Connecticut Collections (CTCo) is an open-source, online resource tool that allows history and heritage organizations to accomplish three of their primary goals: 1) to privately manage their organizational collections in a state-of-the-art collections management system, 2) to share their collections with the public through a portal that includes collections from other CTCo users, and 3) 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!
Currently CLHO is completing a “pilot” phase with five institutions that are now using the CTCo database (a fully customized version of Collective Access opensource collections management software) designed to manage and present collections. In the next several months, more institutions will join the group, and work on creating the portal for Connecticut Collections (expected completion June, 2017). So, stay tuned! This is exciting stuff and CLHO is proud to have a hand in opening the window to the amazing historical resources of Connecticut.
Organizations involved in the CTCo database development project: Barnum Museum, Fairfield Museum and History Center, The Beekley Collection, the Institute of American Indian Studies, the Slater Museum, and the Sharon Historical Society.
Connecticut Collections (CTCo)
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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 none 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 (that are identified by the institution who owns them) will be automatically ingested into the CTDA where they will be 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 group of ever-expanding users in the state that 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...
Mentor/buddy support training: all new users will be assigned an organizational “mentor” who will be able to answer simple questions, identify issues that are more complicated than normal and refer to the appropriate user group for answers, and be the point person for everyday operational questions.
All users are invited to join a CTCo Google group for posting questions that do not need "rapid" response turn-around.
There will be monthly Google live chats for users, each hosted by current users to answer questions and address issues.
CTCo users will find a growing variety of resources including links to videotutorials to walk users through normal database use, a user manual created for Collective Access (which will be altered to reflect the customization of the CTCo system), and short white papers on topics such as "Cleaning your data before and after migration." The online resources will be available on this website (www.clho.org).
We know that some people prefer to have access to immediate help. Please contact the CLHO office to 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 for 2017 reflects a sliding scale, depending on the organization's annual operating budget. (The application to participate will include proof of operating budget, and percentage of that total amount spent on collections care and management.)
Up to $50,000 Annual Operating Budget $300 / year
$50,001 to $100,000 Annual Operating Budget $500 / year
$100,001 to $200,000 Annual Operating Budget $1000 / year
$200,001 to $500,000 Annual Operating Budget $1500 / year
$500,001 and above Annual Operating Budget $2500 / year
The Annual fee structure includes: Basic support (as noted above), Hosting fee, Digital back-up fee, 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 Liz Shapiro at email@example.com or call 860-685-7595 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 2017 will be available online by April 3. Please download the application, complete it to the best of your ability, and send it, with any additional requested information, to Liz Shapiro at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.