New Architectures for Online Collections and Digitization

Shyam Oberoi, Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Canada, Kristen Arnold, Dallas Museum of Art, USA

Published paper: New architectures for online collections and digitization

In 2013, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) received a generous grant to reinvent its approach to online collections. While many museums provide online access to their collections and many digitization projects are currently underway, the DMA sought to unify the content-production processes of object digitization with the publishing and aggregation of collections content to the Web.

In this paper, the authors will propose a new digital framework for online collections that integrates digitization workflows, internal content-harvesting strategies from multiple internal repositories, and the creation of in-house crowdsourcing tools for rapid image and metadata management. By integrating process analytics with the framework from the beginning, the tools facilitate the ability to monitor workflows and allow staff to explore the collection as a whole. In the future, this approach will allow the public to explore the collection as a whole and not simply as a series of pages.

By leveraging a schemaless underlying data architecture, the framework facilitates the integration of metadata and media assets, as well as the modeling of aggregated external content. This approach allows for a flexibility in data modeling that promises to scale to large numbers of items, but also to other forms of data and object models that are currently unknown.

The authors will document a rapid digitization approach that uses the digital collection framework as a key tool in object selection, verification, and enhancement. The process includes a collaborative selection and review with curatorial, collections management, and digital imaging staff.