All Hands On Deck: Recognizing Rapid Digital Growth During COVID-19 and Planning for Future Sustainability

COVID-19 made digital projects–for our museum, mainly Collections Online–a priority, because it was the only way we could share our collection, and our staff could collaboratively work on them during stay-at-home orders. As we look post-pandemic, we recognize that few of our staff have digital work as a named job responsibility. We must examine how to continue advancing digital projects and urge broader recognition of the role of every staff member in digital project success post-pandemic. Track:Business & Sustainability & Capacity Building


Unknown Speaker 06:06
Alright so today's session is all hands on deck, recognizing rapid digital growth during COVID-19 and planning for future sustainability. And today in this campfire session, we are going to start with myself and my colleague, presenting a little bit about what we experienced in our work at the Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University. And we'll be asking some poll questions along the way to get to know you guys and what your experiences were during the COVID pandemic or the height of the Cold pandemic, since it's ongoing, and a lot of ways. And then at the end we have some discussion prompts, but we really want to hear from the larger group, some discussion of what you experienced and what your individual or institutional approaches are to future digital and learning from what we experienced during the COVID pandemic. So I want to start first with a brief acknowledgement. Those mn i are currently located in Bloomington, Indiana. We wish to acknowledge and honor the indigenous communities, native to this region, and recognize the Indiana University Bloomington is built on indigenous homelands and resources. We recognize the Miami Delaware Pottawattamie and Shawnee people as past present and future caretakers of this land. We are dedicated to amplifying indigenous voice and perspective, improving community relationships, correcting the narrative, and making the IUPUI campus a more supportive and inclusive place for native and indigenous students, faculty, and staff. We encourage everyone to engage with contemporary communities to learn the histories of this land to look at who has and does not have access to its resources and to examine your own place, abilities and obligations within this process of reparative work that is necessary to promote a more equitable and socially just Indiana University Bloomington. With that said, let me introduce myself and my co presenter, so I am Cassi Tucker. I'm the manager of museum technology at the Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University. I am a light skinned white woman with dark hair that is currently pulled back into a ponytail, and I wear round glasses, and today I'm wearing up black and white blouse, to check every time to make sure I know what I'm wearing. And sitting in a mostly white office, and my co presenter today is Emma folk, the assistant Registrar for collections at the Eskenazi Museum of Art of diversity, and I will let her describe herself.

Unknown Speaker 08:52
As Kathy said I'm Emma, I'm also a light skinned white woman with long dark brown here. Today I'm wearing a red and white blouse with a gray sweater over it, and as well as happy as I am in a mostly white office space.

Unknown Speaker 09:11
With that said, we're going to kick things off today with Emma, introducing a little bit of background about our institution before the pandemic so understand a little bit about where we were prior to March of 20.

Unknown Speaker 09:28
Thanks Kathy so the very first thing we want to do is actually with full question. So we'll watch it right now but this question is, how many full and part time staff members do you have at your institution. So for Kathy and I here at the Eskenazi we are I would say, a small to medium sized institution. We have currently about 30 full time, members of our staff interested to see what everyone else is giving you guys a couple more seconds. Okay, so I'm gonna share those results right now. Interestingly, we've got a decent spread here but overwhelmingly, we are in the kind of larger and that 41 Plus, staff members both full and part time, which I think you'll hear from our presentation a number of the things that we encountered we encountered because we were kind of limited in our, in our staff capacities during this period. We're also going to do just one other way poll questions and get ourselves started. So this question is about how many people at your institution, work on public facing digital content again for us, we'll talk about this a little bit, but other than Cassie. When we started at the beginning of the pandemic. Cassie was the only person who had public facing digital content written into her job description, you know the rest of us worked on it a little bit but it was not a major focus of ours and obviously that changed quite a bit during the pandemic itself.

