Project Outline Partners
Project Structure Project Management
North Devon on Disk - Going Live! Timetable
North Devon on Disk - Learning Links Contacts
North Devon on Disk - Weaving the Cultural Web Project News

Project Outline

North Devon on Disk is a joint project between North Devon District Council, Torridge District Council, the Beaford Centre, Devon County Council, Pallas (Humanities Computing) University of Exeter and other groups. The aim is to enable museums, archives, libraries, schools and community groups to build up an interactive, computer-based archive of historical and contemporary information, based around the fascinating collections of Northern Devon’s 10 local authority and independent museums.

The archive is based on the HA2000 software originally developed for Hackney Archives and the National Trust and already introduced at the Barnstaple Heritage Centre and Braunton museum. Working with individual museums, projects are being set up in individual parishes, enabling local history groups, schools, clubs or other organisations to record memories, scan documents and photographs, and digitise parts of museum collections to create a parish-level archive of information.

The creation of the main archive will bring all Northern Devon's museums into the 21st century, incre\asing access to their collections and enabling them to present them in new and exciting ways. Project equipment will remain with the smaller museums, so that the archive can continue to grow in the future.

In addition to the main archive, there are three further elements to the project, based around templates produced for the project. Under the "Weaving the Cultural Web" project, each museum is taking part in at least one community project, enabling project participants to produce "Audio-Visual Stories" on particular themes such as "My Gran" or "My Village", or " Then and Now. Similarly, the "Learning Links" project has engaged primary school pupils in working with Museum Collections to produce content for the archive based on a structured skeleton supplied by the project.

Parts of the archive will be made available over the Internet, through the project website and in partnership with the BBCs History 2000 project. In addition, the "Going Live!" element of the project enables each museum to have its own Website, under its direct control which will be linked to the project site as well as to the 24 hour Museum and the National Grid for Learning.


Project Structure

The Project is focused on individual museums. Each has been supplied with the necessary hardware and software to assemble images, audio and audio-visual stories from their own collections, Learning Links schools projects and Community Projects.

Each museum will create its own database relating to its collections and collecting area. These databases will feed into a central archive in Barnstaple which will provide selected content to the North Devon on Disk website, hosted by Exeter University.


North Devon on Disk - Going Live!

The Going Live! element of the project has enabled the museums of North Devon and Torridge to set up simple websites which they can update themselves. Designed by Project Cosmic, based in Ottery St.Mary, training sessions have been held and an instruction manual produced.

The central idea behind this project was to enable volunteers in very small museums with limited IT skills to have full control over the content and management of their websites. Despite initial trepidation, most participants are now working well with their sites.

This part of the project was made possible through partnership with Devon County Council's Lifelong Learning Department. The project has now been extended to East Devon, with more partnerships planned.

You can see the websites at

Contact Fiona MacKay, Devon County Museums Officer for more information.


North Devon on Disk - Learning Links

The Learning Links project focused on involving schools with their local museums in learning with collections and contibuting to the North Devon on Disk archive. Funding was provided by the Department for Education and Employment under their Museums and Galleries education programme.

The timescale for the project was very short; three schools projects were carried out in the last six weeks of the 1999-2000 financial year. The project was able, however, to buy the necessary equipment and software to enable the continuation of the project with other participating museums in the future.

Three pilot projects were carried out at Lampard Vachell, Forches Cross and East-the-Water schools. Each project focused on collections from a museum collection and enabled children to produce their work in the form of Audio-Visual stories for the North Devon on Disk archive.

At East-the-Water children used the shell and visiting-card case collections from the Burton Art Gallery to work on literacy and numeracy as well as considering the ideas of collections in their own lives. At Forches Cross, children worked with the fossil Barnstaple elephant and other material found nearby to consider issues of time and wildlife. At Lampard Vachell, teenagers with learning difficulties studies Victorian objects from the collections of the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon as well as gathering information about their own homes for adding to the archive.

The Project Coordinator, Anne Davey is currently evaluating the pilots and developing resources to enable the training of more teachers to work with the project. A CD-ROM version of the Audio-Visual Story templates is under development to enable a wider range of schools to take part.


