Collections Connect is designed to help institutions in the cultural sector to establish a web presence for their collections information and to use this as the basis for audience engagement.

Our Technical Outline explains how Collections Connect works.


Flexible and automated

The flexible, modular design of Collections Connect makes it suitable for a wide range of institutions – from the smallest local museum with a few hundred object records stored on a spreadsheet to the largest national institution with hundreds of thousands of object records. the process of extracting information for ‘back office’ systems is fully automated and can be configured to run as frequently as is needed, saving institutions time and money when putting their collections online for the first time and keeping them updated.

Integrate, share and comment

The capabilities of Collections Connect are not limited making collections information searchable online. A number of modules have been developed which not only provide links to third party systems – image purchase via an eCommerce system, links to related publications in a library management system of via WorldCat, etc. – but also provide opportunities for users to engage actively. This can range from simple ratings of items to personal “collections” to presenting comments made either locally or via social networks such as Twitter and Facebook (with a range of options for moderation and filtering). The user generated content modules can also be used to crowd-source information about items which can then be fed back in to a collections management system.

Re-purpose your data

From the outset, we realised that the information recorded by curators and documentation specialists in a collections management system is not always applicable to all audiences. That is why Collections Connect allows all extracted information to be contextualised for a particular audience of virtual exhibition. This can include adding information, e.g. links to schools curriculum, editing descriptions to make them more audience friendly and forming custom groupings of objects and media. A major benefit of adding this information within Collections Connect is that it is automatically stored for possible future re-use. it also provides a consistent, fast and flexible machine interface (API) for third party web developers to use to develop new micro-sites or virtual exhibitions. Using Collections Connect to store information does limit the options for creativity when designing new web content!

Share your collections with the world

As well as presenting information directly to end users, Collections Connect comes with an impressive range of options for sharing information with other systems. This includes a Google site map, to allow your collections information to be discovered directly via search engines, tried and tested mechanisms for supplying data to Culture Grid and Europeana and a fully configurable Linked Open Data module.