The Museum Metadata Exchange (MME) project is a joint project of the Council of Australasian Museum Directors (CAMD) and Museums Australia which has been set up with support from the Australian National Data Service (ANDS).
The MME is an aggregator service for the contributing museums and organisations. It provides data in a standard format (RIF-CS) and transports this data to the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC). This same XML feed can also be downloaded by others interested in the data.
The MME contains collection level descriptions. Collection level descriptions take a different approach to documenting collections. Instead of focussing at the object or item level, it moves up a notch to ‘collection level’. This has the benefit of providing an overview, a meaning and a scope that can be hard to ‘see’ at object level – especially if you were, say, looking for which museums had shoes made in the 1950s and worn in Australia. The other benefit of collection level descriptions is that the objects grouped in this way don’t necessarily need to be online or digitised (yet) in order to be discovered.
The project is funded by ANDS to ensure that collection level descriptions are added to the Research Data Commons to be used and explored by academic researchers. The research community, through the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) researchers, will be involved in the evaluation of the initial collections and search terms and this review will inform future developments and collections contributed to the MME. This will ensure that, for the first time, many museum collections of particular interest HASS researchers will be readily discoverable through the ARDC.