You may want to use this :  but as developed among others in collaboration with the “Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh” you may know about it.
But this works of course if the collections have metadata and are uniquely identified to them apply Linked Open Data and they have other unique IDs to resolve to find them back.

If  not, checking their websites and contact them remains a tedious job indeed.

You may want to check : while this concerns mostly documents

You may also want to contact : and

All the best


Dr. Patricia Mergen
Liaison Officer
Royal Museum for Central Africa
Botanic Garden Meise
Leuvensesteenweg 13
3080 Tervuren - BELGIUM
' +32(0)2 769 5626
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From: Discussion list for Europeana Technical Developments [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Geert Van Pamel
Sent: vendredi 1 février 2019 14:18
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Looking for examples of connecting objects across collections/institutions

James, Maybe use Wikidata, an open database, see, to upload data about “Collections” and “Collections in Circulation”?

-- Geert

Van: Discussion list for Europeana Technical Developments <[log in to unmask]> Namens James Morley
Verzonden: vrijdag 1 februari 2019 13:13
Aan: [log in to unmask]
Onderwerp: Looking for examples of connecting objects across collections/institutions

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.



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

James Morley
Twitter: @jamesinealing<> / @PhotosOfThePast<>
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