3D printing revives skeletal study program at Countway – Harvard Gazette

“Now, staff members at the Medical School’s Countway Library are reviving the initiative with a 21st-century twist. They’re planning to assemble new boxes of replica human bones and skulls rendered through 3D printing in a program they’re calling Beyond the Bone Box….

The library houses an anatomical museum, which is expected to preserve rare anatomical specimens in perpetuity, but as part of the library system, it also has an educational mission. Creating 3D models of rare specimens allows the museum to safeguard the originals while still allowing Countway’s special collections to be used as teaching tools….

“A bone box is mostly about access,” Hall said. “With a collection that has human remains in it … education is critical to your existence. Otherwise this is just a strange horde that you never share, and ethically that’s irresponsible.” …”

Uncovering the global picture of Open GLAM – Open GLAM – Medium

“How many cultural heritage institutions make their digital collections available for free reuse? How do they do this, and where is open access most prevalent? Twelve months ago, Andrea Wallace and I set out to find some answers.

In the first post in a short series, I recount the origins and motivations of the Open GLAM survey….”

Open cultural heritage collections & institutions by digital means: A webinar series

“Open GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives & museums) is an international movement around open cultural heritage data. This webinar series is focusing on how museums and other cultural heritage institutions can open up towards their audiences with the help of digital data and media. The aim is that visitors can use data and become active participants within the institution. Both Swedish and international speakers present their work in the context of digital cultural heritage data. Have a look at the program to discover more!

This series is based on the aspects:

Museum and cultural heritage institution staff members, as well as the interested public (such as students), will have the chance to exchange thoughts on digital openness in the sector and discuss ideas and examples.
An important aspect of the series is the assumption that digital openness in museums and cultural heritage institutions is a perspective: Institutions can strive towards digital openness, but this means constant work – with changing technologies and shifting standards. This also means that every kind of institution can take part in this series, small or large, beginners or advanced participants in the open GLAM discussion. Everyone should be able to talk frankly about successful and failed digital activities – so others can learn from those experiences.
As this is a webinar series, everyone can take part from their desk. Especially small institutions do not always have the resources to participate in conferences and – as a result – important discussions. This is also a possibility for more diverse discussions on digital openness in the sector….”

Open Access 2.0: Rethinking Open Access

“The open access movement has empowered museums to connect with their audiences by providing unprecedented access to digital collections. Now that a number of museums have had an open access policy for the better part of a decade, how have their policies stood the test of time? How have their policies made an impact on their institutions and communities? Have standards of “openness” changed? How can policies be updated to address changes in community practice? What lessons can those still advocating for an initial open access policy at their institution learn from early innovators? Representatives from several museums with open access policies will share how their policies are evolving and lessons learned from their experiences implementing open access, and a representative from Creative Commons will give an update on the work the OpenGLAM community is doing to support open access policies….Key Outcomes: After attending this session, participants from institutions with open access policies will be ready to review their policies for areas that may need updating. Participants who are still lobbying for open access at their museum will come away with strategies for gaining institutional support for open access and crafting a policy that reflects current practice.”

As technology like AI propels us into the future, it can also play an important role in preserving our past – Microsoft on the Issues

“Our new AI for Cultural Heritage program will use artificial intelligence to work with nonprofits, universities and governments around the world to help preserve the languages we speak, the places we live and the artifacts we treasure. It will build on recent work we’ve pursued using various aspect of AI in each of these areas, such as:

  • Work in New York , where we have collaborated with The Metropolitan Museum of Art and MIT to explore ways in which AI can make The Met’s Open Access collection accessible, discoverable and useful to the 3.9 billion internet-connected people worldwide.
  • Work in Paris at the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, where we have partnered with two French companies, HoloForge Interactive and Iconem, to create an entirely new museum experience with mixed reality and AI that paid homage to Mont-Saint-Michel, a French cultural icon off the coast of Normandy.
  • And in southwestern Mexico, where we’re engaged as part of our ongoing efforts to preserve languages around the world to capture and translate Yucatec Maya and Querétaro Otomiusing AI to make them more accessible to people around the world….”

Extending U.S. Biodiversity Collections to Promote Research and Education

“Our national heritage of approximately one billion biodiversity specimens, once digitized, can be linked to emerging digital data sources to form an information-rich network for exploring earth’s biota across taxonomic, temporal and spatial scales. A workshop held 30 October – 1 November 2018 at Oak Spring Garden in Upperville, VA under the leadership of the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) developed a strategy for the next decade to maximize the value of our collections resource for research and education. In their deliberations, participants drew heavily on recent literature as well as surveys, and meetings and workshops held over the past year with the primary stakeholder community of collections professionals, researchers, and educators.

Arising from these deliberations is a vision to focus future biodiversity infrastructure and digital resources on building a network of extended specimen data that encompasses the depth and breadth of biodiversity specimens and data held in U.S. collections institutions. The extended specimen network (ESN) includes the physical voucher specimen curated and housed in a collection and its associated genetic, phenotypic and environmental data (both physical and digital). These core data types, selected because they are key to answering driving research questions, include physical preparations such as tissue samples and their derivative products such as gene sequences or metagenomes, digitized media and annotations, and taxon- or locality-specific data such as occurrence observations, phylogenies and species distributions. Existing voucher specimens will be extended both manually and through new automated methods, and data will be linked through unique identifiers, taxon name and location across collections, across disciplines and to outside sources of data. As we continue our documentation of earth’s biota, new collections will be enhanced from the outset, i.e., accessioned with a full suite of data. We envision the ESN proposed here will be the gold standard for the structured cloud of integrated data associated with all vouchered specimens. These permanent specimen vouchers, in which genotypes and phenotypes link to a particular environment in time and space, comprise an irreplaceable resource for the millennia….”

BCoN Report: Extending U.S. Biodiversity Collections to Promote Research and Education

The Biodiversity Collections Network has released its new report, Extending U.S. Biodiversity Collections to Promote Research and Education.  You are invited to download and share the summary brochure and to review the longer report that provides additional detail about this vision for the future. …”

Report urges massive digitization of museum collections | Science | AAAS

“The United States should launch an effort to create an all-encompassing database of the millions of stuffed, dried, and otherwise preserved plants, animals, and fossils in museums and other collections, a U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)–sponsored white paper released today urges. The report, titled Extending U.S. Biodiversity Collections to Promote Research and Education, also calls for new approaches to cataloging digitized specimens and linking them to a range of other data about each organism and where it was collected. If the plan is carried out, “There will be [a] huge potential impact for the research community to do new types of research,” says NSF biology Program Director Reed Beaman in Alexandria, Virginia.

The effort could take decades and cost as much as half a billion dollars, however, and some researchers are worried the white paper will not win over policymakers. “I just wish that the report focused more on the potential benefits for noncollections communities,” says James Hanken, director of the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

For the past 8 years, NSF has sponsored the $100 million, 10-year Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections program, which has paid for nearly 62 million plant and animal specimens to be digitally photographed from multiple angles for specific research studies. New technology has greatly sped up the process. Already, researchers studying natural history and how species are related are reaping the benefits of easy access to a wealth of information previous locked in museums….”

Images of Works of Art in Museum Collections: The Experience of Open Access: A Study of 11 Museums

“No museum that has made the transition to open access for the images in its collection would return to its previous approach. Although challenges are still being resolved, such as the additional workload and the potential uncertainty about where images of works from their collections have been published, museum staff cited the satisfaction that comes from fulfillment of the museum’s mission as a tremendous positive. Most institutions are experiencing greater internal (and in the case of the Yale museums, university-wide) collaboration than in the past between museum departments and attribute this in part to their move to open access….”