One website for Victoria’s collections: Georgia Melville

Victoria will lead the way in taking responsibility for making its state’s collections available on one website. With the support of Museum Victoria and the State Government, the Victorian branch of Museums Australia is designing and building a website that allows galleries, libraries, historical societies, archives and museums to upload their own collections to the site. It will function in a similar way to Collectish but will be only available to publicly accessible collections. Georgia Melville is project managing Victorian Collections and offers some insights into the development phase of the initiative.

Victorian Collections is a free and easy to use online cataloguing system being developed by Museum Victoria’s team, and project managed by us at Museums Australia (Victoria). Once developed, the aim of the system is to assist community museums and galleries, keeping places and historical societies, sporting, church, military and other community groups in the state of Victoria to record their local heritage and culture, and ensure their collections are well-documented for the future. Victorian Collections is especially aimed at groups wanting to take that initial step from manual to digital cataloguing and all records will be password protected and securely and permanently stored online. This is possible thanks to funding received from the Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development and in-kind support by Museum Victoria and DELL.

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The MA (Vic) Victorian Collections Team – Laura Miles, Peta Knott and Georgia Melville. Image courtesy of Jon Augier / Museum Victoria

Each participating group will most probably have a publicly accessible organisation page comprising contact, location and collection details. We then plan to link this page to any catalogue records that the group wishes to make public. Website visitors should also be able to search the online catalogue by organisation or across the entire Victorian Collections catalogue by region, keyword or theme. Publicly available catalogue records may also include functions to tag and comment on items to encourage dialogue between the public and collection organisations. We also hope to include a forum space for organisations to discuss their collections and seek advice about cataloguing methods.

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The MV ICT Victorian Collections Team – Frank Radocaj, Tim Hart and Forbes Hawkins. Image courtesy of Jon Augier / Museum Victoria

Tim Hart, Forbes Hawkins and Frank Radocaj from Museum Victoria’s Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Department are currently developing the software component of Victorian Collections, which will be available to community museums and other collecting organisations by mid 2011. Meanwhile, Peta Knott and I from Museums Australia (Victoria), under the guidance of Laura Miles, our Executive Director, are providing training and advice on different aspects of cataloguing to interested organisations in preparation for the online system.

Further information about the project is available which over the coming months will be regularly updated with ongoing project developments and cataloguing advice. Please feel free to contact Peta or I at anytime on (03) 8341 7344 or info@victoriancollections.net.au

Georgia Melville

9 Responses to “One website for Victoria’s collections: Georgia Melville”

  1. David Milne Says:

    This is a wonderfuly inspiring initiative Georgia which we will follow closely and would do well to emulate up here in Queensland.

  2. Liz Pidgeon - Local and Family History Librarian Says:

    Have you been in discussions with Royal Historical Society of Victoria? I had cause for concern recently for collections when reading the RHSV Information Technology and Historical Societies Survey 2010 – http://alturl.com/o92mj
    I wonder how all this will work with unskilled volunteers managing many local collections in Victoria. The RHSV already has the Victorian Local History database http://210.15.209.254/victorian.htm
    where local history groups have contributed records of their collections. I will be watching the project with great interest.

  3. Lucie Paterson Says:

    What a great initiative, it will be a fantastic resource for the region and visitors to the region. I’m very involved with the NZMuseums website http://www.nzmuseums.co.nz/ which we (National Services Te Paerangi, Te Papahttp://www.tepapa.govt.nz/NationalServices/Pages/NationalServices.aspx) launched in 2008. The site has gone from strength to strength over the last 2 years, we now have over 70 organisations with their collections on the website and around 400 profiles. We used eHive a Vernon Systems Ltd product to build NZMuseums on. eHive is an online CMS for small museums/galleries and community groups. We have a Community on eHive and 400 museums and galleries in NZ have their own profile with general information, information about their collections and events via EventFinder.co.nz. We are really pleased with how it has worked and the next step for us is starting to phase in Google Maps, first just on museum profiles and integrate with Digital New Zealand. I am happy to offer any information about preparing the sector and offer my experiences to the project group.

  4. Georgia Melville Says:

    Hi Liz,

    Thanks for your post. Apologies that this post is a little long but it’s important to respond to your very pertinent questions.

    We have been fortunate enough to work on this project in consultation with the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, who have been a tremendous help throughout the project. Because historical societies are generally well advanced with their cataloguing, the RHSV has offered us a wealth of knowledge. Vicki Court’s survey on Information and Technology and Historical Societies in particular helped with internet access and computer usage issues.

    A general comment on community collecting in Victoria is that perhaps many are not cataloguing due to lack of resources. Victorian Collections is being developed to service this sector in particular – it is a response to a real gap that Museums Australia (Victoria) has identified over the years of working with small local collecting groups. We really hope this system will provide a solution to these types of groups that have internet access and are keen to catalogue. Victorian Collections will use only one worksheet with minimal fields. This is not suitable for all groups who want a more tailored system, but it may be a stepping stone to commercial systems.
    We encourage our colleagues in historical societies to continue to use the systems that work for them and as a further step to upload their image and manuscript records to the Victorian Local History Database. The VLHD has almost 40,000 records and is a fantastic online collection of resources for both historical societies and the broader public. Victorian Collections will provide a similar product for all types of collecting organisation in Victoria without this kind of system already in place.

  5. Georgia Melville Says:

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the comment, feel free to contact us at anytime to talk further about this.

  6. Archives Outside » August 2010: Link roundup post Says:

    [...] One website for Victoria’s collections [...]

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  8. Shirely Tauber Says:

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  9. Sandra Carpenter Says:

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