[0:07:21] Lisa Cardy and Ceri Humphries started us off with a presentation on Digitally Unlocking Nature’s Archive (DUNA), a project undertaken in partnership with Zooniverse, “the world’s largest and most powerful platform for people-powered research.” Crowdsourcing, citizen science and online volunteer projects are now established methods of generating and/or enhancing research outputs. Studies indicate that machine-readable transcriptions of handwritten historical documents can be generated both efficiently and economically via well-planned and managed crowdsourcing projects. The Natural History Museum’s Library and Archives are home to a rich and significant collection of unique manuscripts and hand-annotated original drawings. These handwritten collections contain a wealth of scientific, historical and social research data and information that until now has remained digitally inaccessible. Digitally Unlocking Nature’s Archive has been developed to harness the power and interest of ‘the crowd’ to help make collections digitally discoverable, accessible and open to all.
[0:26:04] Audience questions.
[0:33:16] Rebecca Bailey, of Historic Environment Scotland, presented on Towards a National Collection. At the centre of this £18.9m research development programme is the aim to increase engagement with the cultural heritage collections of the UK. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the programme is working to link collections and encourage cross-searching of multiple collection types, to enable research and enhance public engagement. The presentation outlined the different ways that citizens can participate in the research and influence the development of a future national collections research infrastructure.
[0:58:00] Audience questions.
[1:09:26] Round table discussion between all three speakers.
Note: Unfortunately, due to a family emergency, Dr. Tomás Mac Conmara, who was slated to present on the process of oral history collection and the preservation of recorded memory, was not able to join us as planned, but I would encourage you to check out his work all the same.
Interim Head of Library and Archives at Natural History Museum, London
Digital Special Collections Librarian at Natural History Museum, London
Programme Director at owards a National Collection
Rebecca M Bailey is currently Programme Director of the £19m research funding programme Towards a National Collection. She is assigned to the programme full time for five years (2020-25) by Historic Environment Scotland, where she has worked since 2004. Her most recent role was Head of Exhibitions and Outreach. In addition to coordinating research funding and a PhD programme, she initiated a series of touring exhibitions in museums and historic properties throughout Scotland, as well as curating two substantial exhibitions in Nanjing Museum in China. She was Principal Investigator of the related international research project ‘Producing/Consuming Romantic Scotland’. She is currently President of the International Confederation of Architectural Museums, and an Advisory Council member of the International Council of Museums.
Tomás Mac Conmara
Manager at Cork Folklore Projec
Tomás Mac Conmara is an award-winning oral historian and author from County Clare in the west of Ireland. In 2016, he was commended by President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, as one of seven recipients who have made outstanding contributions to culture over the last 100 years for a Comhaltas Centenary Award. He began documenting oral tradition and folklore as a teenager and is now recognised as one of the leading oral historians in Ireland. From 2008 to 2014, he led the foundation and development of Cuimhneamh an Chláir (Memories of Clare) and was also a founding member of the Oral History Network of Ireland. In January 2016 was appointed by UCC as Manager of the Cork Folklore Project. He also runs Mac Conmara Heritage Consulting which has national clients like the Irish Defence Forces, Waterways Ireland, Dublin Port and multiple local authorities. He published his 20-year collection work; The Time of the Tans in 2019, based on his over 400 personal recordings focused on the Irish War of Independence. In 2021, he will publish The Scariff Martyrs, War, Murder and Memory in East Clare.
Group director for UK & USA at Archivoz
Library Technician 3/Oregon State University