The Collections Database is a unique project of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. This arduous task could not have been accomplished without the help of museum volunteers and international interns.
Under the aegis of Dr. Allison Kupietzky, Collections Database Manager, an internship at the Israel Museum assisting in the collections database project has been recognized by universities in the United States and Europe as work in the area of museology and computerization of collections. The museum adheres to international standards and takes part in Pan-European projects, such as Europeana and Wikipedia. Additionally, the Database Project has been recognized by universities in the United States and Europe for fieldwork and internship in the fields of museology and computerization of collections.
To this end, students from the University of Toronto; Barnard College; Stern College; Queens College; the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Cornell University; City University of Hong Kong; and University of Milan participated in 2-6 month summer internships at the Museum After committing to a minimum of 6 weeks, the intern receives an intense weeklong training period in the museum workflow, procedures and database technology.
The intern is partnered with one of the museum departments using the database. A curator then guides the intern on the individual needs and methods employed by the department in cataloguing their collection. The collection database team continues to support the intern through his/her stay. Interns are trained in scanning, database entry, working in curatorial and the Chief Registrar’s departments. They have direct contact with the curators, learn how to work as a team with curators of the various departments in the Museum, as well as become ‘self-starters’ using their newly achieved skills to also work independently, and most of all contribute to the great task at hand-digitizing all the while gaining marketable skills for the future.
This symbiotic relation of ideas, concepts and skills has proven a wonderful basis for cross-cultural and multilingual experience. Many of our past interns have benefitted from their experience at the museum, having acquired positions in art galleries and auction houses among others. Past interns have gone on to become successful art bloggers, been made Director of Art development of the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, and achieved a position at the Joint Distribution Committee archive.
Job Description of Trainee:
The help of interns would be immeasurable to help us complete our task of data input. The skills of the intern can vary for each department has different needs but the most important skill is familiarity with computer and basic computer skill and a desire to learn.
DEFINITION OF TASKS: Connecting images to department numbers or registration numbers: People working for the Visual Resource department need to have English skills and basic Hebrew reading skills. Additionally, research skills are necessary. Interns should be able to pay attention to detail.
• Create image.
• Photographing objects (analog and digital).
For photographing, basic skills in photographing museum objects is needed. However, it is not crucial for the volunteer to have already used digital cameras since they are similar to analog cameras.
• Attach image to text This job includes taking museum catalogs, which already have department numbers or registration numbers, and connecting these images to the numbers that they are missing along with connecting the Visual Resource slide, transparency, and photo to the correct number. When numbers are unavailable, the volunteer needs to research the correct number by looking in the Registration department’s files. Text:
• Translating lexicon terms and index cards We need translations for all of the index cards of the departments from English to Hebrew and Hebrew to English.
• Editing data entry Once information has been entered, we need volunteers to make sure the information was entered correctly and that the numbers correspond to the right object. This includes written text, photographs, and computer files.
• Attach text to images This includes connecting images to registration numbers and department numbers. This process starts with catalogs in existence. Ideally, the missing numbers would be written in the catalogs and placed in the visual resources department where the source image (slide, transparency, photo) will be scanned.
When numbers do not exist on transparencies, research will be needed to find the appropriate number for the object in the image via the registration department.
Sample internship schedule:
We request our interns to be committed to a minimum of 20 hours a week, over a full session of 4 months (spring or fall) or a partial summer session of 2 months. The work hours and days are 8:00 – 4:00pm, Sunday Thursday, during which time you have the ability to build your own schedule. We require this commitment, as there is quite a lot of training time involved by our staff to set you up with the project and a curator.
• English, Hebrew, additional languages
• Artistic background
• Knowledge of collections management and registration practices; some knowledge of art history.
• Previous museum, library, or archival experience desirable.
• Strong interpersonal, planning, and organizational skills; effective problem solving and conflict resolution skills.
• Ability to work well under pressure and with conflicting demands; extremely accurate and detail-oriented.
• Ability to maintain ongoing, effective working relationships with museum staff, colleagues in the field, and the public; demonstrate good judgment, flexibility, and resourcefulness.