Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Open Museum Collection Management (OMCM)

OpenMuseumCollectionManagement (OMCM) is a set of software modules developed by System Simulation Ltd for creating and managing museum object description catalogues, extracting content from these and adding value through tools for generating and editing narratives based on the content. Designed for small museums with little or no specialist IT skills OMCM has been based on established standards for museum catalogues and has the primary aim of aiding the creation of publicly accessible interpretative multimedia content. The display of this content on the Web will provide the museums with a global presence and is the beginning of the economic value adding chain, which gives the OpenHeritage project its major potential for supporting regional economic development. OMCM can run on standard PCs in a museum or be hosted at a TSC supporting a regional group of museums.

OMCM comprises several user orientated functional modules; the main ones are the collection management component and the narrative generation component. The collection management component has been derived from SSL’s MUSIMS (Museum Information Management System) used in major museums in the UK. This follows the UK’s Spectrum2 documentation standard for museums and has interfaces designed for use by museum professionals. For OpenMuseum the MUSIMS system has been entirely deconstructed and then restructured for the OCMC requirement.

The narrative generation component has been developed from SSL’s range of content development tools and provides a simple means of bringing together disparate pieces of information about an object or theme to form the basis of a multimedia production for public access.

Innovative support tools have been developed to underpin the main functional modules. These cater for multilinguality and the wide variety of collection types, which OpenHeritage will be required to support. These facilitate the configuration processes so that museums get software precisely tailored to their needs. Other components support the creation of websites and the delivery of content through websites.

The main goal of OMCM is to provide highly configurable software enabling a wide variety of small museums to create content for the web and attract cultural tourists.

The simplest use of OpenMuseum is to support cataloguing and collection management at a single workstation. Not all the OM facilities are available in this, non-networked, configuration. For anything other than the smallest installations, the networked cataloguing and collection management configuration is recommended with multiple workstations having access to a common OM database. The rest of the OM facilities can be developed on this base. The OpenMuseum Public Access catalogue presents selected information from the OM catalogue database developed via a web interface.

The database can be the same as that managed by the cataloguing and collection management facilities or a copy of it. To provide additional interpretation to the object catalogue, Open Museum offers facilities for content development and presentation. The OM Content development facilities allow the user to create Narratives relating to selections of objects from the OM catalogue.

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