UK museums get the web: it’s snowball time!

Eight UK museums have got together to set up a website to put their collections online and get members of the public to contribute their own photos and information, and use the data to compile their own albums of data.  It’s called Creative Spaces. At the moment it’s in beta.

Andie at Egyptology News tells us it’s a project of…

… The Royal Armouries, The V&A, The Imperial War Museum, British Museum, Tate, National Portrait Gallery, Natural History Museum, Sir John Soane’s Museum and The Wallace Collection.

The site allows you to search all the collections at once, tag and store items in notebooks and groups, and upload your own images, videos and notes to share creative inspiration with others – effectively creating your own collection from some of the world’s greatest museum collections.

This is a nonprofit, public sector project, and it’s the first time that national museums have collaborated in this way.

This is precisely the sort of thing to do: make the stuff accessible.

Everyone will gain, no-one loses. These tax-funded collections become more accessible to the world.  They get more visitors, as people realise what they hold and want to get a better photo or examine the original.  Thus the collection users start to add value.  Other sites start to link to the data. The wins just go on and on, like a snowball gathering weight and momentum as it rolls downhill.  Brilliant!

I see that you can order higher-resolution photos of V&A stuff.  I looked at this medal of Constantine, and couldn’t make out the lettering, which was a bit disappointing.  I then tried “papyri” which led me to this page from a 7th century Coptic codex of a life of Shenouda.  Only one side, tho.  But this is clearly a very good idea.

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