North Devon on Disk - Weaving the Cultural Web

The Weaving the Cultural Web project has been funded through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport / Museums & Galleries Commission I.T. Challenge Fund, with matched funding from Devon County Council, North Devon District Council, Torridge District Council and the South West Museums Council.

The timetable for the project runs from January 2000 to January 2001. Training has been carried out and hardware and software supplied to enable each museum tp begin digitising their collections. In addition, we have employed a Project Coordinator, Lizzie Potter and two Community Project Workers to assist participating museums in supporting community projects. Five different Audio-Visual Story templates have been developed.

The first pilot community projects were set up at Whiddon Valley, a new housing estate in Barnstaple, in partnership with the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon, and at Westward Ho!, a faded Victorian seaside resort, in partnership with the North Devon Maritime Museum. More community projects have been timetabled with the participating museums.

A second phase of activity will involved assembling information from the individual museum databases and making a selection available through the project website, and the creation of Learning Resources.



Steering Group

Devon County Council

North Devon District Council

Torridge District Council

Beaford Arts Centre

Non-Museum Participants

North Devon Athenaeum

North Devon Local Studies Library (DCC)

North Devon Record Office (DCC)

Beaford Photographic Archive

Pallas (Humanities Computing), University of Exeter

Participating Museums

Braunton & District Museum

Burton Art Gallery & Museum, Bideford (TDC)

Combe Martin Museum

Holsworthy Museum

Ilfracombe Museum

Lyn & Exmoor Museum

Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon (NDDC)

N. Devon Maritime Museum, Appledore (North Devon Museum Trust)

South Molton Museum

Torrington Museum

Barnstaple Heritage Centre (Associate Partner)

Mortehoe Heritage Centre (Associate Partner)


Project Management

The Project is managed under the following structure:

Steering Group – Meets quarterly, advises and monitors progress

Project Managers –Monitor and approve individual projects within own district

Education Consultant – Advises on educational content at all stages

ICT Consultant – Provides training & support

Project Workers – Run individual projects, according to agreed milestones, work closely with museums, community organisations and individuals to create high quality resources for the archive.

A Project Manual has been produced and issued to all participating museums and project workers. The Manual is based on exisiting good practice where possible, and includes the following sections:

  1. The Basics
  2. Project Management tools
  3. Management Structure
  4. Mini-Project management
  5. Content Management
  6. Data Management
  7. Equipment Management
  8. Data Capture Standards
  9. Oral History Guidelines
  10. Copyright Guidance

Following sections include software and hardware-specific training notes, project reporting forms and copyright permission forms. We intend to make the manual available over the internet in due course.



There are 2 main elements to the Weaving the Cultural Web project:

  1. To provide HA 2000 databases for each Museum in Torridge & North Devon and train museum participants in the use of the database.
  2. To assist museums in setting up community projects to gather more information, both for the main HA2000 database and for Audio-Visual stories, and to train museum participants in creating A-V stories.

The original plan was to carry out both elements on a rolling programme over the course of the year. As there were delays in finalising the software for the A-V part of the project, we decided to set up the HA2000 part of the project in all museums ASAP. Training sessions were held at the Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon and the Burton Art Gallery, to enable those participants who wished to start digitising to do so.

There is a rolling programme of projects in each museum when our project workers will help participants work with the database and to run projects with community groups. The provisional programme for these projects is as follows:

MiniProjects               Project Worker
  June July August September October November December  
Braunton               Sue
Appledore               Danny
Barnstaple               Lizzie
Holsworthy               Lizzie
Ilfracombe               Sue
Torrington               Danny
Bideford               Lizzie
Combe Martin               Lizzie
Lynton               Sue
South Molton               Danny


The Project Office is at The Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon, The Square, Barnstaple, North Devon EX31 8LN
Tel no: 01271 346747. The Project Coordinator is Lizzie Potter.
The Project Managers are Emma Bond (Torridge District) 01237 476711 and Alison Mills (North Devon District) 01271 346747
If you need to contact our Project Workers urgently they can be reached on:
Lizzie Potter 01271 329570
Sue Hill 01271 890199
Danny Hughes 01805 603201
(Beaford Centre) 01805 624024

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