So, three weeks into my role as York Museums Trust’s (YMT) I already feel like things are more complicated – but more exciting – than I’d imagined they could be.
I’ve been learning a great deal about the character at the centre of our test collection: Tempest Anderson. Doctor, gentleman, explorer, volcanologist and the owner of York’s first telephone. Dial 1 for Anderson.
We will be uploading a few low-resolution scans of Anderson’s fantastic photographs in the near future as a teaser before the main release of ~300. These are being specially cleaned and scanned in the next few weeks.
All the while, I’ve been at least as excited about the scope for other elements of the project. I attended a meeting with the curators and am beginning to get a feel for the vast and fascinating collections the Trust cares for. Learning this from the expert curators is a real bonus!
I’ve been excited to learn that there will be a forthcoming partnership with the Google Cultural Institute on the trust’s fantastic studio pottery collections. The images will be uploaded with rich accounts written by curator Helen Walsh that will be great for the public and excellent source material for Wikipedia articles.
The Trust is going to be hugely involved in York and Yorkshire’s reflections on 1914 as the centenary comes around. The buzz generated in the run up to the 1914: When the World Changed Forever exhibition will be a great help in getting local volunteers and Wikimedians to help connect the trusts excellent military history and social history material to the wider world through Wikimedia projects.
More generally, there is a huge number of images already digitised – officially or otherwise – that will be useful for the partnership. For starters, thousands of collections images – objects in the archaeology, fine art, social history, studio pottery, numismatics and more – will be going into an all new online collections system by Christmas. Many of these images will have licenses that also make them suitable for transfer to Wikimedia Commons.
Further, there are hundreds of images already on Commons, Flickr or elsewhere that are (or should) be linked to YMT and can be used to enrich Wikipedia articles on many topics.
We’re also exploring a few ideas which we think might be new to GLAMwiki partnerships: Uploading video and how-to content on handling and other curatorial best-practice to Wikiversity and searching images of decommissioned exhibitions for explanatory diagrams – one of the most useful but least well-covered areas on Wikimedia Commons.
It’s great to be in a position where the ideas seem limitless and we’re almost overwhelmed by the possibilities. Keep an eye on the project page – http://tiny.cc/YMTwiki – for news and updates as the project progresses.