Custom Domain Name

What is a Custom Domain Name?

All Recollect sites are hosted as sub-domains of one of three Recollect domains:

  • recollectcms.com
  • recollect.net.au
  • recollect.co.nz

This provides an address such as customername.recollectcms.com, where the customer can choose what name appears before recollectcms.com.
Recollect Enterprise subscribers have the option of creating a unique address (URL) of their own e.g. archives.myorganisation.com.

Why do you want one?

It allows you to make your site consistent with your organisations other sites, giving an integrated web presence. When you visit the site, the custom domain remains persistent i.e. the user never sees the Recollect domain unless that is the URL they used to visit the site.

Can I have a naked domain?

A naked domain is one that doesn’t have the www before it e.g. mysite.com. Because the internet standards for DNS don’t support alias (CNAME) records on naked domains, these are not suitable for use as custom Recollect domains.

What is the best custom domain for me?

To create a strong link between your collections and your organisation we recommend that you use a sub-domain of your organisations main web site e.g. archives.myorganisation.com.

I have a custom domain; how do I connect it to my Recollect site?

Your IT department or service provider will need to add a DNS CNAME entry aliasing your custom domain to our site for you, e.g. customername.recollectcms.com. We will also need an SSL certificate for the domain.

Why do I need a security certificate and where do I get one?

Recollect uses the modern web standard HTTPS, which requires an SSL certificate to secure things and enable many modern web platform features. If you wish to use a custom domain, we will need an SSL certificate for that domain. We will generate the certificates via AWS, which only requires your IT department to add some DNS entries for validation, but if that’s not suitable we can work with you and discuss alternative options.

I want a custom domain; can you help me create one?

Yes, we can do this for you. There will be a charge to establish it and an annual charge for the registrations, ask us for a price.

Contact us to find out more about a Recollect Custom Domain Name


Recollect Implementation

Every organisation is different, with different collections and different needs and levels of access required for its community. Recollect has been designed so that it can be flexibly configured to give your users and community the best experience.

Project Management
The Recollect team recognises that as the digital world continues to rapidly change, it is important to continually evolve to keep up.  We have designed our own project methodology to provide you with a low risk delivery model, that incorporates the most relevant aspects of Agile, PRINCE2 and PMBOK; it draws on the success of Agile methods of communication and Scrum ceremonies, along with the certainty of scope as defined in PRINCE2 and PMBOK. The Recollect methodology has also been developed based on our experience delivering archival digital solutions to our clients.
When we implement your site, we work through a well proven process to ensure that we deliver to you and your community a site that works well and makes your collections discoverable, accessible and engageable. The four phases of the implementation are explained below:

1.    Discovery

The discovery phase is designed to be flexible enough that it can be adapted to your needs and your projects. This phase consists of three workshops that allow us to get a detailed understanding of you, your team, your community and your collections and lets us design the best configuration for your site.

Persona Workshop

The persona workshop is the opportunity for us to work with you to create a common understanding of the groups of key internal and external users of Recollect. We explore why the groups are important to you and what their priorities are when we think about their needs. We create a common persona for each group describing why they would use Recollect, their experience in research, the types of information they are seeking, their pain points, how they would expect the collections to be organised (from their world view) and what type of questions they would ask of the collections.

We also consider the level of access and type of engagement each persona profile needs from your collections.

Data Workshop

We use the data workshop to gain a detailed understanding of your data that needs to be loaded into Recollect. We plan the content load by analysing how the data is going to be organised, what data is required for each persona group, how will we receive the data, who will be doing any data cleansing or transformation.

We also use the data workshop to explore logical, explicit and implicit connections in the collection metadata. This allows us to create a relationship diagram that shows how best to enhance the content discoverability and the user experience, this may also lead to the creation of some record types that act as discoverability connectors e.g. people, roles, places, events, topics.

User Experience Workshop

Having built a good understanding of the needs of the users and of the data, we then explore how we can configure the home page and discoverability elements within Recollect. This includes how we apply your branding to the site, which finding aids are required on the home page or on additional pages. We also consider how best to connect the site elements and attributes e.g. dates, materials and topics together which will provide a seamless experience.

At the end of the discovery phase we will deliver an overarching report that brings together all of the project teams learnings from the three workshops. Included in this report we will also clarify how your data and related content will be loaded, any additional requirements and the projects acceptance criteria.

