Project support from A to Z to deal with digital collection data backlog

In the autumn of 2020, the Flanders Department of Culture, Youth and Media is launching its third call for grant applications to deal with the backlog of digital collection registrations – and meemoo is providing extensive support for participating organisations.

Challenge

An evaluation of the previous regulations uncovered great demand for project support within the sector, in both the application and implementation phases. In this third call for applications, the organisation’s registration must be aligned with their overarching digital vision. In doing so, the new and improved digital collection data needs to be used with an emphasis on improving societal values, and the long-term embedding of results is central to this.

Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-S15390 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Our role

Meemoo was already part of the digital collection registration peer group and has now received a request from the Department to help organisations draw up grant applications and carry out approved projects. Our project supervision will run until the end of the funding regulations at the end of 2023.

Approach

In the first phase of this project support, 12 organisations pitched their grant applications to us. They were then able to use our suggestions and feedback to write up and further refine their applications, before 16 institutions submitted dossiers to the Department on 15 October 2020. We closely monitored the writing up process for 15 applications, with each supervised dossier being reviewed by at least three of our colleagues from the expertise team. It was mostly multi-year projects that were submitted.

What do the dossiers cover?

The collections in question range from photographic and audiovisual collections to prints and graphical collections, objects, building plans and furniture collections. The work in the projects revolves around:

  • drawing up, cleaning and enriching technical thesauri;

  • standardising iconographic descriptions;

  • implementing new structural work processes relating to donations, digitisation campaigns and clarifying rights;

  • image and face recognition;

  • reconciling linked open data sources;

  • the use of (Creative Commons) licences and rights statements (Rightsstatements.org).

The collection data will be enriched by exchanging image content using IIIF, deploying this through organisations’ own and overarching channels, making the data accessible via Wikimedia platforms, and providing datasets via open data portals and data hubs owned by municipal and Flanders authorities.

Collaboration and knowledge-sharing in and between projects was an important point of attention in supervising the application phase. We notice that various institutions that submitted applications are also partners within other applications.

Eleven of the organisations were awarded grants by the Minister of Culture at the end of 2020, based on advice from the Department and an independent jury. These projects are being run by Amsab (Institute for Social History), ADVN (Archive for National Movements), Design Museum, Museum Hof van Busleyden, Industriemuseum (Museum of Industry), KMSKA (Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp), M Leuven, MoMu (Fashion Museum of Antwerp), Musea Brugge, Samenwerkingsverband Kunstmusea Antwerpen (Cooperation between the Art Museums of Antwerp, led by Museum Mayer van den Bergh) and VAi (Flanders Architecture Institute). A total of €648,000 was awarded in grants.

>> Read more about the approved projects and grants (only available in Dutch)

Do you have a question?
Contact Astrid Vergauwe
Expertise Officer & Account Manager archives and heritage libraries
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