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Digital Collections Summit

Day One: 4th October 2021

All times are in BST (the time in London)

12:00PM (BST)

Connecting, Sharing, Learning: digital outreach with older communities

Find out more about Imperial War Museum’s digital outreach project, which successfully piloted new methods of collection-based engagement with older communities across the UK. Together with our partners, we reached more than 600 people aged 70 and above, both in their own homes and in care settings.

12:30PM (BST)

Visualizing your collections for immersive engagement

How can the scope, scale, and history of collections be understood when only ~3% is typically on display to the public?

Collectionscope is an open source tool that visualizes collections for exploration in immersive 3D digital environments. Using collection metadata, objects are plotted on multiple layouts — timeline, map, and racetrack — that can then be experienced on web and mixed reality platforms. See the Collectionscope engine in action and learn how you can use it to create custom visualizations of your collections.

1:00PM (BST)

The Lens: exposing deeply buried collections to a world of possibility

Go deeper into ACMI’s Lens experience and hear about the eXperience Operating System and how it exposes never seen before collections to a world of possibilities.

1:30PM (BST)

Collecting Ireland's Literary Present

How do we collect work and experiences of contemporary writers? Join Benedict Schlepper-Connolly from the recently established Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI), to hear about the museum’s ambitious plans for digital programming and collecting. Since opening on Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green in 2019, MoLI’s digital team has been busy celebrating, documenting and archiving the work of Ireland’s contemporary writers – most notably through readings, interviews, and collaborative programming for RadioMoLI, a 24/7 digital radio station for Irish literature with a dedicated in-house studio.

2:00PM (BST)

Reimagining Collections: Building digital ecosystems for the modern museum

Join Terentia—and a few of their collaborative museum partners—for a panel discussion on  the challenges and opportunities of creating  and maintaining sustainable, expandable and collaborative digital ecosystems to support and be your organisation’s collections foundation. Dive into the future of collections.

2:30PM (BST)

Break

2:45PM (BST)

Inviting the Public In with Online and Onsite Crowdsourcing

This panel uses the partnership between the Adler Planetarium and the Zooniverse.org platform to discuss the experiences, rewards, and challenges of opening up museum collections via crowdsourcing efforts, bringing crowdsourcing onto the museum floor, and using crowdsourced data to enrich collections. Looking at the Adler collections-based projects Mapping Historic Skies and Tag Along with Adler, as well as the affordances for museum teams provided by the Zooniverse platform, this panel provides real experience and lessons applicable to any museum collection.

3:15PM (BST)

Digital Collections as Urban Placemakers

The University of Melbourne’s Cultural Commons strategy seeks to unlock the breadth of the University’s Cultural Commons in order to reach new and global audiences and inspire scholarship. We will share findings from a global benchmarking study and our steps towards an institutional reimaging of digitisation as a key enabler for engagement and scholarship as well as creating unique placemaking possibilities. As we embed collection items in physical space through projects such as The Digital Bricks, we give visibility to heritage, provide access for community members, and highlight Indigenous knowledge and practice.

3:45PM (BST)

Designing for People, Not Things

Digital archives’ are dominated by ‘analogue thinking’: they reflect the physical embodiment of the institution and/or its organisational culture over and above the needs of the user.

DCD Labs, a collaborative project with Dance Collection Danse turns this around. It puts the user needs at the heart of all it does. DCD Discover is the result. Built by the user for the user.

Follow our journey, from our start identifying the best in class digital projects, to our first steps in developing DCD Discover, what we’ve learnt along the way and discover where we are now.

4:15PM (BST)

Digital Art Collections in The Metaverse: Connecting, Educating, Preserving

How can we meaningfully connect physical audiences to entirely virtual art collections? Join us for a presentation on ARRAY, a permanent digital collection housed in the metaverse. The very first of its kind, this collection engenders a new way of engaging with art created digitally – for the artist, the collector and the viewer – including built-in NFT acquisition opportunities.

Day Two: 5th October 2021

All times are in BST (the time in London)

12:00PM (BST)

Industrial-Scale Discombobulation

What happens when thousands of items of creation and culture flood into a library every day ? How do you prevent yourself from literally locking yourself into a box marked “MISC” and hiding? Here’s what we’re doing, as a warning or an inspiration (your choice).

