Bridging the Collection Management System Multimedia Exhibition divide: a New Architecture for Modular Museum Systems
Gabriele Scali , SPACE S.p.A., Italy
Flavio Tariffi , SPACE S.p.A., Italy

Session: Tools and Systems: Multimedia Architectures

A major cause of architectural distress for current museum software systems is the non-interoperability of Collection Management (CMS) and Multimedia Exhibition Systems (MES).

Until today, building an Integrated Museum System has proven to be a particularly difficult task, often leading to unsatisfactory results: we call this phenomenon the CMS-MES divide.

On one side, Collection Management Systems are expected to host a variety of diverse media formats, and lag behind when it comes to granting access to them in ways they were not designed for.

On the other side, multimedia applications deployed inside museums are just static incarnations of ordinary multimedia productions, failing to keep up with the dynamic reality of museum collections standing behind them. To effectively provide improved access and management of multimedia contents, Collection Management Systems and multimedia delivery systems inside museums must be rethought from scratch and designed in parallel, with each other in mind.

The present paper describes our efforts on this subject, which is about to produce a prototype in the frame of the EC financed research project IST OpenHeritage, an Integrated Museum System design easily accommodating new and unexpected media formats and description standards. The CMS backstage application is capable to adapt and provide active online feed to the MES applications built relying on it. The result is a sustainable and alive system, which can be easily adapted when deployed inside a new environment, heavily based on the concepts of distributed objects, scripting and skinning.

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Published: 01/09/01
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Archives & Museum Informatics