Congrats to the Southwest region for adding the most records and images this month! The record count was super close, with 3 regions within 30 records of each other.

Your image of the month is a lesson in tags. I quite like this shot looking into the basket. It is a secondary image, showing the colours that haven't faded as much as on the outside, the nice square base, and the handles poking out.  What I don't like is that there is a big, distracting museum tag in the photo. These tags are so easy to remove, and their removal gives such a better image. Consider this to be your reminder. Take off the tag, photograph the item, and then put the tag back on. Also, smooth out those creases in the backdrop fabric. Trust me, you'll be much happier with the photograph if you do. And so will I :)

That's enough for me. Thanks for all the wonderful visits, and we will be talking again very soon.