12:30PM (BST)

Dodging the Datapocalypse: practical digital sustainability

How safe is your collections data? Systems fail, technology becomes obsolete, people retire and records are irretrievably lost. If you’re not careful, your institutional memory and experience will die with that data. Let’s discuss how to preserve your organisation’s data for the future, with examples of how the University of Oxford is trying to embed digital sustainability in everyday practice.

1:00PM (BST)

Computers as cultural heritage

The digital era has brought us a new kind of heritage with unique problems. The amount of computers are increasing in all museum collections. In historical collections computers are quite often seen as just white plastic boxes with few wires. But these objects are way more than that. The software is crucial part of the object and in some cases the users data might be the most important aspect of the object. How should we preserve and present these objects in museum environment?

1:30PM (BST)

To tag or not to tag... that is the question

How do you create truly meaningful user experiences with your collections when you’re dealing with huge amounts of data and files? Learn about how the State Library of NSW, Australia’s oldest library, has created a simple, enjoyable, and surprising digital collections experience with the help of artificial intelligence, crowdsourcing and almost two centuries worth of metadata to provide access to one of the country’s largest and most diverse cultural collections.

2:00PM (BST)

Collections management and inclusive storytelling strategies

Most of the time, the digital collections are considered from a single language perspective with a single descriptive layer. The collection items presented to the general public demand many transformations and rewriting to make them accessible to all audiences during on-site visit sessions or online exploration.

Some questions arise when the collections are displayed to the general public:

  • How to create multilingual descriptions
  • How to manage multilingual audio narratives
  • How to automate the creation of the visual descriptions for collection images
  • How to create multiple storytelling layers for different audiences

In this presentation, Ciprian Melian, Livdeo CEO, will introduce new approaches and solutions to address these concerns in automated ways using AI models available on the GEED Storytelling Platform from Livdeo.

These models allow the production automation of high-quality automatic translations and natural voice generation, automatic images description in plain language with multilingual variants, automatic creation of easy-to-read and understand explanations, and even animated narratives.

During the presentation, Ciprian will demo a step-by-step automated workflow of digital collection processing using the GEED AI Models.

2:30PM (BST)

Break

2:45PM (BST)

Online collections beyond Collections Online

In a time of increasing financial constraint Auckland Museum has a strategy to COPE – Create Once and Publish Everywhere – by pushing our open collection data and imagery across over twenty external online platforms which has resulted in the most recent financial year in a nearly 10,000% increase over the views of our own Collections Online.

Yet while we seek to make our collections as widely accessible as possible, not everything is available to be shared and re-used, and we seek to balance this work via our cultural permissions frameworks to ensure our Taonga Maori and Pasifika data and collections are appropriately handled.

3:15PM (BST)

Powerhouse Museum's Digitisation Project

As one of the largest digitisation projects currently underway in Australia, the Powerhouse Program’s Collection Digitisation project will digitise 338,000 items from our collection and result in new levels of community access to the Museum’s extraordinary collections.

3:45PM (BST)

The Yemeni Museums Digitalization Project

When heritage is lost, it is not only memories that are gone. It is also people that we don’t know and that we will never have the chance to know. The loss of Yemen’s heritage does not call for restitution – except where it is justified. It is not about plunder, despoilment, robbery but instead it is about destitution, destruction, disappearance. The act of documentation – enhanced by the possibilities offered through digitalization – acquires an added significance and urgency due to the acknowledgement it gives to heritage and to the capacity of these places to forge relationality.

4:15PM (BST)

Dreaming of a New Collections Management System

In the midst of a pandemic and the growing necessity for cultural institutions to pivot to a wholly digital audience, a discussion amongst arts and culture professionals was struck on whether a collections management system that did it all could exist. BPOC’s Dreaming of a New Collections Management System webinar series was born from this discussion and expanded the conversation to the current challenges collections professionals face in managing their collections data and collections management systems. This webinar series has been a voyage of discovery that has highlighted the need for collections management systems to evolve to meet the current and future needs of cultural institutions.

Day Three: 6th October 2021

All times are in BST (the time in London)

12:00PM (BST)

Expedition Online: A digital journey through natural history collections

42 million objects in our vast natural history collection and only a few thousand to be admired in our museum. To make the whole collection accessible to our museum audience, we are building Expedition Online. Through a partnership between Naturalis, Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam, Q42 (internet bureau) and Fabrique (design studio), each party’s expertise is used to allow visitors to explore and research objects and stories based on their own interests, but also to give them the opportunity to create their own story.

