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harvesting the fitzwilliam

Since 1997 the Fitzwilliam Museum has been working to create, and provide access to, a unified electronic database of object records and images for the collections in the care of its five curatorial departments: antiquities, applied arts; coins and medals; illuminated and music; manuscripts, and rare printed books; paintings, drawings and prints. In 1999, the Museum received funding from Re:source (The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries) for the retrospective accessioning of prints and coins and the creation of complete records for all paintings. By January 2001 nearly 56,000 records were held electronically, although not yet all on a single database. By January 2002, in excess of 60,000 records were held centrally on 'Adlib Museum' - the chosen software system for the Fitzwilliam Museum's unified object catalogue. Many of the 60,000 records have associated images. The Online Public Access Catalogue, which provides web based access to the Adlib catalogue, was made available via the Museum's website in February 2002. During 2001-2002, approximately 20,000 objects were packed for storage in preparation for a major building extension to the Museum during 2002-2003. Many digital photographs of decanted objects were taken during this period. In parallel to the documentation work described, the Museum is developing A Museum for All, an electronic public information resource offering enhanced interpretation of a selection of key objects. This project complements the Documentation and JISC-FAIR projects. It will offer the user additional information, providing context and creating links between a selection of 300 objects over time, by themes, iconography, artists, materials and methods. It will encourage exploration of the collections and offer education and enjoyment both remotely and within the Museum when the project is complete in 2004. The Joint Information Steering Committee's Focus on Access to Information Resources programme offers the opportunity to further enhance access to the Museum's electronic object catalogue. Metadata (information about data generally, and information about objects in the Museum context specifically) for 100,000 Museum objects will be made available for 'harvesting', by the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS), through the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). In addition, two specific databases - Corpus of Early Mediaeval Coins Finds (EMC) and Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles (SCBI) - will be made available for OAI harvesting by the Archaeology Data Service (ADS). The project, in line with the FAIR programmes objectives, will pilot and provide public access to information about selected Fitzwilliam Museum objects. This information will also be available in conjunction with other collections data held or harvested by the AHDS and ADS. Project start date: 2002-08-01. Project end date: 2004-07-31. (Excerpt from this source)

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