SPECTRUM, Do-it-yourself Digitisation and Storage workshops at the Anglo-Boer War Museum, Bloemfontein

Thirteen delegates from various institutions in the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal participated in a week of ETHER workshops. These ran from 16-20 September 2013 and were held at the Anglo-Boer War Museum in Bloemfontein.


The week started off with a 2-day SPECTRUM workshop presented by Roger Layton. SPECTRUM is an established and internationally recognised standard for collections management, and the workshop introduced the participants to full SPECTRUM procedure. The workshop dealt with suitable collection management standards which are vital for the efficient and effective running of heritage institutions. The workshops aimed at giving a practical understanding of the SPECTRUM procedures through group work and discussions. These discussions also focused on optimal methods for collections management documentation and recording, and solutions to manage documentation backlog. Participants were encouraged to look at these procedures within the context of their own as well as other institutions.


The 2-day digitisation workshop, which was presented by Dr Tammy Reynard, dealt with how to create a clear and well-thought out digitisation strategy and suggested best-practices for digitization initiatives for museums, archives and libraries. The complete digitisation cycle was covered: Scoping, Strategizing, Planning, Preparing, Capturing, Describing, Loading, Storing, Accessing and Using. The delegates were all at different stages in their digitization initiatives, but the course provides guidelines to follow before and during digitization projects, and so could be appreciated by all. The workshop helped the delegates examine how they should start their digitization initiatives, from planning, policy and preparation aspects, to what attributes in their current procedures need to be improved.


We ended off the week, with a 1-day workshop on Collection Storage Management,presented by Roger Layton. Storage is a vital element of most heritage institutions. All storage areas require specialised management as part of the larger collection management framework of policies and procedures. This workshop outlined a range of strategies and processes that will help organizations’ to achieve best-practice in storage management, thereby creating the perfect environment for their materials. We dealt with a range of opportunities for storage that are available to museums, archives and libraries on any level of budget. Participants evaluated their own storage systems and discussed what their main problems and obstacles are. Collectively, we dealt with ways of dealing with these problems in terms of documentation, auditing, conservation materials, and storage management strategy.

The week included many festive lunches and teas, as well as a tour of the Museum, which includied a tour the storage areas and an introduction to their online database.


We will be running these workshops again in 2014. Further information will be up on our website soon.

Please contact Gladys Rapatsa if you have any queries or would like to make a booking, or Tammy Reynard if you would like more information about the courses.