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University of Oxford Museums and Gardens

University of Oxford Museums and Gardens are the custodians of the University of Oxford's world renowned collections and comprises world famous names

University of Oxford Museums and Gardens

The Client

University of Oxford Museums and Gardens are the custodians of the University of Oxford's world renowned collections and comprises world famous names including the Ashmolean Museum, Museum of the History of Science, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum. The collections embodied within these departments are an essential part of the University’s wider nature and mission. They are part of its heritage as the country’s oldest University and now form a resource of national and international importance for teaching, research and cultural life; they also make a major contribution to the University’s outreach and access missions

The Project

In 2016, the Museums and Gardens (previously Museums and Collections) merged with the Bodleian Libraries to become the new University department; Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM). The University identified that, particularly in the case of Museums and Gardens, GLAM was served by a wide variety of disparate ICT infrastructure, much of which was aging or incompatible with other GLAM systems. 4C Strategies were appointed to assist the University with a project to review and modernise the ICT infrastructure serving the Gardens and Museums to support a new digital strategy whilst preserving the historical environment within the museum buildings. The scope of the project included data centres, servers and storage, networking and telephony, and business continuity / disaster recovery planning.

How 4C Helped

Having previously worked for many University Departments and Colleges, including Bodleian Libraries, the New Blavatnik School of Government and the central University-wide IT Services, 4C Strategies were the natural choice to assist Gardens and Museums with a review of its ICT Infrastructure.

4C adopted a collaborative approach, working closely with both central IT Services staff and Museum staff responsible for the delivery and operation of ICT services. We identified the fundamental ICT requirements by reviewing the digital strategy and consulting with Museums and Gardens personnel to gain a clear picture of current and future requirements. Combined with an in-depth assessment of the current arrangements this enabled us to develop a clear set of development priorities.

We then worked with the current GLAM team to develop a set of preferred systems and standards for all requirements, making use of existing assets which existed within GLAM or the wider Collegiate university wherever possible.

Outcome / Benefits

The primary outcome of the project was a clear development roadmap for GLAM to be able to adopt and roll-out a consolidated underlying ICT infrastructure across all its Museums and Gardens estate and functions. Key highlights of the project are as follows:

  • Existing assets were identified and will be re-deployed or developed wherever possible enabling best return on investment and facilitating a more rapid deployment of common systems and infrastructure;
  • The opportunity to share assets between units is enabling both increased scalability and improved business continuity / disaster recovery arrangements across Gardens and Museums as a whole;
  • The collaborative approach adopted contributed to the cohesiveness of the new GLAM internal ICT team with all applicable team members having the opportunity to contribute to the resultant strategy;
  • 4C’s techniques of documenting and analysing requirements in a clear, concise and easily understandable manner enabled the GLAM team to readily confirm the development priorities and to adopt a clear and focussed development plan.