2.    Configuration

During the configuration phase we start by setting up your site by applying your organisations branding elements e.g. logo, colour palate and font styles. Followed by setting up user security and creating the item templates that will hold your collections and associated metadata.
In this phase your Administrator and our team work in an agile manner, working together collaboratively refining and making minor amendments to your data and configuration until we achieve the results set out in the acceptance criteria. If the changes sought don’t align with the configuration plan we work through a change request process to update the configuration plan.

3.    Data load

Once the configuration is complete, we load the data and content into your site.

4.    Training and Acceptance Testing

While your Administrators receive a large amount of hands on training during the configuration phase, we bring it all together in a formal training workshop to ensure that your Administrators can continue to manage and evolve the site once the project is completed.
Once your training is completed it is time for you to conduct formal acceptance testing of your site. The configuration plan created at the end of the discovery phase and amended by any subsequent change requests is used as the basis for the acceptance testing. Any issues reported are either fixed by us or result in a change request if the requirements have shifted from the configuration plan.
 

Go Live

You choose when to go live, this can be part way through the project if desired or some time after the project has completed once you are happy that your content is ready for users to view.

Contact us for more information about how the Recollect Implementation process can enhance your Community Engagement and Collection Management activities.


Digital Preservation

What is Digital Preservation?

Digital Preservation has two key elements:

  1. The protection of a digital file from loss or degradation.
  2. Ensuring the information contained within the file remains accessible by the intended audience with the tools they might reasonably be expected to have available to them. This usually means migrating information from obsolete file formats to a current format.

Records Management and Archives have traditionally managed the physical artefacts in their collections, and more recently digital facsimiles have been used to provide easier and wider access to their collections. The physical items remain available to be copied again, should the digital facsimile become corrupt. As technology has improved, early digital facsimiles have been replaced with higher resolution files that sometimes reveal more detailed information than the original itself e.g. faint markings, pencil notations, etc. This means that occasionally if the original artefacts are too damaged or are too costly to store, then the high res digital file becomes the Archival Master.

Physical objects can be stored in environmentally controlled rooms and are subject to regular stocktakes, condition assessment, conservation and preservation treatments to ensure they remain accessible. And while the physical objects may degrade, the underlying technology of a Digital Archival Master does change radically. Therefore, a Digital Preservation condition assessment and regular checksums are an important Records Management activity to ensure the information in those digital files remain readable.

In recent decades, more and more content has been generated digitally whether it is in the form of documents, emails, spreadsheets, databases or other file types. This Digitally Born content may never be reproduced in a physical form, however the need to preserve these files as records for an organisation remains the same as for the physical objects.

Digital files can be subject to degradation through loss or corruption (bit rot), so the digital files need to be stored in a secure environment where they can be counted and assessed, and where digital conservation and preservation processes can be applied where necessary.

A major concern with digital files is that the technological obsolescence of digital data is higher than other fields. A book that is centuries old is essentially the same as one produced today, while for digital files there is an intricate labyrinth of devices and formats, all of them incompatible one with another.

In addition, digital platforms change and the long chains of interdependence on which they depend are complicated and fluid. For example, spreadsheets have evolved, and many early file formats can no longer be read by the latest spreadsheet programmes.

If you have a large collection of digitised and digital born files we recommend you implement a Digital Preservation solution into your Records and Archives Management. Discover how the Digital Preservation functionality in Recollect ensures your digital content is protected and preserved well into the future.

More information about digital preservation can be found at the Open Preservation Foundation or the information reference data model developed by the Open Archival Information Standards Initiative.
The Open Archival Information System initiative has developed a reference model which can be viewed at the OCLC website (https://www.oclc.org/research/publications/library/2000/lavoie-oais.html).

Contact us for your Digital Preservation solution


The Power of a Collection Management System

If you work for a museum, gallery, archival institution, library or any industry that is responsible for managing and maintaining a special and significant collection of material, a Collection Management System (CMS) could be beneficial for you.  A comprehensive CMS will let you easily manage all the information about each item in your collection and the overall collection as a whole, ultimately providing you better in-house digital asset management. Perhaps most importantly, data created and captured in a CMS during archival and preservation processes can supercharge special collection activities, effectively adding greater results without additional overhead.
While a CMS is an important tool for internal members of your organisation, a really smart CMS will also enable engagement of external communities with features and tools for users, visitors and customers to research and add knowledge to the collection.
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), between 80-90% of enterprise data is still unstructured, living in a variety of siloed organisational systems. If this sounds familiar, then the following points will demonstrate the benefits of using a CMS to make your data more accessible and useable.

