Victorian Collections Day 2018

Victorian Collections Day 2018 was held at the State Library of Victoria last week where over 100 Victorian Collections users came together for a full day of presentations and workshops aimed at developing the skills and knowledge of Victoria’s small museums and collecting organisations.

Victorian Collections is a free collections management system for Victoria’s cultural organisations and a tool for students, researchers and curious minds. Locally Eltham District Historical Society and Greensborough Historical Society use VC as a catalogue to their collection and a repository for digitised items.

The day featured a number of presentations and workshops which inspired and entertained and were also relevant to public libraries. The following is a brief outline of some of the topics presented.

Power to Great Partnerships
Indra Kurzeme, Head, Audience engagement, SLV spoke about partnerships. Partnerships allow us to connect with expertise and audiences we may not normally have access to. There are three kinds of partnerships:
Transactional: an exchange and sharing of resources, such as space
Tailored: Retain ownership of your program, product or exhibition but make modifications to cater for partners’ requirements or audiences
Collaborative: Start from scratch, deep partnerships that creates something that has not been done before
Work with partners with shared values or content such as talent or budget that you don’t have. They may be non-profit organisations, universities etc. Consider your geographic proximity to closely located cultural organisations (which SLV does), non-profit organisations, schools and more. But consider what your point of difference is. What makes you unique in the partnership?
Indra went on to present case studies with the SLV’s work with RRR Community Radio, creating an exhibition for their 40th anniversary and taking custody of their (well organised) collection – all as a result of a car hitting a fire hydrant outside the RRR studio one night causing the building they occupy to flood.
At the same time SLV were talking to Melbourne Music Week.  A partnership developed there where SLV became a venue for hosting musical performances in non-traditional venues. They were able to provide a space that had been closed to the public for 15 years. They also developed their own programming raising the profile of their music collection. In turn MMW also had a relationship with RRR which also reinforced the partnership.

Continue to have the conversation even if you are not in a position to partner at first. Partnerships test your abilities, offer more and reach further. 

There’s Gold in their Grants: Writing tips for first time grant writers

Rachael Cottle from the El Dorado Museum Association spoke about her experience in a successful grant application through the Local History Grants Program. Her tips included
• Find the right grant for your project
• Read the guidelines carefully – is this grant suitable for your project?
• Study the grant and the funding organisation – how will your project meet their objectives?
• Who is going to manage your project?
• Demonstrate your credibility
• Build partnerships, get support, include the community
• Balance your budget. Don’t forget in-­kind support and labour
• Get quotes and letters of support early; ask for help
• Write it, proof read it, get someone else to read it, proof read it again!
• Time! Give yourself plenty of time to write, get quotes, proofread, refine your work
• If unsuccessful in grant application, contact grant provider for feedback

Concurrent workshops were offered to attendees and I attended the all too short:

GLAM Guide to Editing Wikipedia

The essence of Wikipedia is their core content policies which is to provide (write) in a neutral point of view (not too sympathetic, not too hostile – proportional coverage with content driven by established facts, not opinion), content must be verified, back it up with reliable sources, cite, cite, cite and no original research. Other things to consider include copyright, manual of style, image use and more

Thinking about Publics: Social media & searching

Cultural Digital platforms create the possibility to connect to distant places and audiences. A range of people will search for one thing but in different ways. A hand grenade catalogued from an RSL sub-branch collection recently was also described and tagged as bomb and explosive and weapon so that a wide range of people can find it. You need to understand your collection but also be aware of how other people may use it and look for it. Collections items are a gateway to the stories in the community. Take Home message: Keywords (or in library speak subject headings) are really important!

To learn more about what happened at Victorian Collections Day 2018 search #VCDay18 on Twitter

Liz Pidgeon Local and Family History Librarian

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