image: JennyWebbIn this article Jenny Webb, winner of the Young Collections Professional of the Year 2014, gives us a brief insight into her career and offers some advice for aspiring collections professionals.

Monday, 07 July 2014 07:45

Should heritage digitisation be regulated?

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Collections Trust CEO Nick Poole considers the question of whether publicly-funded Digitisation should be regulated to ensure quality and long-term preservation of digital cultural heritage.

Last week, I had the opportunity to Chair a Working Group tasked with reviewing the excellent work of our good friends and colleagues at DEN - the Dutch agency responsible for advising professionals and policymakers on the Digital Agenda. On the group were a number of colleagues from different domains, each carefully selected for their knowledge and expertise.

image: EuropeanaStratOn 3 July 2014, Harry Verwayen, Deputy Director at Europeana announced the publication of the Europeana Strategy 2020  which sets out a new vision for how we can all help transform the world with culture through the Europeana community. Below is a transcript of his announcement.

image: Queen Alexandra Memorial, Marlborough Gate, LondonThe European Commission funded Partage Plus project, managed by the Collections Trust,  has now reached a successful conclusion after running for two years. The Partage Plus consortium comprised 25 different partner institutions, all of which shared the common aim to digitise Art Nouveau collections and make them accessible through Europeana.

The following is a joint statement issued by the Collections Trust and Axiell ALM, the UK archive, library and museum division of Axiell AB.

Axiell acquired Adlib Information Systems and Selago (producers of Mimsy) in 2013. These acquisitions build on existing relationships between the companies and represents an extension of Axiell’s ambition to develop globally competitive software solutions for museums, galleries, libraries and archives.

Monday, 05 May 2014 00:00

Collections Link is changing!

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Over the next 2 months, you are likely to notice some big changes in the Collections Link website. We are currently implementing a comprehensive upgrade and redesign of the website, bringing together the Collections Trust's own corporate site and Collections Link into a single coherent platform. Our aim is to be able to improve the service and experience we offer, making it simpler than ever for you to access our standards, best practice guidance and editorial content through a simplified platform. We really value the time you spend using the site, so we wanted to let you know what is happening and why, and also to ask you to send us your ideas for future improvements. 

Sunday, 27 April 2014 00:00

Closing the gap between Heritage and Research

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Collections Trust CEO Nick Poole explores the gap between HE/FE research and the practical needs of the heritage profession and how to find ways of reconciling the two.

Research into the management, preservation and digitisation of cultural heritage is big business in the UK. Evidence suggests that as many as 40 HE/FE institutions in the UK are currently supporting academic research in the field, The new Vision and Strategy of the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) quotes a figure of more than £700m that has been made available for arts & humanities research since 2005 (not all of which is directed to heritage-related projects, obviously!), which has generated more than 16,400 'research outputs' over the same period.

Thursday, 24 April 2014 00:00

#socialobjects & #museummascots

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image: Oisin the deerCollections Trust CEO Nick Poole explores the emerging trend for museums giving their collections a voice via social media. We are proud to present our top 20 list of the best #museummascots and #socialobjects from museums around the world.

In her post for the Marketing Land blog, journalist Courtney Seiter writes:

"Creating a strong, consistent voice is the key to building a real relationship with your audience. Whether you’re B2C or B2B, people ultimately buy from people — more specifically, people we like and relate to.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 00:00

Going Digital Part 3: Digital systems

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Building on the two previous posts in the 'Going Digital' series, Digital People and Digital Strategies, we look at how museums are developing IT systems and networks to address the changing needs of the organisation and its audiences.

Now that your museum has identified its digital people and created your shiny new Digital Strategy, it is time to think about the IT systems - both software and hardware - that you need to have in place to support your colleagues. Unless you are very fortunate and are building a new IT infrastructure from scratch, it is likely that your digital development will involve the gradual development and improvement of a legacy setup. So how do you plan for the long term, while enabling your museum to be agile and creative with content and technology?

Sunday, 13 April 2014 00:00

Going Digital Part 2: Digital Strategy

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In this second post in the 'Going Digital' series, we look at the role of Digital Strategies and how digital can be embedded into forward planning as part of the overall development of the museum. 

In our first 'Going Digital' post 'Going Digital Part 1: Digital People', we looked at the different skills, attitudes and personalities involved in using and developing technology in museums. People work best when they have a common sense of purpose or mission, a clear programme of work and a definition of success, value or impact that they can work towards. This is particularly true of 'digital' work, which touches on many different roles and skillsets across the museum.

This text is a transcript of the keynote address given by Collections Trust CEO Nick Poole at the UK Archival Discovery Forum (#UKAD) on the 27th March 2014 at the National Archives, Kew.

Friday, 21 March 2014 00:00

One Collection to Unite them All

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Collections Trust CEO Nick Poole explores the case for a Distributed National Collection in England, building on the established work in Wales and new developments in Scotland and Northern Ireland, alongside the potential to tap into a bigger public and political agenda relating to equality of opportunity and education.

Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00

Going Digital Part 1: Digital People

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This is a the first in a new series of blog posts about 'Going Digital' - the Collections Trust's programme to support museums in making the most of technology. In this first post we look at the question, 'Who does 'digital' in a museum?'. 

