Stewardship > Collections Management System and Technology


"Better tools must be developed to enable seamless searching and navigation across a complex information space containing catalog records, inventories/registers, and original documents, and also to facilitate the display  of the results in a comprehensible way. Current Internet search and retrieval systems do not appear to be up to the task; they are better suited to an environment of homogeneous data. There are other possibilities. The ANSI Z39.50 standard enables controlled search and retrieval across diverse databases including MARC records, full-text files, and eventually archival inventories/registers. This standard is what makes such integration possible. Perhaps extensions to the HTML and SGML markup languages will be the vehicle for disseminating both descriptive metadata and digital collections in the future."

The Future in Introduction to Archival Organization and Description: Access to Cultural Heritage, Getty Standards and Digital Resource Management Program, Getty Research Institute, J. Paul Getty Trust

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) is an organization dedicated to promoting the widespread adoption of interoperable metadata standards and developing specialized metadata vocabularies for describing resources that enable more intelligent information discovery systems. It has been approved as an ANSI standard, Z39.85-2001, and has been adopted within the Canadian, Australian, and UK governments among others.

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative

"Processing: To make a collection accessible for research, the archivist must gather and analyze information about the collection, physically organize and arrange the materials into a useful order, and create appropriate finding aids so that the user might identify and locate relevant materials. Processing is a comprehensive term encompassing all the work needed to make collections useable and available for research. There are three distinct activities in processing a collection.

  1. Gathering and analyzing information about the collection
  2. Organizing and arranging the collection
  3. Creating finding aids to provide access to the collectionIn practice, processing a collection is a set of repetitive and iterative operations, rather than the discrete sequential steps shown above.

    What is processing?, Getty Conservation Institute


Canadian Heritage Information Network, Canadian Heritage, 15 Eddy Street, 4th Floor, Hull, Quebec, Canada K1A 0M5 T 819.994.1200, F 819.994.9555, E, Toll free 1-800-520-2446 in Canada and the U.S.

Selecting Exercise, Collections Management Software Selection, CHIN, Canadian Heritage

  1. Purchasing Considerations
    1. Purchase a commercial software package.
    2. Purchase a commercial software package and customize to perform functions specific to your institution.
    3. Purchase a development application that provides a basic information and functional structure and develop an application specific to your institution.
    4. Develop a customized system.
  2. System Implementation
    1. List the areas within your organization that will be affected by the new system.
  3. People and Available Equipment
    1. List the people who will use the system and the status of the equipment now available to them.
  4. Determining Requirements
    1. Determine if your staff is ready for the new system. If not, list what has to be done before the system is installed.
  5. Data Conversion
    1. Determine if your data is ready to be converted to a new system. If not, list what has to be done before the system is installed.

Metadata Standards.

Criteria Checklist, Data Management.

Collections Management Software Selection (online course): Criteria Exercise and Checklist.

Products Evaluated, Collections Management Software Review – Comparative Analysis




ADLIB Museum ADLIB Information Systems B.V. Edition 3
Accession™ Oaktree Software Specialists Edition 2
ARGUS Collections Management System Questor Systems, Inc. Edition 3
ARGUS for Windows™ Questor Systems, Inc Edition 1, Volume 1
Artsystems Collections Artsystems, Ltd. Edition 2, Edition 3
COLLECTION for Windows Vernon systems Ltd. Edition 2, Edition 3
Collections-Museum™ Collections, Inc. Edition 2, Edition 3
EmbARK™ Gallery Systems Edition 2, Edition 3
GENCAT Eloquent Systems, Inc. Edition 1, Volume 1
Heritage Resource Database Summa Informatics Inc. Edition 2
Heritage Sentinel Sentinel Computer Consultants Inc. Edition 2
KE EMu KE Software Inc. Edition 3
KE Texpress KE Software Inc. Edition 1, Volume 1
MINISIS International Development Research Centre (IDRC); MINISIS Systems Group Edition 2, Edition 3
Multi MIMSY Willoughby Associates, Limited Edition 1, Volume 2
Multi MIMSY 2000 Willoughby Associates, Limited Edition 3
PastPerfect Museum Software Pastime Software Company & Altamira Press and Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Edition 3
Re:discovery Re:discovery Software Inc. Edition 2, Edition 3
SNAP! for Windows Willoughby Associates, Limited Edition 2, Edition 3
STAR® Cuadra Associates, Inc. Edition 2
STAR® with the STAR®/Museums Application Cuadra Associates, Inc. Edition 3
The Museum System Gallery Systems Edition 2, Edition 3
The Visual Archiver Commonwealth Historic Resource Management Ltd. Edition 3
Virtual Collections™ Innes Collections Management Inc. (GCI Inc.) Edition 2, Edition 3

Managing Collections, Volume Four (Management Practices; Purpose and Policies; Planning and Budgeting; Acquisitions and Significance; Collection Surveys and Condition Reporting; Counter-Disaster Planning), reCollections: Caring for Collections Across Australia, Commonwealth of Australia on behalf of the Heritage Collections Council (2000).

Managing People, reCollections: Caring for Collections Across Australia, Commonwealth of Australia on behalf of the Heritage Collections Council (2000).

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