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Discovering physical objects: Meeting researchers’ needs

Discovering physical objects
TitleDiscovering physical objects: Meeting researchers’ needs
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsResearch Information Network
Publisher Research Information Network
Keywordscollections, information discovery, retrieval, search

The Research Information Network report Discovering objects:
Meeting researchers’ needs investigates how researchers discover
and gain access to physical objects and artefacts using four varied
subject disciplines as examples of the process: archaeology, art
history, earth sciences, and social and economic history.

Many museums face increasing difficulties in providing the
levels of support for research and scholarship that some of them
did in the past. But the report shows that there is great scope for
developing collaboration between museums, galleries and the
research community, which would bring benefits to both.

The report finds that researchers want access to online finding
aids to enable them to plan their visits to museums and
collections, so that they can both see and handle the objects, and
that contact with curatorial staff is of critical importance. The
evidence gathered shows that most researchers are unaware of the
online catalogues that currently exist or are being developed and
feel that that there is a lack of consistency and transparency in
the arrangements that museums make for researchers’ direct access
to objects. However, their most important wish is that online
access to museum databases to be provided as quickly as possible,
even if the records are imperfect or incomplete

Citation Key10412