Digitization project: A public collection to be preserved and disseminated

In keeping with Québec’s digital cultural plan (PCNQ), launched by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications (MCC) in 2014, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) has embarked on a project to digitize the works in its Collection. This high-priority project, which is in line with the PCNQ’s main strategies for disseminating museum collections and improving accessibility to digital content, will contribute to expanding the museum’s digital offering.

The Musée is in the process of digitizing a body of approximately 1,500 works and upgrading its existing digital files. The work in progress further includes digitizing the collection of video works in order to ensure its preservation, make it accessible to Musée employees through its collections database and thereby facilitate in-house research, while also ensuring that it reaches a wider public. The project has enabled us to digitize approximately 200 video works and select freeze frames for each of them, digitize some thirty video installations and produce audio and video capsules documenting their operation and interactivity. At the same time, we are digitizing the video-documentary collection (over 1,000), audiovisual content (performances, artist talks, symposiums, etc.) and Musée publications related to major events in its programming since it was established in 1964.

Paul-Émile Borduas archives: a priceless treasure

To increase accessibility to the archives of the artist Paul-Émile Borduas, the Musée is currently reprocessing and digitizing them. Borduas was a major figure in the history of Québec and Canadian art, leader of the Automatiste group and lead author of the Refus global manifesto. This project calls for the digitization of around 10,000 documents. Correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, notebooks and lecture notes are among the many items to be reproduced in this form.

Consolidation and upgrade project: Centralizing collections data

Among the activities connected with the PCNQ, the Musée is conducting extensive field work that is essential to managing the data, images and audiovisual content related to its collections, as well as to developing its projects for disseminating the collections and creating digital mediation tools that will help open up many different perspectives on them. This project, which involves the cleanup, standardization and restructuring of the data, among other operations, is aimed mainly at consolidating the information and content drawn from the Musée Media Centre’s database and transferring them to the collections database. The MAC has also developed a means of integrating into its database the management of artists’ archives, a capability it wishes to share with other museums that use the same system. The digitization project will enable employees to use the database to view the collection of video works, access audio and video content related to the works and to various audiovisual content, and consult the Musée’s publications and archival material.

Redesign of the website: (Re)discover the MAC and its Collection

Among the other major digital projects under way, the Musée is preparing a redesign of its website in order to disseminate its collections via the site and provide greater visibility for its educational activities and artistic and cultural content connected with its programming. This project, a key component of our communication strategies, fits into a broader perspective reflecting the museum’s new visual identity. Adapted for all devices (smart phones, tablets and computer screens), the site will offer instinctive navigation centred on quality of user experience.

The collections showcase will display a selection of major works, allowing Web visitors not only to discover or rediscover these works and the artists represented, but also to access a range of enriched content. For research purposes, the Musée will provide a Web directory to its collections and artists’ archives.

Copyright: Contemporary art and digital dissemination

Digital dissemination of cultural and artistic content is an issue of prime importance for a museum whose collection consists mainly of works of contemporary art. In this regard, the MAC’s new copyright management policy introduced in 2015 entails the application of internal procedures promoting good practices and streamlined management processes with respect to the many digital dissemination projects yet to come. In addition, the MAC worked with a committee of representatives of the museum community that drew up a fee schedule for visual-arts copyright royalties. Implemented in 2015 by the Société des musées du Québec (SMQ), which is in charge of administering Measure 24 of the PCNQ, and approved by the Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec (RAAV), this schedule allows museums to establish the sums to be paid to the copyright holders for their digital projects. Bolstered as well by the MCC’s desire to improve artists’ socioeconomic conditions, simplify copyright management mechanisms and boost the presence of works by Québec visual artists on the Web, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Musée de la civilisation, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal reached their own agreement with RAAV in 2016 by adopting a fee schedule extended to cover all uses, including digital, connected with any exhibition project.

MAC Digital Strategy 2015-18

In keeping with the guidelines of the Québec’s digital cultural plan, the Digital Strategy 2015-18 of the MAC presents the principles priorities and goals that will allow the institution to focus its key digitization activities.

Québec’s digital cultural plan

Follow the progress of our digital projects by visiting the Musée website as well as the government platform for Québec’s digital cultural plan, at culturenumerique.mcc.gouv.qc.ca.

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