The ETHER Initiative is a business unit of RLA which addresses the needs of the heritage sector, with specific attention to the needs of museums.

“ETHER” is derived from the term “ETernal HERitage” and its mission is to provide long-term sustainability for digital and physical elements of museums and other heritage institutions, including heritage sites, archives, libraries, galleries, oral history, and indigenous knowledge systems with a focus on skills development, museum improvement, unlocking collections,

Our product portfolio comprises training, applications, databases, and methodologies, with a strong focus on the interlinkage between schools and museums.

  • ETHER Governance: Development of policies, standards, and guidelines as part of the governance framework for museums, libraries, archives, digitisation, the built heritage, natural heritage, indigenous knowledge systems, and green buildings. Within this offering, we also have some specific services: 
  • ETHER Digital: Conducting and managing digitisation projects and providing digitisation policy and practical support for collections. Teaching of digitisation principles and practices throughout the total lifecycle including digitisation strategy, digitisation skills development, project management, packaging of digital objects, digital repositories, access to digital objects, and trusted digital institutions. 
  • ETHER Inventory: This product supports rapid inventorying, imaging, and valuation of collections, using a workflow structure with multiple levels of quality control. This is the core product used in our GRAP 103 projects. 
  • ETHER Education: We offer a range of training workshops including collection management; digitisation of collections; project management in heritage; governance of heritage institutions; database design and development for heritage; storage management; conservation; and exhibition design. Approximately 300 delegates attended our workshops, from almost 100 institutions. 
  • ETHER Experience: We have a range of tools to support digital interfaces to collections through the Internet including websites, virtual exhibitions, and virtual tour guides.  
  • ETHER Base: Our best-practice collection management system, based on Spectrum 5 international best practice standard, supports a universal data model covering all collections. It has supporting linkage to all major international standards for collection documentation and processes. We are currently engaged with the Collections Trust in the UK, the owners of Spectrum, to get obtain certification of  
  • One-Museum: our newest initiative, which is a trusted search engine which provides access to publicly available museum and heritage holdings from all institutions, available from a web browser, and built up from our ETHER Base collection management system. This has been presented recently at the South African Museums Associate conference. 

For more information please visit our ETHER website