Unknown Speaker 11:32
So again interesting

Unknown Speaker 11:33
year but even with a, you know, having the majority of our participants today at institutions with over 40 people, it looks like the majority here have about two to five people who are working on that, that public facing digital content. Alright, so a little bit about our institution and our institution, at the beginning and before the pandemic. So Cassie and I both work as we said at the Eskenazi Museum of Art, which is located in southern Indiana on the campus of Indiana University Bloomington. So we are an encyclopedic museum with over 40,000 objects, seven galleries, and two viewing rooms in 2019 We've finished a major renovation and reinstallation of the entire museum. So along with this renovation and the hiring of Cassi my co presenter, came a greater focus on museum technology and digital content more generally. Before this renovation before passing joined our staff, we had really limited technology use, so occasionally we had iPads in the gallery, we had a website with a few 100 objects from the collection. There was a blog that was not consistently updated and several digital exhibitions that were accessible through the museum's website. So, during the renovation process, greater emphasis was placed on technology, specifically our websites, which got a fantastic redesign and the addition of our collections online. So on your screen right now is a screenshots of our collections online so you can see the lovely Indiana University red banner and symbol at the top of the screen, and then on the rest of the screen we've got a couple of different options, there's a place in the center for people to start searching our collections. There's also links to essays that have been written by members of our staff that people can look at. So, with a plan to launch date of early 2020 Collections Online was originally envisioned as having about 500 works from each department added every year until every object in the collection was accessible to the public and our collections departments include the arts of Africa, Oceania, indigenous art of the Americas, the art of the ancient Mediterranean Asian art, European and American art. We have a prince drawings and photographs collection, and a new department, which is global contemporary art. As you will see on a later slide. These records for collections online include an image with all tax basic tombstone information, artists, dates, medium, and many include label texts written by our curatorial staff. So are some kind of give you an idea of where we were with this project, our collections online launched, and less than three weeks later, the museum and the university closed because of lockdown restrictions, and you know the launch of questions online was not related to the pandemic, we just got very, very lucky that the timing was, was about the same.

Unknown Speaker 15:23
Now, I think we have another poll question that you're going to open up.

Unknown Speaker 15:29
So this third poll question here asked, did your institution, launch any new digital programs or contents, after the start of the COVID 19 pandemic. Then I'll give everybody a couple of seconds to, to answer that. Although the answers already very obvious with weight selling

Unknown Speaker 15:59
so overwhelming, the, the answer was yes. So what what Cassie was going to start talking about and what we're going to dive into a little bit now is, is what we did as an institution, during the pandemic, especially at its height, to, to really get our digital programs going.

Unknown Speaker 16:21
So, during a lockdown major work continued in two main areas that we're going to talk about, first there were, there were a lot of things going on. But today we're going to talk about the work that we did in digital and the work that we did in sort of processes and workflows that mostly affected registered curatorial departments. So, when we initially went into lockdown. Um, we expected it to be, like, a few weeks to three weeks working at home, remote work and then we would return to business as usual and I got so tired of the phrase business as usual. By the end of things, and most of the curatorial staff, along with their graduate assistants and other members of that department had a limited amount of work that they could complete from home on such short notice. We were able to take advantage of that opportunity to focus on our digital presence in a way that wasn't normally possible for us. At the time I was working on two different collaborative digital projects, one of which was a self guided web up, and the other was our collections online website. So we turn our attention primarily to Collections Online, the curators were tasked with using the initial lockdown period to get as many new artwork records from their own collections online as possible. So, in order to make that happen, we had to conduct additional staff training, and we iterate guidelines for things like writing alternative text, we make a policy that any image that goes up on our website has to have alt text written for it. For every artwork, filling out the necessary TMS fields for the website and writing feature assets. So we implemented TMS flex fields to make this possible. And on the left of this screen you'll see an example of what flex fields we currently have in play. So we have the flex field group online ready, which has registration approved photography approved editor approved curator approved, and a final approval. We have the group published geography, which has a field called published geography online, and a field called public pronouns which has the field published pronouns online.

