Unstoppable new working group

We’re certainly not lacking any excitement these days at RLG – as if the recent news weren’t enough, today at around 10:30 am our nook of Mountain View had a complete power outage. Since the darkness inside contrasted rather unfavorably with the brilliant sunshine outside, I decided to take a walk through our backyard marsh with a co-worker. It turned out to be a productive walk in many ways, one of which was that we stumbled upon a rather disconcerted crew of trench-diggers, who had just hit our power line.

However, despite dismal early forecasts that we wouldn’t have any electricity for the rest of the day, the lights were on when I got back from an early lunch, and I continued with the task which had been so rudely interrupted in the morning – sending out call info and an agenda to the new RLG Collection Sharing Working Group participants. It certainly seems like the time for sharing museum collection images more broadly has finally come, at least judging by the interest in this particular group. At this point, I have 10 institutions participating in what I’ve come to think of as a peer-supported effort to implement CDWA Lite XML and OAI harvesting in a museum setting. I’m curious to see what kind of work-plan we’ll shape during our first call. I expect that there will be a cluster of issues around legacy data & data content; around exporting data from collection management systems into XML; around setting up and running OAI servers; and of course around the policy issues underpinning the wide disseminate of digital images.

I’ve been personally involved and invested in sharing museum collection widely since my days at the UC Berkeley Art Museum working on MOAC, when I built a database which exported item-level Encoded Archival Description (EAD) and Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) for inclusion into the Online Archive of California (OAC), and eventually also RLG Cultural Materials. (By the way, the database is just in the process of being completely re-developed.) I see this new working group very much as a continuation of an ongoing effort to bring the riches of museums into the classroom, and I’m excited to have an amazing group of peers to explore a new approach with!