In an attempt to bring insights gained ‘back home’ on the 8th Dec Museum Victoria (MV) staff held a mini Museums and the Web, Asia (#MWA2015) conference at Melbourne Museum. It ran over the whole day and consisted of MV staff contributions. Personally, I was pleased MV had decided to do this. I volunteered at the main  MWA2015 conference in October and most of the sessions MV were showing, I did not see then.

Wendy Pryor greeted us, introduced us to the concepts of the main MWA2015 conference and informed us why MV decided to host a mini conference (all reasons were quite logical).

Wendy then proceeded to clear the mist surrounding cloud, not sky clouds but that all powerful digital cloud that is steadily gobbling up all the world’s information. She reminded us, it is all well and good to get your information “in the cloud”, but to also be responsible for your data. Make sure you ask,

  1. Where is the physical location of your severs? A countries laws can affect privacy and use.
  2. Can you assure me my data wont get mixed up with someone else’s?
  3. If your company goes belly up, can I easily retrieve my data?

We store our museum collection items and records in separate silos making it harder to develop connections between the two, this was the theme of Mike Jones presentation.  He urged us to break down the silos so that information (and connections) can be easily made. Mike stated that by breaking the silos, museum archives would enrich museum collections through background narrative and giving items a voice. I saw this tweet that perfectly encapsulates Mike’s presentation:

Tweet by Nicole Kearney.

The next presentation I was wanted to see was Nicole Kearney‘s crowd sourcing digital data. My reasons were personal (and probably a little selfish), but I wanted to see how my volunteer hours had been used to benefit the scientific community.

Nicole spoke about finding a single box in MV’s archive with little information on it to identify the contents. She described a journey where she realised the worth of the field journals (found in said unidentifiable box) and the process of getting them digitised, metadata gathered, transcribed and finally uploaded to the Internet Archive and the Biodiversity Heritage Library. I could relate to almost every step of this process, as I had been one of the many volunteers who digitised, metadataed (is that even a word?) and transcribed these field journals. It pleased me to see the names of a few of my fellow volunteers in this presentation and I felt proud of their… our efforts all over again.

Another tweet from Nicole perfectly sums up the result of all this work:

Nicole K

There were more presentations at this mini conference and I think the amount demonstrates the effort MV staff put into making MWA2015 (both main and mini) happen. Once again, I would like to thank the unsung heroes who organised MWA2015, it truly was the best conference I have ever attended!

Related Information:
MV Papers for MWA2015
All Papers from main MWA2015
Reading List from MWA2015 & NDF
Resources and Links from MWA2015
Take Aways about MWA2015 by Museu Nacional D’Art De Catalunya
Blog Post about MWA2015 by Queensland Art Gallery

Image credit: Melbourne Museum Panorama. Photo © fir0002


Till next time!
DFTBA (Don’t Forget to be Awesome)