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#UKRGTate – From the Outside, Looking In – Working with Registrars

05 September 2014

This post is a round up of the recent brilliantly attended #UKRGTate event, for Power Point presentations from this event check out our resources section on the UKRG website.

Jane Knowles, UKRG Chair – Welcome
This event started with a warm welcome from our UKRG chair Jane Knowles, who informed attendees of recent UKRG updates; including the development of a new corporate package, forthcoming committee roles and constitution changes. Jane also commented on the recent DCMS  indemnity update relating to loan agreements.

Ben Sullivan, KE Software – Migrating the Royal Armouries’ CMS
The presentations kicked off with Ben Sullivan who provided insightful talk on data migration along with case studies from working with the Royal Armouries.  Some of Ben’s points are outlined below:

  • ‘What is it’ – ‘a procedure to move data from 1 system to another’. Complex planning and thought goes into the planning process of data migration, it is not an automatic process and should not necessarily be tied up with a data clean up exercise.!
  • ‘Who is responsible’ – normally this is a team, from Data / Collections manager, IT technical staff, software suppliers. Within this and almost always the Project manager role is key to the successful delivery of data migration.
  • ‘How is it done’ –  Several carefully planned stages incl analyses of all data sources, looking at high priority data, creating a mapping document, agreeing on scope and price, developing migration scripts through to acceptance, testing process and going live.
  • ‘Why is it important’ – Saves time and resources.  However, user acceptance is imperative. 
  • Case study – Royal Armouries – Large diverse collection, on multiple sites, the old records held lots of descriptive content, which for the relevance of the collection, did not want to loose.  There are over 150,000 records in total which had to be migrated to EMU, the data migration part presented 30 % of the budget.   The resulting migrated data should lead to better information management.

Ann Dumas, Curator, Royal Academy – The Registrar in the exhibition process
Ann provided an illuminating talk on the registrars role from the curators perspective, highlighting the creative possibilities brought about by this working relationship which balance practicalities such as lender and display requirements with curatorial vision.  Ann’s talk was structured around a number of RA exhibitions, many of which she worked with the UKRG chair Jane on.  One of these exhibitions was the RA’s 2010 Van Gogh letters exhibition. The letters, little loaned before are highly light sensitive and comprise of writing as well as verbal illustrations.  Ann went on to describe the challenges from the outset of organising this exhibition and secure the loan of the letters, through which the RA Exhibition Manager played a key role and was involved in decisions on the design and display as well as the transport and installation planning.  The initial securing of the letters for loan included the RA Exhibition Manager and Conservator visiting the lender and viewing the letters to come up with suitable display proposals.   The outcome included letters displayed on screens, in order to accommodate the volume of visitors as well as letters being displayed in upright cases under the required lighting conditions.

Carol Warner , Manager, Government Indemnity Scheme – GIS and the Registrar
Carol gave personal introduction to attendees, noting her relative newness to the role with just 4 months in post.  The talk provided a reminder as to the volume of applications and the turnaround pressures to the indemnity team; with applications from nationals having a 5 day turnaround while non national applications require longer time frame of 3 months as further checks from the wider team are required. The team have received 500 new applications from Nationals and 150 new applications from non Nationals since January 2014.

Carol also ran through who works in the indemnity team who form part of the Acquisitions, Exports, Loans and Collections Unit which comprises of Carol who responsible reporting GIS figures and forecasts to Parliament as well as dealing initially with claims, Olivia Basterfield who deals with applications from non nationals while Anatasia Tennet oversees the team and authourises indemnity applications with a value of over £1 million.   

We were also reminded on the background of British Government indemnity, which formed part of the 1980 Heritage Act, provids an alternative to commercial insurance, providing nail to nail cover, it can be used for short and longer term cover of up to a 3 year period of cover,  it may on a case by case basis be used for research purposes, however, as with all applications, the public benefit must be clear.

Carol provided some reminders on common mistakes in indemnity applications, asking attendees responsible for applications to: make sure your totals add up,stop quoting the MLA on your applications and make sure the due diligence checks are undertaken by an authourised person.

Carol rounded off her talk with a reminder of the forthcoming indeminity report deadlines for Nationals to DCMS, stating Natioanls should expect an email from GIS team on 19th September with the deadline for responses on 10th October.  Carol also noted a few key GIS updates as follows :

  • GIS review took place last year, involves looking into minimizing risk following increased use
  • Recent new policy on Conditional Exemption and reinforcing guidance
  • Frequently asked questions are being compiled and will be presented or sent out in due course

Michel Letendrie, Crown – The Registrar and The Shipping Agent 

Samantha Cox
UKRG Web Editor