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Remote Access to Museum Archives

Objective

The RAMA project offers pilot remote broadband access services to museum archives. RAMA enables European museums to organise their archives electronically on a CPN basis, to offer new multimedia presentation facilities for exhibits, and to make this information available remotely.

After a three year cycle of analysis / architecture / design / implementation / user trials, RAMA enables remote access services for users of museum archives. The pilot activities are accompanied by definition of commercial services and delivery planning. The RAMA services are supported initially by seven museum sites in six EC countries.
The main objectives of the research are to:
offer pilot remote broadband access services using museum archives as sources;
enable European museums to organise their archives electronically on a customer premises network (CPN) basis;
offer new multimedia presentation facilities for their own (and other museums) exhibits;
make this information available remotely.

The research is based on open systems architectures and existing or emerging standards.

Key issues in the research are:
network architecture;
gateway services;
image compression;
common database access;
interoperability of database management systems (DBMS);
multimedia applications.

The research has resulted in:
the development of an overall conceputal model of the remote access to museum (RAMA) marketplace and prioritization of RAMA teleservices;
a review of existing museum CPNs and reference architecture development;
a review of existing wide area network (WAN) facilities at participating museums, a technology survey and initial WAN design proposals;
trial implementation of a Paris Oxford link;
an advanced state of preparation for the Prado Museo Archaelogica link.
Technical Approach

The first year concentrates on requirements capture and technical (open systems) architecture, based on standards such as MPEG-1 and 2, and MHEG, supported by an early ISDN prototype between Ashmolean Museum and Musée d'Orsay.

The second year is dedicated to implementing the first national pilot at three of the seven museums and to surveying the RAMA market. After usability tests the access at 2 MBit/s is now working between the archives of Museo del Prado and Museo Archaeologico National in Madrid. Access is through MS-Windows Common Museum User Interface on a standard PC. A Multimedia prototype is installed at the Museum of Cycladic Art to test the use of digital video and sound in a museum environment.

The third year will be dedicated to interconnecting the seven museums and to defining the exploitation framework to run the RAMA Network with services defined in the second year and refined in the third. An ATM link was tried between the Museo Arqueologico Nacional and an external site in Portugal. Then the RAMA pilot TeleResearch service uses international interconnection between the seven museums, over 64kbit/s up to 34 Mbit/s links.

The fourth year will be used to connect further museums to RAMA, to set up the International Museum Information Network Organisation and to develop a TelePublishing service able to produce Internet publications, CD-ROM, or paper publications. A further study to identify the sectors in each segment of the museum information market will permit offering product portfolios targeted at each segment-related distribution channel and to develop licensing strategies. Then, the museum contents will be commercially exploited by setting up a RAMA company.

Key Issues

- Museum Network architecture.
- Broad band services.
- Image and Digital Video compression.
- Common museum database access.
- Interoperability of multi-vendors DBMS.
- Contents provision
- Multimedia applications.

Expected Impact

The RAMA project is building an international Museum Information Network that is allowing remote access to museum archives for use by researchers, publishers, schools and scientists. RAMA has acquired a high profile in the first three years and is now challenging the Third Millenium Information Society development with a broad access to digital libraries by the public.

Coordinator

Télésystèmes SA
Address
55 Avenue Des Champs Pierreux
92029 Nanterre
France

Participants (10)

Brameur Ltd
United Kingdom
Address
Clark House 2 Kings Road
GU13 9AD Fleet
L-CUBE INFORMATION SYSTEMS S.A.
Greece
Address
2, Mpotassi Str.
106 82 Athens
MUSEE D'ORSAY
France
Address
62 Rue De Lille
75007 Paris
MUSEO NACIONAL DEL PRADO
Spain
Address
Paseo Del Prado
28014 Madrid
MUSEON
Netherlands
Address
Stadhouderslaan 41
2517 HV Den Haag
MUSEUM ARCHEOLOGICO NATIONAL
Spain
Address
Serrano 13
28001 Madrid
Pergamon Museum
Germany
Address
Bodestraße 1-3
10178 Berlin
TELEFONICA SISTEMAS S.A.
Spain
Address
C/sor Angela De La Cruz, 3
28020 Madrid
UNIVERSIDAD POLITECNICA DE MADRID
Spain
Address
Ciudad Universitaria, S/n
28040 Madrid
University of Oxford
United Kingdom
Address

Oxford