4. Share

Providing digital access via open data platforms and enhancing your organisation’s profile with social media.

Providing digital access

Collecting organisations are providing digital access to their collections in two main ways:

  • organisational website – these include both photographic and object-based collections. Some organisations also allow users to request and/or purchase a copy of photographs via their website.
  • collection sharing platforms where organisations upload their information, or the site ‘harvests’ their ‘open data’ (openly-shared information) via the internet. Popular platforms in Australia include:

There are collection sharing platforms all over the world, such as Culture Grid and Europeana, which has over 3000 cultural institutions from across Europe contributing items from their collections to the site. The Digital Public Library of America has over 14 million items that are easily discoverable online. Private collectors are also sharing their collections through platforms such as The Collecting Bug.

Some collection management systems, such as Victorian Collections, work as both a collections management system and as a sharing platform. Sharing on social media can also be an effective way to engage interest in your organisation and its collection.

Open data and Trove

Open data is defined by The Open Data Handbook as data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone – subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and sharealike.

Open data allows systems to talk to each other, to become ‘interoperable’, and this interoperability means that different sets of data can be joined together to create new services and products. An example of this is the history of Bathurst High School on Trove, created from digitised historic newspapers and photographs in the collections of the National Library, State Library NSW and Royal Australian Historical Society.

Getting your collections on Trove

Trove uses a variety of methods to obtain data from contributors, including harvesting rich metadata directly from websites, the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), Harvest Control List, RSS feed, Sitemap, and custom APIs (application programming interfaces).

For detailed information see the Trove technical guide and the case study Easy as ABC – a triumph of re-usable metadata.

Using the Trove API

The Trove API provides data in a machine-readable form, enabling users to create new applications, tools and interfaces. The API allows developers to search across the records for books, images, maps, video, archives, music, sound, journal articles, newspaper articles (full text) and lists and to retrieve the associated metadata.

With the API, it is possible to:

  • display results from Trove on another website
  • harvest Trove records to include in another database, or for offline analysis
  • retrieve tags or comments added to records
  • create new tools and visualisations

See the Building with Trove API overview for more information on steps to getting started.

Other ways of making your collections accessible online

There are many ways of making your collections available online using free services available on the internet. One example is the photo sharing site Flickr. Images added to Trove: Australia in Pictures on Flickr flow through to Trove itself. The images must meet certain criteria in order to be added (listed under ‘Group Rules’ at the bottom of the Flickr page).

Social media

In this age of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, our visitors are keen for a range of ways to visit us and our collections, and they are also keen to share their views and ideas about our collections. A post about an item in the collection can gain great interest and encourage people to visit the organisation. These posts tend to be fun and offer viewers the opportunity to engage with your organisation

If you have photographs with unidentified people in them, consider using social media to allow the community to help you with identification. ‘Crowdsourcing’ helps an organisation to build a more complete picture of their collections and history of their communities. Social media posts often generate great interest with people identifying who might be in images, but also sharing their stories of events from history that happened in the community.

Guides to getting started

Getting started with Twitter
Getting started with Facebook
Getting started on Instagram
Using social media to promote your digital collections