Introduction to digitisation of collections

Digitisation of collections
Liz Selby and Helena Liszka
Jewish Museum London
AEJM 2011
Why digitise?
• Bring your collections
out of the dark
• Preventative
• Bring your collections to
new audiences
• People expect digital
content to be available
and will do so
increasingly in the
• Use your content in
creative and innovative
ways – either online or
in collaboration with
others. Don’t get left
Ways to use your digital content
Online databases
Online exhibitions
Apps for smart phones and ipads
Virtual tours
Digitisation at the Jewish Museum London
Over 15,000 items (of 28,000 in the collection)
are currently digitised and searchable online: and
Collections digitised through grant funded
projects such as:
• DCF/DDF (1999 onwards) – Judaica
• Moving Here (New Opportunities fund,
c.2004) - Social history collections
• Judaica Europeana (2010-11) – Prints,
posters, documents and oral histories
Ultimate aim: digitise and upload entire
collection– but dependant on receiving grants
Europe’s digital libraries, archives and museums online
• Common point of access to millions of digital objects housed
in Europe’s museums, libraries and archives
Multilingual search engine
Type of content includes documents, manuscripts, periodicals,
audio recordings, pictures, photographs, posters and
• 1500 institutions contributing access to their collections
• Access to 20 million objects online by 2013
Judaica Europeana: Jewish content
• Brings together content under the EUROPEANA theme
of cities, demonstrating specifically the Jewish
contribution to Europe’s cities
• Makes digital content in Europe more accessible, usable
and exploitable by digitising available collections
• Identifying Jewish content in collections that reflect the
activities, creativity and self expression of Jews in
European cities
• Digitising and aggregating this content into a coherent
thematic collection in order to open up access
The network
Judaica Europeana is a network of
leading institutions which
joined forces to promote Jewish
cultural heritage:
• European Association of Jewish
Culture, London
• Judaica Sammlung der
Universitätsbibliothek der Goethe
Universität, Frankfurt am Main
• Alliance Israélite Universelle, Paris
• Amitié, Centre for Research and
Innovation, Bologna
• British Library, London
• Hungarian Jewish Archives,
• Jewish Historical Institute,
• Jewish Museum of Greece,
• Jewish Museum London
• Ministry of Cultural Heritage and
Activity (MiBAC), Rome
Associate Partners
Ben Uri Gallery – The London
Jewish Museum of Art
Biblioteca Rosenthaliana,
Center for Jewish History, New
Jewish Historical Museum,
Jewish Museum Berlin
Jewish Museum, Frankfurt/Main
National Library of Israel,
Paris Yiddish Center—Medem
Sephardi Museum, Toledo
Central Zionist Archives,
Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid
Salomon Ludwig Steinheim
Institute, Duisberg Museum,
Our contribution to Judaica
Digitising images, texts and oral
history interviews
Producing two online exhibitions:
Yiddish Theatre in London and
Jewish Britain: A history in
Working with schools and
Travelling trunk brought by a German refugee
family to England in May 1939, The Jewish
Museum London
JML collections on Europeana
Digital resources for Jewish history
European Holocaust Archives Project
Digital Yiddish Library:
Sponsored by Stephen Spielberg
Digital Dead Sea Scrolls
Reconstructing past climate change
through crowd sourcing
Apps – Museum of London street view
Hold your mobile up to a street scene and see the same location in an archive
photograph from the Museum of London collection
Google art project
Digitising our collections
Practical considerations
• Who will fund your project?
• Do you have space for large 3D
• Do you have the right equipment?
• Do you have staff hours and skills?
• How will you use the digitised resources?
3D object photography
Using the Digistore
with 2D
Using volunteers
• Using still life
photography students
from Farnborough
college at the Jewish
• Using interns at the
British Museum for
the West Africa
digitisation project
Planning, processing, guidelines
Overview of work load
In-house photography or outsourcing
Selecting material
Copyright checking
Sorting material by size and type; creating batch lists
accordingly; deciding location
• Processing and re-sizing
• Uploading to collections management system (Adlib) and
• Guidelines:
Technical considerations
– Need for a digital
• Best possible
• Create jpegs for
online use, sending
by email etc
– Naming the files
– Digital storage
Documenting your collection
• Good documentation standards increase access
to collections
• Creation of a common language for the
semantic Web using controlled terminologies eg.
Creating terms on Adlib using other thesauri as
reference point eg.Getty
• Applying established vocabularies created by
generations of librarians and scholars to the web
Coffee set from Aden, brought by an Adeni
family to the UK
Poster for 'The Daughter of Zion' at St
Luke's Hall in London, 1944
Interview with Minnie Levy about her WW2 service, recorded in
1991 on cassette tape
Please discuss in groups
• What are the advantages of digitising these items?
• How would you approach digitisation for each object?
• Which would be your priority and why?
• What problems might you encounter? (technical, legal
and practical)
• How would you use the digitised record?
Talking points
• How to select what to digitise? What about those
collections not digitised – ignored? Not used?
• Will smaller museums with smaller budgets be
left behind if they can’t digitise their collections?
• Will digital objects take precedence over the real
• How will the increase of historical content online
impact upon academic research?
Related flashcards
Create Flashcards