29 September 2014
Each implementation of the ECK is unique, but sharing collection’s information has become easier for all cultural heritage organisations. The National Gallery - Alexander Soutzos Museum (NAG) in Athens tell us how it has been for them.
1. What is the main aim with which you entered the project?
Our museum’s digital policy is the democratization of its content; therefore NAG’s participation in Europeana Inside was a way of offering open access to its collections to the broad international public who visits the EUROPEANA site.
2. Before the project, how could you engage with your public through your collections? How has this changed?
The display of a great part of our permanent collection as well as a series of important temporary exhibitions, supported by conferences, projections and education activities, is a constant part of NAG’s policy, allowing the direct contact with its collections.
An important edition activity, comprising printed exhibition catalogues and numerous art books referring to various artists and movements, bring into light the result of scientific research around the museum’s collections.
NAG’s webpage (www.nationalgallery.gr), in a process of continuous upgrading, is an instrument of information about the museum’s content and activities. Our on-coming participation to the European program “The Digital Museum” is expected to further enrich the museum’s digital presence, enhancing the contact with its national and international publics.
Before Europeana Inside, NAG has participated to other two EUROPEANA projects: ATHENA and DCA (Digitising Contemporary Art), but in neither of both projects we shared collection’s information other than in our website.
3. How has your own collections management system improved and what role does it play in the process of sharing?
Our collection management system has improved in the way that now we have the opportunity to upload records directly to Europeana through the MuseumPlus Connection Kit (MCK) and via the Dark Aggregator. In addition, we can receive enrichments concerning our records and import them to our collection management system. We can also search for records that have been uploaded to Europeana or have been enriched as some new fields have been added to the search function. In order to upload the records to Europeana through the MCK, we have to create object groups in the collections management system and that helps to keep our data well organized.
Sustainability is a big issue for us when participating in a project. During EU Inside the integration of the MuseumPlus CMS with our website was required. In order to implement this requirement a new application has been developed (MP.ITS), tested and deployed. Now our CMS is synchronised with our Internet presence and the provision of content to Europeana and other aggregators (e.g. our National Aggregator) has been set-up. This setting will continue to run after the end of the project and will be administered by our staff. We view this as a significant progress that proves the reorganisational impact of EU Inside in our organisation, besides the obvious value of opening the access to our collections to a larger audience.
With hte ECK component in MuseumPlus we can just choose the object group from MuseumPlus that we want to share and upload it.
4. Your system provides you with a functionality to manage incoming enrichments, how will you use them?
New elements about our artworks: artists, movements or context of creation, could be very useful in terms of scientific research and further enrichment of our database, provided that the museum keep the control of the incoming information.
It would therefore be imperative that this information be stored in some kind of digital repository which would be linked to our CMS without interfering with it.
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