Unknown Speaker 18:48
I see another really great question in the chat from Aaron, which is, do you have specific guidelines for creating alt text for artworks,

Unknown Speaker 18:59
we do. So we started by basing things off of the MCA and Chicago's guidelines that they developed for Coyote. And from there, we developed an internal sort of house style guide that we've shared with our curators, so I am really interested in. On a personal level and making technology as accessible as possible and making art as successful as possible. And so we developed some written guidelines and documentation that included specific examples from our own collection that identified sort of tricky areas, and provided examples of best practices so one of the things that, that really benefited from using our own internal institution examples rather than using the examples provided by the NCAA, was that when there were questions about things like, well, do I need to describe what Adam and Eve look like or what Santa Claus looks like, things like that we could pull specific examples from our own collection, where we have things like a daughter, prints of Adam and Eve versus a, an Ethiopian painting that also depicts Adam and Eve and they are depicted extremely differently with different skin tones hair types, you know, backgrounds, the trees are different the you know the the Garden of Eden is depicted very differently. And so, so yeah, so we do have a style guide for that and I am happy to talk about it at length at any point during the, during the question portion at the end there any other questions AMA that would be good at this point.

Unknown Speaker 20:54
Not at the moment. Great, okay.

Unknown Speaker 20:56
Um. Doo doo doo doo so all of these things that we implemented including the alt text, and those guidelines. The flexfield These are all things that we've talked about before, like, like MSF we had just launched collections online a few weeks prior to the shutdown. But the attention was always on bigger projects, exhibitions, publications, presentations, you know, teaching, and this was almost like a housekeeping project of preparing records for online publication. And at the time, in fact, a responsibility for the digital presence of the collection wasn't listed as an explicit duty for the overwhelming majority of the curatorial register our staff, which made it a little challenging when we were asking for that time to be committed to the project. However, with the undivided focus from our staff during that lockdown period we were able to make enormous strides, and published hundreds of new records in the span of just a few months. So we went from a launch with a total of about 500 Records, which you'll notice is significantly lower than the 500 per department that Mo was hoping for that tells you how challenging it was to get, you know, sort of that priority from from everyone when, when there are other projects going on. So we went from having about 500 total records to now having over 3000 in our collections website with a lot more waiting in the wings just for photography before they're published so on the right hand side here you can see our Digital Asset Management system, fiction, with just a sample of some of the things that have been recently photographed for us so some of the photography from our collection. Some ceramics and pottery, and some works on paper. During the lockdown period we also published 23 feature essays which ranged from short 250 to 300 word discussions on one specific work of art or one specific technique to larger, more detailed analyses of multiple works of art from our collection. This included an essay written by the museum director, which is a task that he almost certainly would not have been able to prioritize for us. If it weren't for the lockdown. So we've really benefited from the undivided attention that we were able to get, especially during the early months of the COVID lockdown period. So I have

