packaging University museum collections information as part of open metadata provision
The series of Wrappers Focus Groups culminated at UCL 23rd May.
Positive responses where received regarding the Wrappers approach of ‘guided’ resource discovery of museum collections and open licensing of resource discovery data, with a number of further issues raised for the project to consider in these and other areas.
Very useful feedback was also given for features to include within the prototype discovery services for UK University Museums and the new Culture Grid search, which the project team assessed at a meeting 1st June and will now take forward into the final phase of developments.
Our thanks go to all who took part in the focus groups at University College London and the Universities of Swansea and Cambridge. Full report attached: Wrappers 2 Focus Group Report.
Not a complaint to the Keep Britain Tidy campaign, but a series of focus groups that has seen the project on the road (or rather the rails) to engage with collection managers, academics, researchers and learners re the Wrappers approach and interface developments so far.
And so far so good it seems, with lots of positive responses to the use of collections descriptions to aid resource discovery, especially for potential future join-up with information about research outputs, which is an idea that has come through the ‘sister’ Open Book project. Support for open licensing of resource discovery data and use of terminology services has also been evident.
Two Focus Groups have taken place so far: one at the project’s home-base, The Fitzwilliam, which included people from across University of Cambridge collections and one at The Egypt Centre, University of Swansea, which had a strong contingent from subject specialists in Egyptology and Swansea FC.
The Swansea session gave very good feedback on desired search features and the visit provided lots of inspiration from the wonderful Egypt Centre collection and its staff, who enthusiastically encourage people to explore and engage with the collection in a hands-on way to gain direct insight into Ancient Egyptian culture.
Fuller reports of the findings from these Focus Groups will be available alongside those from the next Focus Group at UCL, 23rd May 2pm. There are still places available for the UCL session, so keen blog readers who wish to attend should get in touch.
The online surveys were successful in reaching a wide range of UK University Museums and a smaller sample of University Museum users, thanks to the support of UMG, UMiS and Subject Specialist Networks, as well as join up with other JISC funded projects, such as OBL4HE & Cutting Edge, (http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/oblhe/ and http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/di_informationandlibraries/resourcediscovery/cuttingedge.aspx )
Similarly the support of UMG allowed the project to consult face to face with a range of University Museum professionals at the UMG conference 2012, which was also enlightening for The Great North Museum’s new displays and the conference insights into impact & evaluation issues for University Museums, esp re the Research Excellence Framework (see more on the conference at: http://www.umg.org.uk/2012/02/10/umgnccpe-event-impact-and-evaluation-learning-together/)
Some of the headline findings from the surveys include: a large volume of collection and item records from University Museums being ripe for resource discovery via the ‘Wrappers’ (contextualised aggregation) approach; with a strong indicator that ‘open’ terms & conditions, or at a minimum ‘attribution’ terms could be applied to these; plus a lot of digitisation still to be done across the sector and recognition of a range of audiences with differing needs to address through user-interfaces.
The latter was also evidenced in the consultation session findings, alongside the need to ideally align initiatives such as the ‘Wrappers’ approach with collections management standards and practices in the future; and to also try to join up with relevant research data when possible.
The findings should be of interest across the University Museum sector and to other areas of the ‘Discovery’ programme.