The Powerhouse Museum in conjunction with the Council of Australasian Museum Directors and Museums Australia are the project partners. The Powerhouse Museum will enter into a contract with the Australian National Data Service.
The primary aim of this project is to establish and populate a Metadata Exchange with Collection Level Descriptions of cultural and historical collections conforming to the RIF-CS schema for delivery into the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC). The project will be funded by ANDS and will run: 1 September 2010 – 31 August 2011. This project aims to greatly improve the discoverability and utility of museum collections for HASS researchers using the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC). The project will establish new infrastructure and promote new practices of benefit to both researchers and the museums, and even more importantly, provides a space to increase research collaborations between them. Take a look at the Logic Investment Map | Museum Metadata Exchange project to get a sense of the opportunity (drivers and objectives), the value (benefits) and the solutions (changes and enablers).
For some time the museum sector has been building closer relationships with the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) research community. HASS researchers use and create a range of evidence gathered from many sources. Many HASS researchers still rely on peer networks and physical access to identify the cultural and historical collections relevant to their research. In the digital research environment, researchers need efficient and effective access to the information that can lead them to the material, data, archival and audio-visual collections held by museums, as well as tools for using that information productively, for repurposing it and for sharing and collaborating with their colleagues using that information.
Museum collections, particularly those of interest to HASS researchers, are highly heterogeneous and are often organised in accordance with the circumstances of their history and/or place of origin rather than to strict classification or disciplinary schema. Descriptions of natural science collections are generally more readily interoperable because of long established and more widely shared standards in terms of classification and vocabularies. The benefit of this project is amply demonstrated by the success of previous museum data collaborations such as OZCAM and the Atlas of Living Australia. Museum collections of interest to HASS researchers will be made more accessible and discoverable through the use of standardised vocabularies and systems thereby promoting easy digital interoperability for researchers and data aggregators.