Unknown Speaker 23:34
a slightly unusual role during the height of the lockdown period so at the time, we did not have an active curator for our department of the arts of Africa Oceania and indigenous art of the Americas. So I functioned in that role during the interim, as well as at the time being a collection specialists, also working on all the other departments who are registration departments. So, during lockdown, our, our curators were asked to as Cassie said complete as many works as they did during this time as well as to begin writing the collections online, essays, related to their individual departments in this work a curator is required to review the following areas for accuracy and contacts, dates, culture, constituents title object name medium description dimensions label information and credit line, and then within the registration department which was at the time for people, only two of us, myself and one other pure co worker, were responsible for reviewing all records for completion and formatting before approving them with those flex fields that Cassie showed you earlier. So, during lockdown, there were, as you mentioned a few growing pains. As an institution we certainly had not planned to work this intensely on collections online, or these online feature essays. So part of the growing pains that we had that you know the work that was being asked of the curators, was not part of the kind of traditional trap of work for curators. Therefore, Part of what needed to happen during this time was the building of new skills, new skills and habits. We were all really happy to have this new major source of outreach that we use while on lockdown. But there were also some concerns. So from the registration side, this project, as I mentioned earlier had not been written into our job descriptions. So before locked down our workload on it was small enough that it wasn't a problem. But during lockdown, this really became our major focus. And so this meant several conversations with our supervisor to organize priorities and discuss other responsibilities. There were also concerns from the curators, about the use of their time, the number of projects that they were being asked to do, and the amount of time that was needed in order to prepare records to go online and be published. So one concern that develops came from our need for high quality photography of the collection at a much quicker pace than we had previously expected. So, during the height of lockdown, only a very limited number of staff were allowed on site. And since our renovation, our collections have been stored at an off site location, meaning that we had to be very strategic about what was photographed and when, while also making sure that those of us in the registration department or the curators, we're not spending lots of time on a record for an object that given the logistics, we knew didn't have a reasonable chance of being photographed during the lockdown. So there was a lot of strategy in place in terms of what we worked on and when we worked on it we couldn't just kind of, you know, go in order of expression and work our way through every single record staff here in Indiana began to be allowed back into the museum in the late summer of 2020 with very limited hours on site and heightened COVID Testing. This allowed us to begin photography at a slightly greater pace, but also meant that additional responsibilities that had been limited during lockdown were once again a priority. So for the registration department, There were several new exhibitions and gallery rotations that needed to be done as well as objects that needed to be prepared for loan. So this made the fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021, extremely busy, as we attempted to give all of these different projects, the attention that they

Unknown Speaker 28:11
required. So,

Unknown Speaker 28:15
after lockdown. Obviously, I think, Cassie, and I certainly would have preferred to keep adding objects to Collections Online at the pace that we were during the lockdown. But that simply isn't feasible with our limited staff size, and now that we're once again fully open to the public. So what we're really working on now and trying to figure out, is understanding, whose responsibility is the core of the work for collections online and other digital areas, going forward, and for us as an institution that's really requiring a little bit of realignment of our priorities we know that digital isn't going away, but we need to figure out how it fits within the rest of our job descriptions, now that we aren't on lockdown anymore. We're going to do a wick poll question so this is our last poll question of the day. So what we are wondering is, at this point, how do you see your institutions approach to digital projects, post lockdown. It doesn't seem to be more saying about the same or do you see your institution, moving away from digital, you know, I know for Cassie and I this is really something that we are interested in, we're hoping to continue, you know, having lots of digital content and moving that forward we know it's important for accessibility, as well as outreach, but that buy in is hard to get sometimes. Alright, so from these results. It looks like the majority is moving towards more digital but followed pretty closely. Honestly, by your individual institutions, staying the same. Oh, Jessica asked more than, you know more than three perfect yes I was thinking more than more than pre COVID In terms of where we're going with digital contents, passing. And

Unknown Speaker 30:28
yeah, I gotta get this whole out of the way, fully. All right, so I can move things again. Now come back. Okay, there we go. All right, looking forward. Um, so, going forward, we have strategies and and ideas for how we're going to incorporate digital across our work at the institution and kind of two different tracks one that's really more about our staff and one that's more about the projects themselves. So, for staff, sort of professional development. We were really fortunate to recently receive an IMLS Institute of Museum and Library Services grant, supporting professional development in digital so that means that we are taking the opportunity to give our staff more sort of digital literacy opportunities and things like using our TMS collections management system, more robustly more thoroughly and effectively which opens doors to what kind of content we can use and future, making sure that that the tools that we have for hybrid. Teaching and Learning with our collection, are things that our staff feel really confident in both explained to people as an opportunity, and in potentially running themselves so I'm really grateful for that great opportunity that's that's giving us the, the leverage that we needed to kickstart that

Unknown Speaker 32:09
pathway, we have a really great question from Laura who is interested in what kinds of training we are providing staff in terms of digital literacy as part of the IMLS grants.

