The collaborative element of the ReInHerit Digital Collection is one of its key characteristics. To facilitate a simple and low-barrier submission process, the submissions are collected via a Google Form. In developing the structure and content of the form, the ReInHerit team faced some challenges, which will be discussed in this section.
The first step in creating the submission form was to consider the planned functions of the digital collection. The data collected via the form would have to allow for the Digital Collection to query the entries and use the files and data to create the desired representations on the finished web page. The ReInHerit team therefore collected all planned functions and created the Google Form questions in such a way that all the necessary data would be collected.
In addition to the usual basic information about the objects – such as dimensions, materials, object title, artist's name etc. – the Google Form also asks submitters to select one of three thematic areas with which the object aligns. These thematic areas are the same as the thematic areas of the three travelling exhibitions – conflicts, craftsmanship and identities. Moreover, each of the partner museums created ten tags – that is, keywords – which allow for further categorizations of each object. The tags have been developed within each partner museum’s thematic area and are intended to provide further context for each digital collection entry, as well as allowing further filtering options. These categorizations serve the purpose of creating filtering systems in the digital collection. More information on the filtering system is provided in the next section.
One challenge in creating the form was to determine an appropriate format for categorizing the period of origin. The period of origin of the objects contributed by each of the three partner museums spanned an extensive time period, which posed the problem of determining time span categories that would reflect the wide range present in the submissions, while remaining clear and not overwhelming for the submitters, and allowing for relatively meaningful and informative categorizations. The time period categories that were ultimately chosen can be viewed in the Google form below.
The form also asks submitters to enter the coordinates for the object’s current location. This serves the purpose of creating map location markings as another filtering option for the digital collection. To determine the coordinates, submitters are directed to a website that provides location data based on an entered address. Asking for the current location information also serves the purpose of reflecting when objects are not physically held at the same location as the submitting institution’s address.
Furthermore, the question of submitting image files and 3D models needed to be resolved. Although Google Forms provide an option of submitting files directly in the form, enabling this option uses cloud space storage inside the account that is used to create the form and requires the submitter to have an active Google account. Additionally, the submission of 3D files would have meant using an even larger amount of cloud storage space and dealing with multiple file formats, as there is not yet a definitive file format standard that is universally used for 3D models. The ReInHerit team therefore decided to outsource the image and 3D file submissions by asking submitters to send their image files via WeTransfer or an equivalent file sending service, and asking to upload 3D models to Sketchfab and providing the respective links to both in the form. This eliminated the need for large cloud storage space and complicated file management.
Finally, the form needed to ensure that copyright issues were resolved for submitted data. Submitters are asked to select one of the provided Creative Commons license models for their submitted object in the form and are asked for consent to use the files in the ReInHerit digital infrastructure as well as outside of this infrastructure separately. Submitters have the option of denying consent to use their submitted objects in advertising. They are also required to confirm that their submitted data is accurate and in accordance with the object’s copyright status.
Learn more about the functions and technical background of the Digital Collection in the next sections.