GLAM Digital Showcase, February 2020

The GLAM Digital Showcase, which took place on 25 February 2020 at the Museum of Natural History, offered staff from GLAM and the wider University the opportunity to get together to find out about some of the research and activities driving digital innovation across GLAM and the wider sector. The first part of the event included short talks on subjects ranging from digital making at the Ashmolean Museum and Bodleian Libraries to the Botanic Garden's collaboration with Google Arts & Culture. The second part included a range of information stands to browse, including the Museum of Natural History's Collections Online and the Oxford X-Reality Hub.

Event programme

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GLAM and Google Arts & Culture

Samantha Ibbott, Digital Content Officer, Botanic Garden
Google works with cultural institutions around the world to create online platforms for the public to explore collections and discover more about the unique stories behind the institutions and their collections. Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum have begun working with Google Arts & Culture to create a partner page for their UK Gardens project, which will enable users to explore the collections and both venues in new and immersive ways.

Digital Makers

Helen Ward, Deputy Head of Learning, Ashmolean Museum, and Oliver Bridle, Subject Librarian for Biology and Forestry, Bodleian Libraries
Over the past 8 months, staff at the Ashmolean and Bodleian have been collaborating with colleagues at the Makerspace at Oxfordshire County Library and Science Oxford to develop and test digital-making activities with a range of audiences. In this talk, Helen and Ollie shared some of the key findings from the project and discussed the potential of digital making to engage audiences as well as the wider opportunities the project has offered for staff development.

Mapping Playful Spaces in the Museum

Dr Kathryn Eccles, Digital Humanities Research Fellow, Dr Chico Camargo, Postdoctoral Researcher in Data Science, and Yayoi Teramoto Kimura, Research Associate, Oxford Internet Institute
In the last decade, museum visitors have increasingly used social media to post reviews, photos and comments about their experiences to their networks. This project is piloting the use of social media data to enhance our understanding of 'playful' visitor behaviour across Oxford’s Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM). By applying image classification tools and other machine learning algorithms, the project team is looking for the most common themes in pictures posted online by GLAM visitors, aiming to reveal new types of visitor engagement.

Plastic Fantastic: Replicating Historic Musical Instruments

Andrew Hughes, Deputy Head of Conservation, and Jeremy Uden, Head of Conservation, Pitt Rivers Museum
The Pitt Rivers Museum is home to over 9,000 musical instruments, from archaeological bone flutes to electronic keyboards. The Conservation team wanted to find out whether a 3D printed instrument could sound anything like the original as people often ask if the historic and culturally important instruments in the collection can be played. They CT-scanned an ivory recorder from the Bate Collection, printed it using different resins and techniques, and evaluated the printed instruments by comparing their sound with that of the original instrument.

Oxford X-Reality Hub

Richard Smith, Bodleian Libraries; Dr Mattia Montanari, Impact Engineering Laboratory; and Dr Lia Costiner, Department of History of Art
The Oxford X-Reality Hub facilitates and promotes activities that leverage immersive technologies across the University. From VR to AR, this is where people can meet to discuss ideas, present their work, develop projects, gain skills and access powerful capabilities.

Old fossils, new formats

Vanessa Moore, Exhibitions Officer, and Imran Rahman, Deputy Head of Research, Museum of Natural History
For the First Animals exhibition, the Museum of Natural History has collaborated with creative agencies to digitally reconstruct the animals of the ancient oceans. The stand offered people the opportunity to explore the 3D models, try out VR headsets, and experience the Cambrian Diver interactive.

Saving Digital! Preservation of Digital Collections in GLAM

Edith Halvarsson, Policy and Planning Fellow, Bodleian Libraries
It has never been simpler to create new digital content. However, digital also presents unique challenges for longterm preservation - indeed, many of us have experiences from our personal and professional lives of losing important digital files. Find out more about digital preservation, and learn about projects in GLAM which are looking to address these challenges.

Introducing Digital Asset Management at the History of Science

Paul Trafford, Digital Projects Officer, History of Science Museum
The History of Science Museum is rolling out a Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) to replace haphazard network file shares with a fully integrated web-based system built around meaningful metadata. 

Collections Online at the Museum of Natural History

Sarah Joomun, Digital Collections Manager, and Mark Carnall, Collections Manager (Life Collections), Museum of Natural History
Information about and a demo of the new Collections Online site for the Museum of Natural History, which has made its specimen and archive data accessible and searchable together through the same portal for the first time for a global online audience.

Helping Machines Help You: Practical Machine Learning in the Digital Collections

Anjanesh Babu, Systems Architect and Network Manager, GLAM IT, and Dr Jerome Mairat, Curator of the Heberden Coin Room, Ashmolean Museum
Find out how machine learning has been used in the collections for practical digital outcomes, including the Ashmolean Coin Collection, where it is used as a valuable time-saving tool in orientation work.

Digital Makers

Helen Ward, Ashmolean Museum, and Oliver Bridle, Bodleian Libraries
Find out more about this joint project between the Ashmolean and Bodleian, which is piloting digital-making workshops for families and young people, and get hands-on with some of the digital resources they are using.

Plastic Fantastic: Replicating Historic Musical Instruments

Jeremy Uden, Head of Conservation, and Andrew Hughes, Deputy Head of Conservation, Pitt Rivers Museum
Handle 3D-printed replicas of an ivory recorder from the Bate Collection and find out which materials and methods can closely reproduce the sound and feel of the original.

Listen to the talks