Breaking through museum walls
Digitising museum collections. Source: Museums + Heritage Advisor.
Adrian Murphy, Digitising Collections – breaking through the museum walls and opening up collections to the world, Museums + Heritage Advisor, 3 March 2016
The advent of the internet has brought with it a fantastic opportunity for museums to document and photograph their collections and allow them to be seen beyond the museum and in people’s homes and offices around the world and also on mobile devices on the move.
With new technologies constantly being developed to capture collections, store them and interpret them online in innovative, user-friendly ways, museums are embracing the potential this offers. The number of items in museum collections is quite often staggering and digitisation projects can often take years to roll out the infrastructure alone – the itemising and populating then becomes an ongoing process.
As these millions of objects and manuscripts are being brought online and integrated into museum websites so digital managers are envisaging how they can be organised and interpreted to best serve their audiences. This has seen the British Museum partner with Google Cultural Institute and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums team up with Microsoft Research to create imaginative interfaces.
Here we talk to Mia Ridge digital curator, Western Heritage Collections at the British Library and chair of the Museums Computer Group and present four case studies (below) from museums and libraries that are finding new and more advanced ways to capture, store and provide access to their collections online and in some cases conserving them along the way. We also feature in the news section one of the latest and most comprehensive recent digitisation projects, Art UK, which has brought 200,000 of the nation’s oil paintings online. As well as this we have a blog featuring a review of The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities’ first lecture in a new series What Does it Mean to be Human in the Digital Age?