At the heart of every organisation is its people. People bring skills, attitudes, knowledge and enthusiasm to their work, without which museums couldn't achieve any of the things they do. So it seems right to begin our exploration of 'Going Digital' in museums by thinking about the people involved - who, exactly, does 'digital' in a museum? What skills does the museum need to have access to in order to make the most of the opportunities of technology, while avoiding the risks?

Tuesday, 25 February 2014 00:00

10 lessons for #museumfunding from HS2

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altCollections Trust CEO Nick Poole explores what the UK museums sector can learn from the successful campaign for High Speed Rail in the UK when advocating for new Government investment.

Everyone working in museums will be aware that the clock is ticking for us to put together a coherent political strategy in time for the Party Conferences in September and October 2014. Against a backdrop of spending cuts in Local Authorities, our sector desperately needs coherent, structured investment both to secure what we have and to keep doing the job we've committed to doing - which is to collect, protect, interpret and provide access to our shared heritage for the benefit of the public.

So what does a coherent strategy look like? What do we need to put in place by September this year to make it politically palatable, even attractive, to reinvest in the UK's museums? This was the question I posed in my last post on #museumfunding, "We don't need a debate, what we need is a plan", and I was prompted to return to it by today's 'No Boundaries' conference, organised by the Arts Council. 

altThis article is a transcript of the keynote address given by Collections Trust CEO Nick Poole to the IMLS WebWise 2014 conference in Baltimore. The title is 'Make it personal - designing services that people will love', and the conference theme is 'Anchoring Communities'.

So I’d like to start today by taking you on a little trip. To a place called New Brighton. It’s a township outside Port Elizabeth in South Africa, with a population of around 40,000 people, an unemployment rate of 80% and around 30% of the population currently HIV positive. And right in the middle of this township the people, with the support of the South African Government, have created a museum, called the Red Location Museum.

The museum is located in the Red Location shack settlement, New Brighton's oldest neighbourhood, scene of one of the first public acts of defiance against apartheid when, in 1952, black railway workers refused to show their 'passes' to enter railway property.

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 00:00

Happy, Safe, Connected and Free

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The Treaty of Versailles - one of the documents that ended the First World WarCollections Trust CEO Nick Poole reflects on the #futureofculture event at the British Library and looks at the need to make the case for supporting the arts and culture by appealing to higher ideals!

Happy. Safe. Connected. Free. There I was, at the Executive Board meeting of the Europeana Foundation in the Hague, staring at these words looking back at me on a post-it note, wondering whether to scrumple it up or stick it to the wall. 

The occasion was a special meeting to look at what impect we expect that Europeana will have had by 2020. Impact is a tricky thing to define - as soon as you try and pin it down, it slips away in a cloud of 'it depends' and 'impact for whom?' We were working in groups, facilitated by the excellent Business Models Inc, a suitably bright and energetic pair of thinkers who specialise in helping organisations understand and adapt their business model to a changing world.

Monday, 30 December 2013 00:00

SPECTRUM in Brasil

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Ivo Mesquita (Diretor Técnico da Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo) meets Mr Nicholas Poole (Chief Executive of the Collections Trust) to sign the License to translate and localise the SPECTRUM standard in BrazilThis article is a translation of an original article which appeared in Portuguese on the blog of the SPECTRUM Portugal community. For the original version, see

In the blog Part 1 | There’s a pot of gold to find you read about the importance and benefits of opening up collections in digital ways. But, before you even start to try to find your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, openness and access have to be at the forefront of your mind and we’ll explore what speakers at Open Culture 2013 said about this here. Mia Ridge, crowdsourcing professional and Chair of Museums Computer Group, hit the nail on the head when introducing the session Digital Transformation; projects using digital platforms to engage audiences with collections on day one of the conference. Ridge explained that a museum could only be participatory if it means it and thinks about engagement INSIDE and OUTSIDE the museum walls. Some museums may use digital technologies to do things faster, but for participatory projects to ‘mean it’ museums have to be inspired by digital technologies to do entirely new things to engage audiences with collections. In a nutshell, we were asked to think about sharing and opening up access to collections by not broadcasting at people, but listening to them and working in collaboration instead. (Mia has written a great blog sharing 6 tips for a successful participatory crowdsourcing project. Read it here). The Imperial War Museum (IWM), The Natural History Museum (NHM), The Smithsonian Institution and Helen Weinstein and Pat Hadley all shared advice on how to go about participatory rather than top-down projects, which some organisations may not be used to or are just trying to get a handle on.

Collections Trust CEO Nick Poole was recently invited to host a series of 'chefs table' discussions at the DISH2013 conference in Rotterdam on the subject of 'Building Bridges - developing partnerships with the Creative Industries'. The following article summarises 3 separate discussions about this theme, involving museums, archives, libraries and Creative Industry partners.

Why work with the Creative Industries? And what is a Creative Industry anyway?The publication of the European Commission's Horizon 2020 funding programme has highlighted the tremendous potential for collaboration between arts and cultural heritage organisation and their counterparts in the Creative Industries. So this year's DISH conference in Rotterdam provided an excellent opportunity to address some of these questions and take a look at the ingredients of a successful Creative Industry collaboration. 

Wednesday, 27 November 2013 12:28

We Don't Need a Debate. What We Need is a Plan.

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Nick Poole, CT CEO, responds to questions raised at the 2013 MA Conference

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