Digitising an art collection – an introduction

Hello! In advance of next week’s session on digitising an art collection, we wanted to let you know what we have planned for the day and get you thinking about what role online collections play in research. Alongside Joanne and myself discussing ESCALA’s ongoing digitisation project, we have two external speakers coming along to present sessions on the subject area: Matt Terrington, who project managed our recent website re-launch, and Oliver Rickard, from the company System Simulation who are the designers of MuseumIndex+ and other collections management software for museums, archives, and libraries.  One topic we will discuss is the idea of digital scholars, the many roles for them in the cultural sector, and some of the skills required.

We have read your brief bios and put together a programme, which we feel best covers your research interests, such as the practical element of digitising collections and how this applies to your areas of study.  The programme is as follows:

9.30-10.00 Arrival with tea and coffee
10.00 – 10.45 Welcome, outline for the day and visit to the ESCALA storage areas
10.45 – 11.15 Session 1: Joanne Harwood – Digitising ESCALA I – background and reasons
11.15 – 11.30 Morning break
11.30 – 12.30 Session 2: Sarah Demelo – Digitising ESCALA II – practical elements
12.30 – 1.30 Lunch
1.30 – 2.30 Session 3: Oliver Rickard – Index+ – wider uses/features of
2.30 – 2.40 Short break
2.40- 3.40 Session 4: Matt Terrington – Digital art collections – wider uses/features of
3.40 – 4.00 Afternoon break
4.00 – 4.30 Final discussion and questions

In one session we will discuss how we use online collections, so we would like you look at them, be it museums, archives, or image libraries, and examine how you, as a researcher, use these resources, what you type of information you require from them, and why put them online in the first place. In addition, we would like you to think critically about what works and what doesn’t work in online collections. Here are a few online collections to start you off:

Essex Collection of Art from Latin America – http://www.escala.org.uk
Tate – http://www.tate.org.uk/art
Europeana – http://www.europeana.eu/
The J. Paul Getty Museum – http://www.getty.edu/art/

If you could compile a few examples of online collections with a list of reasons why you think they work well or what they could do better and bring them on the day then we will discuss them in the afternoon session.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us escala@essex.ac.uk or tweet us @EssexCollection.

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

Sarah and Joanne

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