To inspire new customer engagement with the collection, and as cultural attitudes towards technology continue to evolve, NGA sought to innovate with technology to enable staff members to have access to the 98% of the collection that is never available to be displayed. At the heart of this innovation is the delivery of digital, collection-related content in a way that both enhances traditional, on-premises experiences, and drives outreach to new ‘virtual’ visitors online.
The technology innovation challenges were aligned with the following objectives set through a digital asset management project at NGA. The project was born out of the Digital Art Education and Access Initiative, part of the NGA’s strategic plan, identified to deliver on two key objectives:
- Preserve, protect and manage the National Art Collection: One of the identified benefits of a digital asset management solution is to reduce wear and tear on the Gallery’s valuable collection. Moving art in and out of storage increases the risk of damage, and with one of the largest collections of delicate prints and drawings, even sunlight can pose a damage risk. Digitising these works of art enables them to be viewed without exposing them to these risks.
- Increase access to the National Art Collection locally, nationally and internationally: Once digitised, content becomes accessible. It can be grouped into collections, in which derivatives of various resolutions are automatically generated, including lower resolution copies for the Internet, social media and device viewing, as well as high-resolution versions for print media.
Delivering on these objectives required a powerful digital asset management system that was able to deliver robust and easily configurable workflows as well as integrate into the existing collection system to reuse the existing metadata. This system needed to scale to support the 34TB of existing digital assets, as well as the 50 TB of additional assets that were likely to be generated in the first 18 months.
After an extensive EOI and RFT process, the National Gallery selected Lateral Minds, an experienced Sydney based ECM consultancy to deliver the solution, based on Lateral Minds’ Digital Media Centre, an application powered by Hyland's Alfresco platform.