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Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

Untapped Resources: Making the Case for a Simple Digital Archiving Project


In 2010 Seattle Art Museum began the creation of a small digital catalogue of its historic archival photography holdings. This project was necessitated by the inability to quickly locate specific images of historic significance. Additionally, a need was identified for a more user-friendly interface to the existing search mechanism. This project was initiated and supervised by the rights and reproductions administrator within the registrars and museum services department and conducted by a team of museum volunteers.

In order to leverage the organization’s existing technology and minimize expenses, Microsoft’s SharePoint System was chosen to facilitate the project. Up until the point of this archiving project, the software had not been used within the organization as a LL-DAMS (low-level digital asset management system). Now, one year later, the photo archiving project boasts over 1200 records that feature a glimpse into the museum’s past through images of former and current staff, trustees, celebrities, architectural renderings, and building photos. Next steps include incorporating gallery images, special event images, and researching the potential to offer the search mechanism to the public.

The presentation will focus on the following topics:

  • Explanation of the original archiving challenge

  • Brief overview of SharePoint technology

  • Challenges encountered during the course of the project

  • The current state of the search mechanism

  • Future opportunities


Paper - in formal session


lowellb's picture
I am currently the rights and reproductions administrator at Seattle Art Museum. I am very interested in how technology can help us in our day-to-day lives, both inside and outside the office. I have been working in museums since the early 1990s in various capacities and departments including...
injeneral's picture
Working in two cultural institutions and finding my way to inner peace! Up next, moving across the country to begin preparing for graduate studies in Library and Information Science. On the path to new adventures I have found my way to archives and digital libraries. I have a particular interest...