Digitising an art collection

Thank you to all the participants who attended our digisiting an art collection workshop at the University of Essex on Wednesday. It was a great day and we have had some brilliant feedback so far. A huge thank you to our external speakers – Matt Terrington, former ESCALA website project manager and now in the Digital Media Department at the National Gallery, and Oliver Rickard, a director at System Simulation.

For those who couldn’t attend the day, here is a quick recap of what we talked about in the workshop. Joanne Harwood, director of ESCALA, gave a brief introduction to the Collection, a tour of our stores, and some background to our first AHRC funded project, UECLAAOnline, through which we which digitised our Collection and created an online catalogue. Next was Sarah Demelo, ESCALA’s collections assistant, who looked at the practical elements including what visual materials to digitize, and how and navigating copyright.

Matt and Olly led the afternoon sessions, giving a more detail on collections management and web systems, while offering a broader perspective on the range of digital tools out there for art historians, archivists and artists Olly presented on MuseumIndex+, developed by System Simulation, and its use as a concise and effective way to digitally catalogue objects. The students then had the chance to see the digitisation of an object from creating a digital image (of Graciela Iturbide’s photograph of Frida Kahlo’s prosthetic leg), inputting the information into MuseumIndex+, uploading and viewing it on a website.

Going Digital photo 1
Photographing the Iturbide for digitisation

In the last session of the day, Matt looked at the different roles in museums for digital scholars such as editors, collection information managers, and digital media. Matt also showed us some great examples of digital publishing from museums like the Art Institute of Chicago (which only works with Chrome and Safari) while looking at other online collections.

We’re putting the finishing touches on a ‘how-to’ guide which we will upload onto the resource section of the blog soon. Until then, feel free to get in touch via @EssexCollection or our website

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