1. All Your Data, All in One Smart System

A CMS can house and protect everything you, your organisation and your community know about your collections. This could be in the form of the digitised images, text, audio or visual material, plus the metadata relating to those items, conservation documentation, licences and rights, insurance and valuation, barcodes, cataloguing, loans, publication and exhibition history plus many more pieces of information.
With all your information in one place, new connections can be made between related data of your collections that might not have been known before, creating a thorough research tool for you and your intended users/audience. A CMS takes away the sometimes overwhelming knowledge of collections into an easily searchable database. This allows you to have a complete overview of your collections and ability to see themes and stories that your collections are telling you.
Giving shape to collection-related data inside a unified CMS allows your data to be analysed by business intelligence tools and visualisation systems. Using these powerful resources, data contained in a comprehensive CMS not only provides crucial information for the performance of archival activities, but also becomes a river of information from which internal teams can draw insights into their own processes.

2. Data Enabled Decision Making

Your collections face many risks, from becoming misplaced, damaged due to poor storage, neglect, inappropriate conservation measures or by simply being undervalued. With a well maintained CMS you will have extensive protection and risk mitigation for the collections.
Internally, these benefits are not limited to management tasks, they will help push the collections professional personnel into a new era of data-enabled decision making. According to Joyce Chapman of Duke University Libraries and Elizabeth Yakel of the University of Michigan, professionals working with collections in the current environment "must be intelligent creators, manipulators, and consumers of quantitative data. They need skills in quantitative data analysis and database querying, as well as knowledge of data definitions and data modelling."
A CMS enables the gaps in your collection to be seen visually and where research or acquisition will enhance the quality of your collection. Seeing a collection of related data in your CMS assists curatorial decisions about how your collections are presented to your audience.
 

3. Streamlined Internal Operations

A CMS ensures that data related to provenance, valuation and content of collection items is available to the users that need access in ways that support their activities from accessioning, though to cataloguing, stocktaking and disposal. A smart CMS makes related information available when required, whether this is loan information or high resolution images of the objects and details on the objects, or geotagged data about the locations.
 

4. Enhanced External Engagement

Institutional collections and knowledge can become raw material for any type of creative or commercial endeavour; interactive exhibitions now exist online and in-house, and content creators are scouring the online world for inspiration and supporting material for everything from podcasts to feature films. By creating digital archives and an online presence which encourage discovery, interaction, and re-use, collection holders can foster incredible community engagement and establish rewarding commercial partnerships.
Thomas Padilla of UC Santa Barbara describes three "conceptual frames" which collecting institutions can use their data as an essential engagement point with audiences:
• Generativity – to increase meaning making capacity;
• Legibility – to document and convey provenance and possibility;
• Creativity – to empower experimentation.
Maintaining a comprehensive CMS also pays dividends when connecting to your user and visitor base. By implementing a continuous cycle of uploading compelling digital assets and linked metadata, configuring platforms for crowd interaction, and analysing user behaviour, institutions can utilise their CMS to unlock the valuable knowledge and drive a passionate community of contributors.
Open access CMS allows engagement with your collection by external experts to add knowledge to specific parts of your collection in a completely controlled and moderated environment. Open access also enables volunteers and members of your community to contribute knowledge and history to your collections.
In this increasingly digital world, a CMS facilitates the creation of online digital exhibitions to enhance and promote stakeholder and community engagement. With a well-structured CMS you can provide the material needed to create rich experiences which capture the imagination of online and in-person visitors.
 

