Friday, August 08, 2008


Via Digital Koans, I came across an open-source collection management systems called OpenCollection. from their site:

OpenCollection is a full-featured collections management and online access application for museums, archives and digital collections. It is designed to handle large, heterogeneous collections that have complex cataloguing requirements and require support for a variety of metadata standards and media formats. Unlike most other collections management applications, OpenCollection is completely web-based. All cataloging, search and administrative functions are accessed using common web-browser software, untying users from specific operating systems and making cataloguing by distributed teams and online access to collections information simple, efficient and inexpensive.


OpenCollection is intended as an alternative to expensive proprietary software solutions that have traditionally been used for collections cataloguing and publishing by museums, archives, libraries and other organizations.
Having worked for many years in the museum community and had responsibility for the design, care and feeding of a number of collection management systems, this is pretty stripped down. It has very strong support for the linking of media files. At first I thought it was lacking elements to manage those fiddly details that were so ubiquitous in managing physical collections -- storage location, exhibition history, publication history, valuation, insurance, condition -- but once I created a test object through the basic entry screen the other screens became visible to me. The only thing I didn't find (but may have missed) are elements having to do with packing and shipping, which requires very detailed record keeping. I would have also expected to see more on condition, such as the ability to track a treatment history and document treatment, since there are professional record keeping requirements for conservators.

One annoyance -- the OpenCollection product site has this ribbon of images that kept crossing on top of the text and blocking it. I'm not even using Firefox 3.0, so who knows what caused this.

No comments: