Friday, June 30, 2017

June 2017 Update

Membership Renewal
Yes it is that time of year. Renewal packages were mailed out a couple weeks ago, and renewals have started to trickle in. Let me know if there are any questions about the information, and thanks for handling this in a timely manner.

Museum Evaluation Program
Hard to believe but it is almost time for site evaluations. Next week we are having our Evaluator Orientation day, and the week after that they hit the road to visit the 28 Nova Scotia Museum sites. In the office we are still busy reviewing Documentation Review submissions and wrapping up final details in the briefing notes. And then it will be time to launch into Site Reports. As you can tell, this is a very intense program to time to rest between tasks or stages.

Given the amount of work required to shift this program into an Accreditation Program, the Steering Committee decided to form a working group to focus on updating the evaluation questions. Don't worry, this isn't a major overhaul. But we do have a list of questions that museums and/or evaluators found awkward last year, and got some great feedback from Candace Matelic on rewording some questions in the community section. So we're going to take a day and look at those and see if we can improve the clarity and user-friendliness.

Site Visits
Digitization training at the
Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum
Sandi has been enjoying life on the road this month and has already seen many museum staff and volunteers. Two digitization hub training sessions have taken place, the first at the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum on June 3rd, and the second at the Yarmouth County Museum & Archives on June 14th. So far 56 people have been trained in artifact photography and scanning, and the photos coming out of these sessions are really fantastic. 163 artifacts got digitized this month, with multiple photos of each one. These will make great additions to the collections databases and to NovaMuse. Very exciting! If you haven't signed up for one of the four remaining digitization training sessions, there is still time. Just get in touch with Sandi and she can fill you in on all the details.

We've heard from a few summer students that they are feeling overwhelmed by their work assignments and steep learning curve - understanding museum standards and a database and's a lot. So make sure you're checking in with your students regularly and providing them with the guidance they need. We are here to help and answer questions, but their first go-to should be their supervisor. As we've been saying a lot lately, use the help text, watch the YouTube tutorials, and read the manual. You can also refer to your Problems browse feature and the Quality Alerts widget to learn more about issues that need to be cleaned up. As a reminder, the Quality Alerts widget will display items on loan so that you can make sure your loan records are current. Permanent loans are an oxymoron and a bad thing for you to have lying around. If you need to reconcile old loans, check out our guide on the subject.
The last thing you want is a student guessing how to document things correctly. Many, many headaches will result.
Also, don't forget to set your access for media files that get attached to the database. Every image, audio or video file needs will remain invisible on NovaMuse unless you set the media to "accessible to public", and it appears that a lot of people have been missing this step. So let's release those images so people can see the artifacts we're telling them about.

In more positive news, we are seeing good progress in tackling those data entry and digitization backlogs now that extra help is here for the summer. 838 new records and 1,743 new images were entered this month, which means we now collectively have 287,256 artifacts documented with 139,551 associated images. Well done everyone!
Here's what the numbers look like at the regional level:
Southwest - 125,281 artifacts, 57,584 images
Central - 99,572 artifacts, 40,925 images
Northeast - 32,974 artifacts, 27,233 images
Cape Breton - 29,429 artifacts, 13,809 images

Congrats to the Southwest region for adding the most records and images this month! Great work!

For your image of the month, let's do something a little patriotic shall we? Here's a beautiful maple leaf patch. For items like this, remember that you can digitize them with and without the scale, using the non-scaled image as your primary image for NovaMuse, and keeping the scale image in your database for quick reference. You can see how a scale would be very distracting in this shot. In terms of 'fixing' this shot, you'll notice a sort of greyish line that runs through from the top left to bottom right. Play with your lighting and camera settings to make sure that your image is evenly lit and doesn't have shadows in any areas.

NovaMuse Redesign
Thank you to everyone who completed a survey about NovaMuse. 45 museum workers filled in the museum contributor survey, and 75 members of the general public completed the visitor survey. This is a fantastic return rate that blew us away. Everyone gave great input and we are using this to enhance the search features and overall design of the site. Early mock-ups look great and we've really just started the process.

After much consternation, I have finally resolved an issue with comments being left on NovaMuse. Basically there was a big clog and notifications weren't coming through properly. Now that this is resolved I am reaching out to museums that have had comments left on their artifact records. If you hear from me about this, please let me know asap if a comment can be made public. Some comments were left quite awhile ago and it would be great to add all this crowd-sourced information to NovaMuse so everyone can enjoy and learn from it.

Advisory Service Training Survey
After compiling the results of the NovaMuse contributor survey, it is clear that more training on CollectiveAccess is something that many members would benefit from. Lack of training was identified as the second biggest obstacle in regards to CollectiveAccess work, only surpassed by a lack of time. Since we circulate an Advisory Service satisfaction survey on an annual basis, we decided that it was time to adapt that into something much more informative that would allow us to address the issues we saw in the NovaMuse surveys. Since this survey is strictly for Advisory Service museum members, the link has been circulated by email. If you are part of the Advisory Service and did not receive the link, let me know and I will get it to you asap.

And speaking of training, here are some dates to save! Firstly is our annual general meeting and symposium on September 22nd. The symposium is going to be a real mixed bag of helpful sessions and info in response to issues we saw in last year's evaluations. Trust me, you won't want to miss this.
Secondly, CCI is coming to Halifax with their Emergency and Disaster Preparedness workshop on November 8 & 9th. We are already getting calls and emails from across the country about this workshop. People are very, very interested in it. We will be opening registration for the workshop in September, so watch the Beacon & our Facebook page for the announcement and be sure to jump on this right away. We don't want Nova Scotian organizations to miss out.

Made in Nova Scotia
We are pretty swamped with other tasks at present, but have continued to make a it of headway in our Made in Nova Scotia database. Kassandra added another 20 shipbuilders this month, and I reconciled 32 furniture makers (most already had profiles so I was just updating records with more details). Sandi has been collecting more resources from museums as she has been travelling. Huge thanks to everyone who has pulled & copied information for her. This is really appreciated and we love how this resource is growing.

SME Work
Kassandra has been busy on the SME front, reviewing military badges with Gary. Next week she meets with Terry to look at agricultural items. As you can imagine, there are a lot of items that fit both these criteria, but we'll see how much we can get through before the end of summer. So far, about 60 artifacts have had a preliminary review.

The public has spoken, and the students have spoken, and if you read the last Beacon, you know we've just drawn to see which museums will host a theatrical presentation of #150Touchstones this fall. Sandi is currently confirming with the selected schools and museums that they do indeed want to host a presentation event, after which we will announce the names & places.

That's all for this month. Happy Canada Day everyone!!