B. Simon, Association des Conservateurs de musées du Nord-Pas
The web project of the Association of Curators of the Museums of Northern
Calais (ACMNPDC) was the first in France to demonstrate the potential
of new technologies for information dissemination using the Internet.
It was based on common collections management software and the mutual
administration of a database of a minimal cataloguing record and image
for works of art. The Northern Calais region was chosen in November
1994 as a participant in the European Union IRISI (inter-regional information)
initiative which supported efforts to introduce the "information society".
In this context , the regional museums association (representing the
33 museums of the region) decided to explore establishing a virtual
collection in 1995. As those responsible for documentation of the museums,
the curators had previously undertaken an inventory and a photographic
campaign to protect and assess the collections of regional museums.
In the course of computerizing works of art, twenty of the regions museums
participated in the establishment of a public web site. The objective
of this US$1.3M project was to create a network of about 50,000 works
from all museums - fine arts, cultural and natural history. In order
to focus the project, several themes were selected:
Each institution acquired the "Micromusée" (MOBYDOC) software for PC's
or "M3 Multi Média Muséums" for the Macintosh, except for the modern
art museums which used the "Vidéomuseum" system. The works selected
were given priority in documentation (according to agreed standards)
and photography. A pre-inventory of works to be contributed was prepared.
Photo-CD was used for the images and data was interchanged on disk.
It rapidly became obvious that most of the problems encountered were
organizational rather than technological. They concerned:
- 15th & 16th century painting on wood
- Oceanic ethnographic objects
- old photographic collections
- French painting of the 17th-19th centuries
- Dutch and Flemish painting of the 17th century
- 19th & 20th century French sculpture
- The role of museums - whether they were necessary to the documentation
- Working in situ - which was considered essential by curators
- Standardization - considered essential from the first, but still
not easily achieved
- on-going evolution - of the content, the technologies and the
idea of public access
This file can be found below http://www.archimuse.com/mw98/
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