If you publish these case studies we would be 100% interested to hear more. We are working on the private side, connecting data from collection management systems used by collectors. So far, the best solution has been CSV and manual checking, while improving our algorithms over time to check for inconsistencies in the data. Any API's we have tried to build externally created so many duplicate records that we decided to keep it clean.

On Mon, 4 Feb 2019 at 13:45, Martin Wynne <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
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>
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