Title:Serendipity and readability: Building an engaging online collection site with limited resources
Authors:Paul Rowe, Jennifer Taylor Moore
Publication:MW18: Museums and the Web 2018

The Sarjeant Gallery is a small regional gallery in Whanganui, New Zealand. The Gallery does not have its own Web development or IT staff. The Gallery looked for engaging ways for visitors to browse their collection without assuming a prior knowledge of the collection contents. How could the collection be presented so that general visitors could make the most use of it? What interfaces could be used without requiring the Gallery staff to spend significant time reworking the existing cataloguing records and images? What areas were worth focusing on with the limited time and budget available? With the new website, the Gallery had three broad aims: introduce innovative features, make the site as accessible as possible, and meet current technical best practice.

The Sarjeant Gallery staff were open to prototyping and experimentation and worked closely with Vernon Systems to see what might be possible with their collection data. Key fields of basic collection metadata are combined to create natural sounding sentences that are easier to read. Automated analysis of the collection images provided us with further options. The Gallery has received many positive responses to the site. Visitors are delighted by new discoveries as they browse artworks of similar colors and explore based on the subject keywords added by Google's Cloud Vision tool. Interesting connections between works from different artists and periods are emerging based on the colors, shapes, and image orientations detected by the computer vision tools employed on the website.