A compilation of the MuseumNext international event on digital collections

Do you want to publish a heritage collection online? Let’s find out what’s going on around the world. In this post, we share the learnings from MuseumNext’s 2021 international event “Digital Collections Summit“, along with a series of inspiring examples.

Changing your practice in response to changing conditions” (Alwyn Collinson, University of Oxford)

Guide + Case studies

1. Digital thinking

Given its immense potential to create new experiences, you must conceive the online content as a starting point rather than the end of a closed-loop Think of digital as a core activity of the museum, creating a dialogue between various sections of your institution. Altogether, it will enhance the physical experience of visitors.

2. Experimentation

There’s no need to choose between being a research tool or a space for discovery delight. In line with all the possibilities of online publishing, you can combine various experiences for the different publics. “The more ways that you can experiment the collection, the better: I really encourage you to enjoy the beauty of experimenting” (Jenna Bain, State Library of NSW).

Radio MoLi

Museum of Literature Ireland

In this case study, the line between curating a museum and producing digital content is blurred. Since 2019, the Museum of Literature Ireland has been in charge of programming its own digital radio station called Radio MoLi. Through readings and interviews, they document and archive the work of contemporary Irish writers. “We are active curators, these documents wouldn’t exist if we wouldn’t have the will to collaborate” (Benedict Schlepper-Connolly, Museum of Literature Ireland). In essence, they are producing an ever-growing digital heritage collection.

3. Giving agency to users

How do you create truly meaningful experiences with your collections when you are dealing with huge amounts of data and files? As mentioned in past articles, it is vital to keep the user in mind when presenting digital collections. Below you will find three ideas based on practical examples.

'My Gallery'

Finnish National Gallery

Enabling access to the creation of your own collection from the museum’s files. In doing so, the user can select the artworks and share their personal gallery through social media. Dive into it and discover our selection of Coeli’s clouds.

The Lens

Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Connect the physical visit with a virtual post-visit through The Lens, a take-home device that lets you collect the artworks of the exhibition and curates them into a unique online space for users where they can delve deeper into each object.

Biblioteca, gestió de col·leccions

American Museum of Natural History

Have fun with various display modes to present your heritage. For instance, Collectionscope is an open-source tool that allows you to explore collections through time and space from various types of immersive modes.

4. Develop in stages

During the conference, the speakers put an emphasis on developing projects in various stages. Segmentation makes it possible to comprehend in detail all the steps. Consequently, this is also useful in case the path needs to be redone.

5. Listen to data

Finally, data collection and evaluation are strategically key elements. How to track user behaviour? What are the most searched terms? Once examined, you will be able to determine new goals and actions based on previous performance.

DCD Labs Development Diary

Dance Collection Danse

Learning is a process. One of the most interesting aspects of the DCD Discover project, which aims to become a dance-focused archive repository, is its developers’ diary. Specifically, these open diaries are a compilation of the ongoing improvements of the project. That is to say, what happens behind the scenes is published online meaning that other professionals can learn from that as well.

Your collection to the next level

In the cloud, for the cloud. Giving wings to your heritage collection with an interoperable tool designed for an interconnected world. We are Spectrum Partners (Collection Trust) and our software is based on international standards from the GLAM sector. Coeli, the combination of flexibility and technological expertise.