Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Best archives on the web announced

Archives Next has announced the winners of the 2009 best archives on the web awards. Check it out!

Monday, 20 April 2009

BBC Archive in the news

Guardian article today here about the BBC Archive. They have a very good website and its interesting to read about what they have planned for the project.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Museums & the Web 2009

The 2009 conference Museums and the Web took place in Indianapolis on 15-18 April. This is a great resource for information about some of the best and most innovative projects in the museum world so I would recommend checking out the list of speakers and where applicable their papers here.

Some particularly relevant papers were:

"Time To Stop Doing and Start Thinking: A Framework For Exploiting Web 2.0 Services"

"Museums & Wikis: Two Case Studies" featuring the Science Museum Object Wiki and The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) Wiki.

"Collection Effects: Examining the Actual Use of On-Line Archival Images"

Friday, 17 April 2009

Steve tagger

I struggled a little on this last day of open source goodness for archives. So I've put together a post about the Steve Museum project. Although a museum focused project and an art museum one at that, I think that the tools Steve is developing can and will be equally applicable to any digital image whether it is an artifact, bookplate or document.

"Steve is a collaborative research project exploring the potential for user-generated descriptions of the subjects of works of art to improve access to museum collections and encourage engagement with cultural content." Further information about the project is available here:

The Steve project team has developed a suite of open source tools that enable tagging of museum collections and the review, analysis, and management of tags. And the open source tools (including the Steve tagger, a term review tool, and a reporting tool) themselves are available to download here.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Open source exhibitions

Online exhibitions are a great way of pushing your content out to new audiences but they obviously cost money and take a lot of work so this open source tool called Omeka means that you don't need to spend time or money developing your web publishing software and can get straight to thinking about the content.

Some of the sites using omeka include:

The team behind it wanted to make publishing an exhibition as easy as starting a new blog according to this post.

Update: Just found a reference to these other tools for online exhibitions that might be worth a look at too.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


The V&A have come up with a brilliant way of generating a database of wedding fashion for an exhibition of wedding dresses they are organising in 2011.

They are asking people to submit up to 3 photos showing the fashions at any one wedding (the main image should focus on wedding dress).

I think this is a lovely idea and already seems to be generating a lot of buzz across craft, fashion, wedding blogs at least.
Everyone loves a wedding...

[1961 - Wedding of Marianne Middleton and Brian Bayne]

Archival management - keep calm and carry on?

Managing archive collections is a pretty essential part of running an archive and being an archivist. Software helps do this better and faster and open source alternatives have opened up the options of what has traditionally been a fairly small market.

First the background reading. There was a very good and comprehensive report by CLIR on archival management software published in January 2009. There is also a wiki which emerged as a result of that report which should hopefully be updated with new developments. Both these resources explain much better the whys and hows and criteria so I'm not going to do that. I'll just point and link.
First up is the Archivist's Toolkit which states that its "main goals are to support archival processing and production of access instruments, promote data standardization, promote efficiency, and lower training costs." List of users includes New York University Archives and The Martin Luther King, Jr. Archive.
Next we have Archon (not the directory) but another software which is intended to "automatically publishes archival descriptive information and digital archival objects in a user-friendly website." User example - College of William and Mary
CollectiveAccess is another option and bills itself as " full-featured collections management and online access application for museums, archives and digital collections." User example - Museum of Jewish Heritage

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Open source week

I've been experimenting with open source software in my new job and now that I'm thinking about it I keep coming across exciting examples for the archive community so I'm going to make this week *open source week* ta da!!

See here for a full definition of what makes a software open source according to the open source initiative. Some of the examples I have may actually be classed as freeware or shareware (see here for an explaination of the differences) but the general concept is that software is developed and is free to use to varying degrees. Which makes it a very web 2.0 idea and particularly brilliant for small archives to experiment with.

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