Digitising collections 


Where can I find information about digitising a collection?

Digitisation is becoming more and more important for museums, galleries, and collectors. Although it can be a time consuming process, there are many benefits to creating digital records. Museum staff and the public can usually access digital copies of important objects more easily than they can the objects themselves. This increases the access and appreciation of collections, while also protecting objects from too much handling and motion, which can better preserve them for years to come.

When starting a project to digitise your collection, develop a plan first. Don’t feel like you have to digitise every object. Digital copies require ongoing management and updating as technologies evolve and storage mediums change, so select the more important items in your collection and start with them.

For information on how to digitise your collection the following links can help:

Digitising your collection

Digitisation workshops

Dot Dalziell, Freelance Collections Digitisation Consultant, presented a workshop on digitisation of collections. Download his notes below:

Dot Dalziell: Digitisation Workshop notes - Taonga mō ngā rā e heke mai nei (PPT, 73.5kB)

Michael's 'An introduction to digital imaging for museums and galleries' workshop presentation is in four parts:

Part 1: Getting started, Archiving, Image integrity and File types (PDF, 742kB)

Part 2: Aperture, Shutter speed, ISO, White balance, Histograms and Exposure (PDF, 2.72MB)

Part 3: Post-production, Tripods, Autofocus, Photographing behind glass (PDF, 3.15MB)

Part 4: Portraits, Composition, Installations and Quick guide (PDF, 1.82MB)

Collection Management Systems

How do I decide on the most appropriate Collection Management System to use?

A well thought-out and organised collection is very important to a museum’s well-being and the right collections management system will help with this. Having records that are accurately and thoroughly documented can help you get the most out of your collection. A great resource is Museums Australia's Small Museums Cataloguing Manual. To get started read:

Deciding on Digital Tools for Collection Management - He Rauemi Resource Guide (PDF, 550kB)

Get in touch with other museums and galleries in your local area to see what sort of systems they are using. It is important to use something that can get good IT support. By using the same system as others in you area you can have local support discussions and shared learning projects.

The following are some options of collections management systems:

Other helpful Collection Management System resources:

Make your collections available online

The 2010 Museums Aotearoa conference was held in New Plymouth 14-16 April. As part of the Professional Development Day on the 14 April Te Papa facilitated a session called Collections online. The session explored case studies from five different sized museums and art galleries and other tools that can be used to get your collections online.

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