CAA UK 2001 - Abstract

Reaching out: Digital archaeology catalogues at the National Museums & Galleries of Wales
Dr Steve Burrow
Curator of Early Prehistory
Dept of Archaeology & Numismatics, National Museums & Galleries of Wales, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF11 3NP, WALES, UK.

For the past ten years, staff in the Department of Archaeology & Numismatics at the National Museums & Galleries of Wales have created object records for entry onto our Collections Management database. Currently this database contains over 70,000 records. At the start of 2000, work began on making this information publicly available, in a form that the man on the street would find meaningful. To this end, a two-stage program was developed. First, a number of data routines were developed which take our existing academic collection records and translate them into something intelligible to the public. Second, a map-based interface was produced that displays our collections against a road atlas of Wales. The user can explore the map and discover the archaeology of their area, or that of any other part of Wales. By means of a reference number they are then invited to visit us and see the find for themselves. Our public-access system went live within our galleries in mid-December 2000. This paper will outline the scope of our project, the response of gallery visitors to the software interface, and our future plans to disseminate our collections information.

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