Digital inventory


Tool No. 1: Digital inventory

Digital inventory

Description of the tool

The digital inventory is based on the development of capacities to facilitate the digitalization of the ecomuseum´s collections using cell phones and other low-cost technologies, maintaining criterious schemes for managing the digitalization and for the online diffusion of collections.The definition of criteria to categorize collections is based on key aspects of local heritage, and the new technologies have been opening convenient possibilities for the digitalization and diffusion of collections maintaining high standards of quality.

In the last decades, the presence of museums in the digital world was limited to institutions with availability of huge financial and technical resources. The equipments necessary to digitalize collections used to be expensive, as there was a need of establishing and maintaining high standard tools and laboratories. Nowadays, the propagation of smartphones is facilitating this process, as the personal devices have high quality cameras sufficient to capture good images for digitalizing collections.

It is necessary to define criteria and maintain certain standards in the digitalization process, aiming to have the proper flow for democratizing collections. In this sense, the digital inventory is a proper tool for the ecomuseums, considering each context and availability of resources. A well-defined workflow, with proper criteria, can contribute to more democratic ecomuseums with open access collections.

Guidelines to apply the tool

  1. Definition of device typologies and workstation: The process of digitalization will be based on the availability of equipments. Low-cost smartphones can be defined as the basic equipment for the working process. Additionally, it is necessary to have a space for installing the workstation, with adequate lighting and a computer with an HDD or SSD to store the captured collections.
  2. Technnical criteria for managing the digitalization: It is essential to have a clear definition on which collections are going to be digitalized, with proper database softwares to maintain a safe inventory. Additionally, it will be necessary to define the minimal resolution to capture the collections, as well as a proper software for digitalization.
  3. Working scheme for facilitating the process: A clear workflow will facilitate the working process, avoiding any mistake in the digitalization. It is suggested to have it printed in a visible place, to be easily consulted at any time necessary.
  4. Online diffusion under Creative Commons license: A Creative Commons license will democratize the collection, enabling its diffusion with proper mentions to authors and precedence.
  5. M&E of the working process: A constant M&E process is necessary to monitor the progress of the digitalization, with proper goals defined in the beginning of each process – stablished, for example, as a project with measurable and verifiable results. It is a strategic way of maintaining the institutional memory of the digitalization process, supporting the gathering of documents and information related to the technical work developed by the ecomuseum.

Support materials

The Portable Museum Project – Pocket Edition is developed under a partnership between the Goethe-Institut São Paulo, Instituto Moreira Salles and Wiki Moviment Brazil.This project resulted in the development of the Portable Museum Manual, a tool used as a reference for digitalization in Brazilian institutions. This initiative can be replied in other institutions, and the reference used by ecomuseums can also be based on methodologies developed by institutions working with culture heritage inventories, such as the the Brazilian Institute of Museums (IBRAM) and the Brazilian National Institute of Cultural Heritage (IPHAN).

Scientific Coordinators