Connecticut Collections (CTCo) is an open-source, online resource tool that allows history and heritage organizations to manage their collections, to share selected items with the public through a statewide portal (https://ctcollections.org) and to preserve their digital collections and associated metadata in the Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA) where they will be safe for generations to come. There are so many “hidden treasures” among the small to mid-size museums and historical societies in Connecticut, and our goal is to help our members manage them, share them, and preserve them!
In 2015-16, CLHO completed a “pilot” phase with five institutions. In early 2018, nine more institutions joined the group. Our public portal started up in summer 2018 and in 2019 eleven more organizations joined our project. This is exciting stuff and CLHO is proud to have a hand in opening a window onto the amazing historical resources of Connecticut.
Organizations involved in Connecticut Collections
Barnum Museum Fairfield Museum and History Center
Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution Wilton Historical Society
The Beekley Collection Preston Historical Society Sharon Historical Society
Cheshire Academy Hotchkiss School Archives & Special Collections
Weston Historical Society Portland Historical Society The Unionville Museum
The Gunnery Archives The Mark Twain House & Museum Madison Historical Society
Henry Whitfield State Museum East Windsor Historical Society Prudence Crandall Museum
Eric Sloan Museum New-Gate Prison & Copper Mine
Westport Historical Society The Jewish Historical Society of Fairfield County
Connecticut Collections (CTCo)
Table of Contents
Connecticut Collections (CTCo) is a three-part collections management, access and digital preservation project created by the Connecticut League of History Organizations, based on a customization of the Collective Access collections management software.
The Collections Management System....a state-of-the-art collections management system that is standardized, offers access to multiple descriptive vocabulary systems, is "goof-proof" for novice catalogers, and is robust for the full range of collections housed in most history museum collections, including (but not limited to) objects, tools, artwork, photographs, ephemera, diaries, letters, archival collections, textiles, household implements and more. The systems incorporates all the features of the Collective Access platform and customized tools identified by Connecticut's history museums.
The CTCo Online Web Portal...Researchers, students, teachers, and history buffs—everyone—will be able to browse collections or search for specific kinds of artifacts, photographs, artwork, and other items using keywords, geo-reference points, object types, time period, and so on. Both Connecticut-related and non Connecticut-related items will be included since many of our history and heritage organizations have diverse collections. To get a sense of how the web portal will work, visit www.novamuse.ca.
The Digital Preservation Solution...at the end of the third phase of the project, collections records (identified by the institution that owns them) will be incorporated into the Connecticut Digital Archive, where they will be published online and preserved in the state's preservation repository forever. No more needing expensive digital archiving of your collections. Input the data once into your CTCo management system, mark the record for ingest into the CTDA, and your responsibility to digitally preserve your collections is done.
CollectiveAccess is free open-source software for managing and publishing museum and archival collections. • Runs on any modern web browser • Pre-configured with several library standards including Dublin Core, PBCore, VRA Core and more • Customizable through simple user interfaces — no complex programming required • Reporting tools easily generate finding aids and exports to PDF or spreadsheet-readable formats • Supports multilingual cataloging • Mapping tools allow you to georeference any asset • Integrated with Library of Congress subject headings, Getty vocabularies, GeoNames, and more • Plugins extend the software's core functionality to support timelines, visualizations, image licensing and more • Import frameworks allow for the batch migration and transformation of media and data • Free online documentation and support. Find out more at http://collectiveaccess.org.
Whether you are a historical society, historic site, history museum, library or archive, Connecticut Collections is designed for you. If your organization is looking for an open-source collections management program that is affordable, connected to a state-wide network, accessible by multiple users both on and off-site at one time at no extra cost, creates finding aids, offers robust cataloging options for both archival collections and museum collections, you will want to look closer at CTCo.
When you choose CTCo you join a growing group of users in the state who are actively working together to make museum collections useful - and user-friendly - to the public. CTCo has a sliding fee scale, so that organizations of all sizes, volunteer-run to professionally staffed, can both afford the platform and use it effectively. CTCo is the new face of integrated collections management.
The basic support structure for users is included in the CTCo yearly fee. It includes the following tools:
The online CTCo Forum, for posting questions that do not need "rapid" response turn-around. All new users will be assigned a login to the forum, and gives you access to those who will be able to answer simple questions, identify issues that are more complicated than normal and will be able to refer to the appropriate user group for answers. The forum is also monitored by CTCo point people for everyday operational questions.
A Connecticut Collections user manual (available on this page) and video tutorials demonstrating how to perform common tasks in the database are available, and being added to.
We know that some people prefer to have access to immediate help. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If there is a more technical issue, we can discuss options for support that are available at an additional fee.How much does it cost to become a Connecticut Collections user?
The cost to join the CTCo project in 2020 reflects a sliding scale, depending on the organization's annual operating budget. (The application to participate includes proof of operating budget, and percentage of that total amount spent on collections care and management.)
The Annual fee structure covers: basic support (as noted above), Hosting, Digital back-up, and database maintenance.
Additional fees are associated with the migration of data from an organization’s current system to CTCo. We are happy to get an estimate of the one-time cost for migration. Please contact us at email@example.com or call 860-832-2674 with questions.
*If you are not migrating from a current collections management database, and intend to start cataloging directly into CTCo, no additional migration fee is charged.
Applications for the 2020 cohort are now closed. For more information about the next application period, or questions about the application process contact firstname.lastname@example.org.