Unknown Speaker 32:21
Yeah, so we're providing trainings. This year, are in a few different areas so we're, we're looking at three different tracks. One of them is on our sort of specific tools and workflows so that's where things like TMS falls in is a tool that our whole staff should be using every day. Currently we're not quite there yet but we're we're working on it. So making sure people understand how to find information about our collection, how to use that tool to collaborate, things like that. And we have some other internal systems. Similarly, that will be that will fall under that training. We have a second track that is exclusively focused on accessibility so we're not just thinking about web accessibility although that's the sort of first area that we're hitting because it is already a part of our worlds, the, the web is already part of our workflows, but we're looking to see that expand also into larger gallery accessibility, how do we make our time based media collection and gallery more accessible. And really looking more at making sure that our staff is confident and asking those questions and proposing solutions, or finding resources when they are planning new exhibitions or new programming new education or outreach opportunities all of those kinds of things. And then the third track that we're looking at is about gathering reporting and responding to feedback so how do we we're a free museum we don't collect tickets at the door. In fact we have like four doors so it's very difficult to do if we wanted to do that. And, and so looking at ways that we can gather visitor feedback, and sort of develop a collaborative, and trusting relationship with our communities, to provide us with feedback about what they not only what they want to see, but also, you know how they want us to sort of speak to them, and what sort of, what sort of outreach is resonating with them. So those are the three main tracks that we're talking about and within that for the first year we have things mostly nailed down for specific month by month trainings and then our second year largely depends on how the first year goes. I'm, again, I think that I'm happy to continue monologuing on opportunities.

Unknown Speaker 35:10
Kathy I'm gonna, I'm gonna go ahead and answer we got another question in the chat, Stephanie, asking whether or not our staff are leading these training. And, or if we're hiring outside trainers and instructors.

Unknown Speaker 35:25
So actually Emma's leaving a training, and a few weeks on TMS, because she's very competent and confident in that area. But we are also leveraging outside expertise, Because there are definitely blind spots in our institution, especially when it comes to things like workflows where we really need someone outside to sort of tell us how they might do things, to give us a little bit of perspective to try something a little bit different. So we're doing a blend of both, we have some things that are only conducted with our staff, we have some things that include a component that is led by our staff, and by an outside consultant that we pay either their consulting fee or an honorarium to, and some things that are solely led by those outside experts in areas where they are really the, the leaders. So we're really excited for that I'm really excited for some of the folks that we're bringing in for, for accessibility stuff, and, and it's gonna be a great opportunity I'm very confident for both some networking for our staffs to be more collaborative with other institutions. And for us to do that internal growth that is the core of the IMLS grant. Other questions. Currently, I'm so I am asked grant, we have not thoroughly kept up I'm asked. There are a few sort of challenges that we're also going to be facing with staff development. I know that across the field, we're seeing in our institution too but post pandemic departures, on our are right now leaving a short staffed and we're anticipating the need for retraining staff as we get those positions filled but right now we're sort of operating on a low staff model. And then of course we are returning, I think Emma already mentioned this back to the divided attention of upcoming special exhibitions acquisitions, travel, the more traditional responsibilities that, especially our curators, but really across the staff take away from their, their ability to prioritize our digital projects. In terms of what we're doing for digital outreach and what we're planning for that. We're really excited to keep a lot of the hybrid model things that we tried out during COVID. So once we had that partial lockdown raised by Indiana University where some of our staff could come back while most of us worked from home, we were able to implement some really great hybrid models and over here on the right you see an image of a dark haired woman who is standing in front of a goldish colored large cloth and gesturing to it and behind her is a screen that is also has a projective on it, a textile leave. And that's an example of one of our objects study rooms, where we can do both in person, object viewings, and we can do Zoom calls or if people are in person, they can just Zoom really far in, and look really closely at object patterns and textures and techniques. And this was something that we were actually really excited to see some great donor engagement with Emma has a great example of that but we'll talk about, um, we're also looking to really maintain the standard and commitment to accessibility so when it was the only thing that anyone could really work on it was very easy to make that, you know, a high priority and keeping that standard, something that was done well, but making sure that it stays a priority, is something that's, it's one of those institutional habits that we're still building. We really want to use the new staff conference and digital that we have so far and also it will build the IMLS grant to expand what we can do with our education outreach. And we're also interested in, in the future looking toward projects that support either in person and virtual engagement or hybrid engagement with our collections, so things that don't aren't limited to one or the other, and allow our guests to choose what they're most comfortable with based on how safe they feel what the what the sort of climate is in terms of health, or their own travel buildings, things like that. So we're really looking forward to, to sort of building on what we have. As Emma said there are a lot of growing pains, we've learned a lot and we're definitely don't want to lose water.

