The Virtual Museum of the Pacific

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The Australian Museum’s ethnographic collection consists of 110,000 objects from Indigenous Australia (33%); Pacific (50%) and Asia, Africa and the Americas (17%). The Pacific islands collection comprises approximately 60,000 objects and is the largest collection in an Australian public museum. This Collection is of international importance to several communities with complementary interests:•Indigenous communities have a specific interest in preserving and strengthening their cultural heritage both in the host countries and wherever the communities have migrated to.
•For anthropologists access to collections, regardless of location, is key to the understanding and preservation of artefacts of many geographically dispersed collections.
•The general public can learn from and contribute to the body of knowledge which will develop from having an active online community..Coming from this perspective, the Australian Museum is developing tools for unlocking this collection. The Virtual Museum of the Pacific (VMP) is one such initiative. VMP is an innovative tool based on qualitative, collection database content to navigate through the AM’s Pacific Collections and thus increase access. The pilot project due for completion in October 2009 trials the application of concept lattices to the navigation, display and annotation of an initial 400 objects from Australian Museums Pacific Collections. The presentation will showcase this project and explore broader issues including tagging and annotating, user generated content by the broader Pacific creator and diasporic communities and Intellectual Property issues.


Keywords: Digitisation, Access, Community Involvement, Social Media and Annotation, Virtual Museum
Stream: Collections
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Vinod Daniel

Branch Head, Cultural Heritage and Science Initiatives, Australian Museum
Sydney, NSW, Australia


Melanie van Olffen

Technical Officer, Anthropology Collections
Cultural Heritage and Science Initiatives, Australian Museum

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Dion Peita

Collections Coordinator, Anthropology Collections
Cultural Heritage & Science Initiatives, Australian Museum

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Prof. Peter Eklund

Head of Postgraduate Studies, School of Information Systems and Technology, The University of Wollongong
Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia


Peter Goodall

Research Associate, Australian Museum, University of Wollongong
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Prof. Amanda Lawson

Dean, Faculty of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong
Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia


Ref: Z09P0171