The online cultural heritage space is rapidly growing. A multitude of digital hubs, collections, and catalogues are already available online. Many museums, cultural heritage organizations, and other institutions are digitizing and publishing their collections and objects through various online channels. This begs the question: what is the need for another entry on the list of digital collections?
The idea for the ReInHerit Digital Collection originated from the necessity for the traveling exhibitions to feature digital objects, which would need to be exchanged between the three partner museums. This decision to show digital objects was a main point in ReInHerit’s approach to a more sustainable traveling exhibition concept, as it eliminates the need for costly transports of real museum objects from one country to another. In thinking about these requirements, the ReInHerit team began to develop a concept for an online platform that would offer information and resources about a variety of objects from all over Europe to enable museums to choose suitable entries for their exhibition iterations. In the development process, the concept underwent some transformations. Among others, a key feature of the digital collection that was added to the requirements was to keep it open to submissions from cultural heritage institutions. This would ensure that the digital collection would have the potential to grow and be supplied with a multitude of objects and viewpoints from across Europe.
An essential distinction from existing digital online collections, such as the Europeana collection is keeping the submission process simple while still collecting substantial information and creating an appealing user experience with the submitted object data. Submitting to the ReInHerit Digital Collection should be as achievable as possible for all institutions. Submissions are collected via a Google Form, which is included and explained in the next section. To make contributing even more accessible, the ReInHerit team produced a short video tutorial that shows the whole process from beginning to end.
Another important focus of the ReInHerit Digital Collection is the ability to directly a 3D object for every entry. 3D models are currently becoming more common in the Cultural Heritage space due to the increased accessibility of methods and tools for creating them. It was therefore an essential task for the developers of the ReInHerit Digital Collection to incorporate a 3D viewer into the page layout. Learn more about this and other technical and design-oriented features and functions of the ReInHerit Digital Collection in the next section.