Unknown Speaker 40:26
Yeah, so we've got about 10 minutes left, I'm passing and I have discussion questions, but I wanted to give everybody the opportunity if there were any questions right now feel free to speak up or put them in the chat. Otherwise, we will use the last couple of minutes, or discussion

Unknown Speaker 40:45
questions, I'm gonna go ahead and close the PowerPoint. And so if you would like to unmute yourself, Go ahead and just jump in.

Unknown Speaker 41:06
So, Emma, I, um, while we're giving folks an opportunity to sort of formulate, any thoughts. I think would be really great to sort of hear your example of that hybrid experience with, Especially with donor engagement because that was an area for us that we were really concerned about losing the in person,

Unknown Speaker 41:27
opportunity. Yeah, so, again, you know a lot of our digital projects were either pre planned before the pandemic and we got very lucky that they were timed as such and that we could use them during the pandemic, or we have a number of projects where we just had to figure out what we're doing and the middle of the pandemic and make it work. So one of the things that has ended up being a fantastic resource to us is the object viewing rooms that we have on site. Now, these are new since our renovation and these rooms include a screen a projector, if they would cameras they glued built in microphones, and what we were able to do just a couple weeks ago actually. So one of our curators, is still working, fully remotely. She has some health concerns, and is not coming into the building, but we had donors that wanted to come in to look at objects to bring some objects of their own, and we were able to use that space for basically a fantastic Zoom call whereby our curator could see the room could see the objects in the room, the potential donors could see and talk to the curator, we also use the screen at that time to show the potential donors, what collections online is how we would present their objects, if they are donated to the institution, the kinds of essays that their objects would be featured in, and it ended up being a really great opportunity, the donors were thrilled our development team was thrilled, and it gave us really good casting arable thrilled. It gave us really good buy in from a department within the museum that we hadn't considered using this side of digital before, and it turned out that it was really great to them. Um, so a couple of questions in the chat question about the OSHA. Yeah, so the first one I see is from Tim it says, with the oceanic collection, there are several 100 online currently, do you have a sense of the scale of that collection that is still to be digitized and put online. Yes, so actually the oceanic collection is my specialty area of research. So we have just under 2000 objects currently within our oceanic collection. So we are making progress on it but there is still quite a lot that needs to be digitized, my, my hope is that it is a within five years project. But, as we talked about that's just going to depend on what our what our timelines like in terms of staff availability.

Unknown Speaker 44:24
So, the two questions about some accessibility thing so Jazmin asked if you could share some contact information for accessibility consultants, I am really happy to do that, I'm also extremely bad at names. So, I will, I will share that in the Slack present has already started about some of this other accessibility information. And then, Christina asked, Is the alt text stored in TMS or picture or another web CMS, which system is the online collection driven from. It's a great question. So, our collections on line draws from TMS and Pichon separately. Neither one is the sole owner of our collection information. So our alt text is actually stored in TMS. At this time, um, because it's something that is relevant, both for the web, and for for general sort of keeping track of what an artwork is, you know, knowing what it looks like. Um, so, we store that and then we have a custom built a portal that draws from both of those. And Travis asked a great follow up question is descriptive text or alt text a requirement for publishing online, or would you consider publishing with basic tombstone data and adding descriptions later. So I really early on, this also kind of speaks to Aaron's question about governance which I'll come back to and read but I established really early on when I joined the museum that I didn't want to make the accessibility components, optional, or come back and fix it later things, because too often the, the result of that is that it doesn't get fixed. Later, you get focused on, let's get the entire collection up at one time, you will get the entire collection up and we'll come back and do all the descriptive text and that doesn't really work so we decided that instead of doing this kind of warehouse model was a description I think I heard at MC N A few years ago, of putting everything up online and then going back and fixing it later. We establish the policy that the records had to be reviewed and cleaned up and undergo that review by curator by the registrar I reviews and check that accessibility. Before they go up online at all. And then next to about, sorry.