5. Choosing a CMS

When choosing a smart CMS we recommend you ask yourself the following questions to make sure you choose the right software for your collection.
Material
What kind of material do you have in your collections and what CMS software will be able to hold them, from digital images, text documents, PDFs, or audio visual material.
Access
Who needs to access your collections? Determine your level of access, is the CMS for a secure in-office data base or do you need a cloud based software that can be accessed anywhere.  This will also factor into your level of security and desired publishing and promotion of your collections. Do they need to be accessed anywhere by anyone or are they private collections only for the viewing of smaller groups of people?
Sharing
Do you want to share your collections with the world? Determine if your collections need the ability to integrate with other programmes and software, eg; social media, google maps, internal database system, etc.
Customisation
What is your desired level of customisation? If you have a strong brand that associates with your collections you need to choose a CMS that allows a high level of customisation.
Resources
What level of technical resources do you have to manage a CMS? Many CMS software packages include a level of support and training to help you manage your collections. If you have in-house knowledge and resources to manage and maintain your own collections you can fully own the operation of your CMS. However, if you have limited resources some CMS packages do have the benefits of access to metadata and collection management experts available for consultation and training.
 

6. Implementing a CMS

Selecting the right CMS is important, but a great CMS that is poorly configured and maintained is a waste of time and effort.
A good implementation starts with discovery, a detailed analysis of user requirements through developing user personas and creating a strong understanding of what and how users need the CMS to deliver benefits. A comprehensive review of the collections, metadata and related information is essential to understanding what can be delivered to the users and what additional data needs to be created to ensure the system is useful.
A well thought out plan that includes project scope, task lists, realistic timelines, risk, issues and communication registers needs to be created and managed effectively.
And finally, the implementation needs to be given adequate resource to allow success.
 

Summary

A smart, properly implemented CMS provides a platform to deliver real increases in organisational productivity, and access to and engagement with your collections.
Contact us if you have questions or would like to discuss your requirements for a smart Collection Management System.
 

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The Principles of Community Engagement

We believe in lasting online engagement within a community, and recognise the principles that need to be considered for capturing past and present information with a view to building identity as well as informing and perhaps setting future direction.
When deciding to invest in an online community engagement strategy, it is important to consider a number of factors to make sure the strategy will succeed. We have put together the following principles which are the building blocks for creating lasting online engagement with a community.

1. Purpose

Tweet: Effective engagement requires a clear purpose that drives the conversations and connections http://bit.ly/1Ps2JgeEffective engagement requires a clear purpose that drives the conversations and connections between individuals and between individuals and organisations.
There may be several distinct purposes for any engagement and they should all be clearly articulated to the user community. The purpose can then be used to channel interactions and remove distractions.
Examples of purpose include:

  • Sharing Knowledge
  • Capturing Memories
  • Building identity
  • Setting future direction

2. Content

Online engagement is driven by content, the users look at content, interact with the content and interact with other users over the content. The content should include all forms of digital assets – documents, knowledge, images, videos, locations, audio, opinions, comments and so on.
Importantly the content must be meaningful, authentic and shared i.e. not from one source.

3. Users

The community are the users – without users you have site visitors who aren’t engaged. New users need to be welcomed and encouraged to participate, and power users need to be identified, nurtured and exploited.

4. User Experience

A key ingredient of effective on-line engagement is the user experience; poor experience drives users away while a great experience builds the community.
a) Make it “sticky”
A “sticky” site is one that users don’t want to leave or want to come back to frequently. This may be because the content is great, the level of interaction or simply the pleasure received from engaging.
b) Create emotion – fun, pleasure, etc
It is important to generate emotion through the experience. This could be pleasure, joy, outrage, nostalgia or any emotion that is appropriate to the site purpose, but without emotion the user has little reason to return.
c) Make it easy to participate
The experience must be simple and intuitive, any barriers to use should be removed or minimised.
d) Friendly environment
Content and interactions should be moderated to ensure that the environment is friendly and welcoming.
e) Create interest groups
Create the opportunity for users to join special interest groups in the community to focus their attention and heighten their engagement.
f) Allow subject tracking and notifications
In a similar vein to interest groups, enable the user to be notified of items of interest to them.
g) Participation creates knowledge and ownership
The act of engagement increases the knowledge of all members and importantly creates a sense of joint ownership and value in the community.
h) Reward users
Interaction must be a rewarding process, users should be thanked for contributions and should receive feedback from their engagements. This could be through a ranking system, notification of views of posts or other mechanisms.
i) Progression of responsibility
As users become more experienced in the community their contribution should be recognised with additional responsibilities such as moderators, editors, reviewers and so on.
j) Take time to go off line and engage in the real world
Finally it is important to recognise that the online world is a reflection of the real world, where possible create some real world engagement to deepen the sense of community. This could be through meetings, conferences, workshops and so on.
Contact us if you would like to discuss creating an effective online community engagement strategy.