Two weeks ago, I met and had a coffee with Paul Reynolds when he was down here in Dunedin. I was absolutely shocked to hear of his death this past Sunday. As that was the first time I’d met Paul, although we’d chatted on twitter and Facebook, I am not equipped to talk of him but there is a wonderful tribute here with links to others. It is a great loss for New Zealand.
What impressed me at our meeting apart from his passion and enthusiasm, was his ability to see the ‘big picture’. One of the many things we discussed, was my wish for an ability to search across all public and corporate art collections that are online from one point.
Today I was looking for a specific photograph by Marti Friedlander, so I thought I would give NZMuseums a try instead of go to each gallery/museum/collection website. I came up with two photos, but not the one I wanted. I suspected a copy of the photo I was looking for was held by the Christchurch Art Gallery, but although linked to NZMuseums, they only had 21 searchable artworks.
I then thought I’d give the search functionality at DigitalNZ a go and I got 188 hits that had images and third on the list was the one I was looking for.
Paul Reynolds was heavily involved with Digital NZ and strongly encouraged institutions to get their collections online. I was very impressed by what worked for me today and can only hope the momentum keeps going and more and more items can be accessed in this way.