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EUROPEANA-TECH  February 2019

EUROPEANA-TECH February 2019

Subject:

Re: Looking for examples of connecting objects across collections/institutions

From:

Martin Wynne <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Martin Wynne <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 4 Feb 2019 13:34:50 +0000

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Dear james, 
 
CLAROS (http://www.clarosnet.org/XDB/ASP/clarosHome/) does some of these  
things in a rather sophisticated way, allowing various types of search  
across collections in a number of museums and galleries. 
 
Best, 
Martin 
 
On 01/02/2019 12:12, James Morley wrote: 
> Hi all 
> 
> I am currently working on a project for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew  
> (most commonly known as Kew Gardens) called The Mobile Museum, looking  
> at ways that the Kew collections of ethnographic artifacts and plant  
> raw materials were distributed across the world from around 1870  
> onwards. These went to other museums, research institutions,  
> commercial companies and, mainly within the UK, schools. 
> 
> We're trying, both manually and digitally, to trace these and connect  
> up records. The manual part is being handled by curators and has seen  
> them visit institutions in the UK but also Australia and the US. For  
> my part I am looking at the digital side and starting to explore ways  
> that we can make or at least predict / narrow down those potential  
> connections. This might involve being sent datasets, or accessing them  
> directly (in the few cases where they have APIs) or through services  
> like Europeana and Trove. 
> 
> More details below, but my question is whether anyone has seen any  
> similar projects comparing datasets and trying to link objects between  
> collections? 
> 
> To show the sorts of things I'm exploring 
> - we have our own collection of things that were kept (often what was  
> sent would have been duplicates/spares) and this includes metadata of  
> scientific and common names, descriptions, sometimes origins and  
> collectors etc 
> - we have an 'Exit Book' which has records of what was sent, including  
> where to and when, which also has details of scientific and common  
> plant names; these have been transcribed and enriched with broadly  
> standardised metadata including dates, plant names, recipient  
> institutions, and geography 
> - in some cases we are in touch with recipient organisations (like the  
> British Museum) and they have provided simple csv record extracts of  
> objects known to have been received from Kew. That's fine for selected  
> major institutions, but there are about 1,000 distinct recipients and  
> 40,000 objects so that's not going to scale, plus it relies on high  
> quality historic record keeping and metadata to even find the data 
> 
> Here's an example: 
> In 1866 Kew sent some material to the British Museum, and within this  
> was an Iban skirt from Sarawak (indeed before this there are Kew  
> archival records that show it was sent to Kew by James Brooke, the  
> first Rajah of Sarawak).  That item was then actually passed on to the  
> Pitt Rivers. We have accession data (transcribed but not yet publicly  
> available) that states “5 pieces of native cloth from Borneo” were  
> received at Kew from Brooke on 24 June 1856, plus details of the  
> geographic origin etc.  Through painstaking manual research these have  
> been connected to an item in the Pitt Rivers (available online, but  
> they don't appear to have permalinks to object records) which includes  
> mentions of Sarawak, Iban, and part of the text description reads "The  
> width suggests that it might be a skirt length" plus includes the date  
> 24 June 1854 (which is itself only a partial match as at some point it  
> appears to have been mis-transcribed!). Not a huge amount to go on,  
> but it feels like there could be enough tantalising details to start  
> making connections. 
> 
> I know it's a long shot but if anyone has any ideas and examples of  
> comparing very variable datasets and predicting matches based on  
> metadata and/or textual descriptions (or even visual comparisons, but  
> that's an even longer shot practically and technically!) then I'd love  
> to hear of them. 
> 
> Thanks, 
> 
> James 
> 
> PS if anyone is interested in this field then we have a conference  
> "Collections in Circulation" happening at Kew 9-10 May (a wonderful  
> time to visit the gardens!) - see  
> https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/collections-in-circulation-international-conference-registration-53049015032 
> 
> --- 
> James Morley 
> Projects: www.catchingtherain.com <http://www.catchingtherain.com> 
> Twitter: @jamesinealing <https://twitter.com/jamesinealing> /  
> @PhotosOfThePast <https://twitter.com/photosofthepast> 
> ===== This is the mailing list of the EuropeanaTech community -  
> http://pro.europeana.eu/europeana-tech You can unsubscribe at  
> http://list.ecompass.nl/listserv/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=EUROPEANA-TECH&A=1  
 
--  
Electronic Enlightenment & Oxford Text Archive, 
Bodleian Libraries, 
University of Oxford 
Tel: +44 1865 283813 
[log in to unmask] 
 
************************************************************ 
Please recommend Electronic Enlightenment to your librarian. 
Register for a 30-day trial with Oxford University Press 
http://www.e-enlightenment.com/ 
************************************************************ 
 
 
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