Unknown Speaker 47:06
Oh sorry, I can't see I think to the you know as a University Museum, you know, pass. They really pushed for it but it was very important to all of us to have that old tabs available for every single record, you know if we have, if we have any visitors we have students who require that alt text for a class, um, you know, that was something that I think is very very important to make sure that they are getting the accessibility they need for their education.

Unknown Speaker 47:34
And that's a really great point is that you know as a University Museum we do feel like we need to make every best effort that we can to, to do what we can. The first time we did it right the first time so, so we don't live short answer to that is that we don't publish anything unless the descriptive text, and the basic tombstone are both complete, um, to sort of speak to Aaron's question about governance, who decided what data elements would be published, is there a written protocol for quality control and approval. I think Emma can speak really well so this I will add really quickly before that that the decisions about what data will be published was something that we, it was a long discussion that we started early on, long before any code had ever been made, I was not a museum person so part of it was just like, please tell me what's important, please, please tell me something about what's relevant here. And, and we wanted consistency across our collection we didn't want our African art collection to be less completely filled out, or less, provided than our European and American collection and so a lot of those conversations were focused on finding the common ground across our collections, so that when we publish things we could feel confident that we were representing our collections to the best of our ability, and that's an ongoing thing where we know that there are areas that we still need to do better on that we still need to clean up on what to add later. But we started with that mindset, and we've been growing from there, but I think you can speak really well to sort of how the negotiations actually went with that conversation.

Unknown Speaker 49:31
Yeah, so we started with the standards that we already had in place for our database and then we had about six months before we started really working on our collections online, a series of weekly to bi weekly meetings with our recreation department with our staff editor with our director and with all of the curators, where we went through every single category and made decisions about what was required what needed to be filled out what the standards were for those sections, and also who gets to make those decisions. So there are some things like style or period that we decided, could be filled out, but it was at the curators discretion, we weren't going to require everyone to use those fields. Um, but yes so we, we do have a written policy and it, it truly took us about six months and this past he said, we're still kind of working on it and updating it as we go. It's also been, you know, this really interesting test run of, you know, Having collections online up for about a year and a half now and figuring out what areas work best what areas visitors are searching through the website, what areas they don't seem to really care about, and adjusting accordingly.

Unknown Speaker 50:55
We are just a couple minutes over time, and I want to be mindful that there are sessions starting shortly. So Emma Do you have any sort of final takeaways that you would like to share.

Unknown Speaker 51:07
Yeah I mean I just wanted to say you know I think as Kathy and I pointed out, we definitely had some, some growing pains and things we had to learn during this project but have found it really rewarding and have found that it seems to have worked best when we kind of spread out the responsibility and chipped away at smaller portions, over time, but we are also very happy to continue talking in Slack or feel free to contact either of us by email, because we're really, really interested in this as absolutely still a project that we are developing and thinking about, so we welcome other ideas too.

Unknown Speaker 51:48
Yes, and I would just like to echo to Emma thank you all for your feedback and your questions. This has been great. Clearly I can talk for forever if you want me. But we're really excited to keep the work going on this, and as we're returning to sort of a safe protocol where we can be in person in some way. We're also really excited to see this sort of grow and expand to how this might look for hybrid as well. And so, yeah, so thank you all for joining us, I'm going to wrap this up so the next session can get started but I look forward to continuing this conversation in Slack or in in future sessions, wherever we happen to run into each other so thank you all so very much, everyone.