A few months ago, I received an email via the contacts page on this website from Franco Saetti, an Italian numismatist, asking me to send him a copy of an article [5 MB PDF] I had written many years ago, discussing a letter which describes a group of people looking at, and discussing, newly-minted coins in Bologna in 1505.1
Rupert Shepherd, ‘A letter concerning coins in sixteenth-century Ferrara’, Apollo, new ser., 149/443 (January 1999), pp. 40-43. [↩]
Franco Saetti, ‘Immagini prospettiche nella monetazione rinascimentale italiana: il doppio ducato di Alfonso I d’Este, Rivista italiana di numismatica e scienze affini, 101 (2000), pp. 113-137; id., ‘“Prove” in rame di monete del rinascimento italiano con ritratto’, Rivista italiana di numismatica e scienze affini, 116 (2015), pp. 329-358. [↩]
I’ve been keeping quiet about what I’ve been doing since starting work as Collection Information Manager at the National Gallery in February last year: much has been routine, and I was still planning the more ambitious part of my work, the Gallery’s Collection Information Project. But the project is now underway, with a project manager and data wrangler both now at work.
However, rather than post something here, I’ve taken the opportunity of an invitation to write a piece for the blog that has just been set up by CIDOC, the international organisation for museum documentation, to describe the problems that we face at the Gallery, and how the Collection Information Project plans to solve them. You can read it here.
Every now and again, a cry of anguish from appears on Twitter from Mark Carnall, Life Collections Manager at Oxford University Museum of Natural History, labelled with the #MuseumDocumentation hashtag. This is hardly surprising: like most of us who work in documentation, particularly those dealing with collections which have built up over a period of time, Mark often has to deal with multiple object records of variable quality.
Last Friday, he decided to live tweet a day spent cleaning reptile records in multiple databases (as he points out, one of these was a Word document, which really does stretch the definition of ‘databases’). Because this gives a nice insight into the kinds of problems that many of us face at regular intervals, I’ve Storifyed his tweets for posterity; you can read them here. As you will see, in addition to the usual difficulties caused by a collection’s documentation ‘evolving’ over time, natural history collections seem to suffer from some particular problems of their own – including the (to me) surprisingly fluid nature of many scientific names.
July was a busy month – so busy, that I’ve only now finished writing up notes from the five different conferences, workshops and meetings that I attended in just over three weeks. But why spend so much time out of the office? Continue reading One month, five events→
Further to my piece on Captain Colbeck’s eggs, I was delighted to be invited to the unveiling of a plaque in memory of William Colbeck on the site of his old house at Inchmery Road in Catford, south-east London. Organised by Sandra Margolies, Colbeck’s grand-daughter, the event was attended by many of Colbeck’s descendants – as well as relatives of his former shipmate on the SY Morning, Alfred Cheetham, and of E. A. Wilson, the zoologist and junior surgeon on the Discovery expedition and chief of the scientific staff on the Terra Nova expedition.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece for this site about a series of objects from Antarctica that had been collected by the Horniman Museum and – in several cases – subsequently disposed of. I also wrote a longer essay for the Horniman’s website about the objects. In the latter piece, I noted that we had been unable to find some of the better-documented objects: several birds’ eggs donated by a person named in the registers as C. T. Colbeck (see also here). I was, therefore, delighted to receive a tweet a couple of weeks ago from my former colleague Justine Aw, saying that the eggs had been found whilst working through the Horniman’s collections following a collection review. Continue reading Captain Colbeck’s eggs→
In preparation for a short talk which I’ll be delivering with Angela Kipp of the Registrar Trek blog at one of the CIDOC strands at the ICOM 2016 conference in Milan, I’ve been looking at how the #MuseumDocumentation Twitter hashtag has been doing, using a snapshot of the last nine days provided by TweetReach. I’ve Storified the top tweets and contributors, and you can see the results here.
Recognise yourself amongst the top tweets or contributors?
The whole talk is available elsewhere on this site, albeit rather buried, because I’ve treated it as a publication rather than a post – fair enough, given that it’s a few thousand words long. But I thought a quick summary might be interesting for those of you who don’t want to read the whole thing. Continue reading Reviewing your collections?→
I was flattered to receive an email a few months ago from Nick Poole, at that point still the Chief Executive of Collections Trust, asking me to speak at the Trust’s forthcoming annual conference. Nick suggested that I might ‘take a look at where we are today with documentation, which challenges have been solved and which are still to be addressed’ – all in twenty minutes! Those of you that know me will also realise that this isn’t really the way I work: I prefer to start with the detail and work outwards from that, rather than beginning with grand abstractions about the bigger picture. But after a quick exchange of emails, Nick and I agreed a subject, and I gave my lecture at the Collections Trust 2015 conference at the Natural History Museum a few weeks ago.