Building audiences through digital collections

On 22nd October 2010 listeners to BBC Radio's History of the World in a 100 Objects series discovered the final item chosen by the Museum's Director to bring the collection up to date. The ‘100 objects' series has been a multimedia success - a radio programme, an illustrated book of the series, television tie-in programmes including one for children - all supported by web content and podcasting.  A key strength of the programme has been that you can view the items being described online (although in fact such is the power of the spoken word that seeing the images is not always necessary).The digitisation of collections seeks to broaden access to, and build new audiences for, cultural collections of all kinds.   In the digital space, new and imaginative virtual collections can be created, offering new interpretations and building audience engagement.This is the key driver behind funded by the European Commission.  One of its latest online exhibitions Reading Europe: European culture through the book, features 1000 rare and fascinating books chosen by the curators of national libraries.  The collection may be browsed by timeline, country of origin, language and subject area.