In this session, we share how we have jointly tackled the technical, accessibility, design and educational challenges.

12:30PM (BST)

Keiga's Deshima: a 3D story of a 2D painting

Within NMVW 3D scans were used in 3D applications, showing almost the entire object, but never telling the whole story. By setting higher standards for scanning new ways of telling our story became possible. We developed a story telling solution including 3D models, AR, video and audio to tell the many story’s enclosed in one of our masterpieces: Keiga’s Bay of Nagasaki. A tool that offers content that can be explored on a visitors phone by scanning the original masterpiece, but can also be used to prepair your visit at home or discover more after your visit.

1:00PM (BST)

Art UK – Bringing together the nation’s art collection on one platform

The presentation will explore the benefits and challenges of bringing together the UK’s national collection of art on one digital platform. Art UK shows art by 50,000 artists, including approaching 10,000 living artists. Over 3,300 UK institutions are represented, making it one of the largest arts partnerships in Britain. Digitising at scale; building relationships with multiple collections; telling compelling stories about art and artists; running an art detective agency; supporting schools learning; providing a shared e-commerce platform for museums; planning digital volunteering and crowdsourcing opportunities; and involving museums in the platform’s governance – are among the topics that will be covered.

1:30PM (BST)

Digital specimens, the future of natural science collections?

Are digital specimens the future of natural science collections? Infrastructure initiatives such as Europe’s Distributed Systems of Scientific Collections (DiSSCo) aim at transforming today’s slow, inefficient and limited practices of working with natural science collections. It will change the need to borrow specimens (plants, animals, fossils or rocks) or physically visit collections by creating digital specimens as surrogates in cyberspace for physical specimens.

2:00PM (BST)

Monetise digital collections as holographic NFT collectible items

How can digital collections be monetised, and bring people closer, at the same time?

In this panel, we will explore the way to monetise digital collection as holographic NFTs. Unlike traditional NFTs, the holographic NFT collectible items come to life as if they are in the viewers’ hands, enabling collectors to exhibit them in a personalised way. We will also explore how digital collections can bring a sense of community to people through shared ownership and how it helps to finance the preservation of physical artefacts through digitisation at the same time.

2:30PM (BST)

Break

2:45PM (BST)

Get the Click – Show the Goods

If museums lure crowds with exhibitions, then digital collections lure crowds with… This became pressing question at kansallisgalleria.fi/en, the Finnish National Gallery’s collection website as soon as we went live in 2019.

Collections house tens of thousands of artworks that the audience seldom sees inside the museum. Online, we can show all of them. However, few will come to see them, unless find that special something – theme, topic – that makes them pop. Then we must deliver on that promise.

We share our experience of and tips for content creation, co-operation possibilities and work-flow design.

3:15PM (BST)

Opening Access: Getty’s Approach to Digital Collection Catalogues

Open-access digital catalogues enhance collections by providing an engaging experience with more depth and narrative connections than typical collections pages. Making them available for free through an open-access license increases accessibility and opens doors for a more global audience. In this presentation, we’ll look at Getty’s digital publishing tool, Quire, and the institution’s open approach to producing online collection catalogues. We’ll tour Getty’s most recent publication, exploring how its various features and capabilities uplift the collection. We’ll also share the ways other museums, universities, and libraries have adapted Quire and how these projects ultimately strengthen and amplify an institution’s mission.

3:45PM (BST)

Preserving the Present: contemporary media in the museum

Keywords: responsive display, collecting contemporary media, ethical collecting, preserving the trace

ACMI’s centrepiece exhibition, The Story of the Moving Image, investigates the potential for media to influence people, shape opinion and censor information, and for the moving image to be a tool of empowerment and social change.

Our ‘Catch of the Day’ responsive display presents a range of curated stories, current media and memes, capturing the zeitgeist of contemporary culture by exhibiting what’s currently viral on the internet. Such curation, inevitably raises a range of ethical questions around display, copyright, collecting, representation and authorship. This presentation will speak to these issues and illuminate the on-going protocols and conversations had at ACMI to ensure a responsive Museum display and archive.