We kicked off March with a Google Hangout for CollectiveAccess in Canada. As I mentioned in the November 2018 update, this is a new discussion group that was launched for governments and provincial museum associations that are delivering database services like our Advisory Service, and using CollectiveAccess. It is also a chance for other provinces and territories to ask questions and learn from the rest of us. It was great to have some new people and provinces join in for this non-meeting. We're also sharing lots of info, resources and ideas in a Google Group.
The other notable meeting this month was with our new lawyer Peter. He's going to help with our Loan Reconciliation Toolkit. More on that later, but you know you have a good lawyer when he gets excited about "a unique, interesting problem that will yield really fascinating research".
Museum Evaluation Program
There was a last minute flurry of activity before the blackout date deadline, but everything has worked out and the site evaluation schedule has been set and circulated, along with the evaluation teams. If you're being evaluated and haven't yet confirmed your date, please do so asap. Two Q&A messages were circulated this month, and 8 museums are now actively submitting files for Documentation Review - more than a month ahead of the deadline!
The MEPWG accreditation sub-group is actively discussing the accreditation application process, so there is also lots of work happening behind the scenes in preparation for the evolution of the MEP.
Huge thanks to Cady and Linda for testing out the new features we've developed through our MAP grant. We will be rolling these changes out next week. One of the changes we are excited about is the addition of a help menu, where you can access links to resources (database manual, YouTube tutorial etc), get answers to some frequently asked questions, and also see how to contact ANSM support. We are hoping that this will be a good supplement to in-house training of new staff, volunteers, and summer students, and will be a good reminder for those who don't work in the system often.
We also have a really cool error alert system that walks you through problems and how to fix them.
So if you find yourself with a few minutes to spare and want to do some cleanup work, this is going to be your new best friend. You can just browse for problems, click on the "show editor alerts" button, and the system will walk you through the rest.
We'll be doing up new YouTube tutorials and updating the database manual with these new features and more.
There are now 297,960 artifacts documents with 181,942 associated images, which means that 193 new records and 2,529 new images have been added to CollectiveAccess this month. The Southwest Region added the most images this month and the Central Region was in close second. Good job!
A special mention goes out to the Annapolis Valley Macdonald Museum who added 1,302 new images in the last month!
Here's what the numbers look like at the regional level:
Southwest - 133,407 artifacts, 69,287 images
Central - 100,686 artifacts, 52,947 images
Northeast - 33,641 artifacts, 43,682 images
Cape Breton - 30,226 artifacts, 16,026 images
Old Loans - As we've been mentioning, it's time to address old loans in museums. While it might feel easy to just ignore the issue, the sooner you face it, the higher the probability of an easy reconciliation process. The longer you ignore it, the higher the risk for the museum. We have done an analysis of CollectiveAccess records so we can see some of the loans in museums, and we are in the process of revamping our Loan Reconciliation Toolkit. As mentioned above, we are now working with a lawyer to ensure that abandoned property and privacy laws are incorporated into the guidelines, and where there are legal grey areas we will ensure that best practices and due diligence are clearly laid out. While this legal work takes place, the best thing you (museums) can do is to get your lender lists ready. And if you're part of the Advisory Service, we can do this for you. It takes a bit of time, but we will extract all of the loan records along with the lender's contact info. Then when the toolkit is complete we will roll your lists into the toolkit so you have a customized plan for addressing old loans in your museum. Remember these loans aren't part of your collection. You don't own this stuff. If they are not being tracked and regularly reviewed with the lender, they are a serious liability.
Now that Nomenclature.info is live, we strongly recommend that you bookmark the site and use it instead of your old Nomenclature book. Our newest YouTube tutorial shows you how to use the website when filling out a record in CollectiveAccess. Be sure to check it out!
Stories on NovaMuse
Have you used the Galleries feature on NovaMuse? It's the perfect opportunity to share stories in your collections with your online audience. Advisory Service members can use the contributor galleries to do this. Not a member? No problem! Create a user account and have fun piecing together stories from museums across Nova Scotia.
We have created a NovaMuse Stories Guide, which you can download from our website. It provides step-by-step instructions and examples to make sharing stories an easy process! Looking for more inspiration? Check out what other museums and users have been sharing in their galleries on NovaMuse.
Have you been following our new blog series? We have been having a lot of fun sharing good ideas, programs and projects from museums across the province. And we'd like to share more, so if your museum is doing something cool, let us know! Check out our latest post for textile storage tips from The Army Museum. More to come, stay tuned!
Students are wrapping up their site reports as this class assignment nears its end. Deb and I will be having a debrief call to discuss how things went and how we can improve on them for next year. We have a few ideas on how to tweak things and make them more fun and interesting for the students, and hopefully more helpful to the museums.
Every Thursday leading up to the summer months, we will feature throwbacks on our Facebook and Twitter! Recently, we have been highlighting work done by our past interns. In our latest post, you can see Hope assisting with digitization efforts at the Queens County Museum.
Photo Kit - Our photo kit is currently available. If you're interested in borrowing it for 3 weeks, please contact Sandi.