Spectrum standard and ICA-AtoM

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lauraste...@gmail.com

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May 13, 2013, 11:35:04 AM5/13/13
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Hello everyone, 

I work in an institution that incorporates an Archive and a Museum collection. We use ICA-AtoM to catalogue our archive collections. I was hoping that I could use ICA-AtoM to begin cataloguing our museums collection. Does anyone have any experience doing this? 

For the Museums collection, I would create a collection level description for the entire Museums holdings. Objects would be grouped together in series. Each series would be made up of item level descriptions, mapping each object in the collection. This would, hopefully, satisfy the levels of description required by ISAD(G) and the museum standard, SPECTRUM. 

I am learning on the job so any advice would be appreciated. 

Best wishes,
Laura 


  

Jessica Bushey

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May 13, 2013, 12:14:12 PM5/13/13
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Hi Laura,

Thanks for posting to the user forum. It is great to hear that you are using ICA-AtoM for a museum collection. What country are you based in? I'd love to know more about how you are implementing the SPECTRUM standard.

All the best,

Jessica

---
Jessica Bushey, MAS
ICA-AtoM Product Manager
Systems Analyst
jes...@artefactual.com

Artefactual Systems Inc.
www.artefactual.com



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Dan Gillean

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May 13, 2013, 1:36:32 PM5/13/13
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Hi Laura,

To add to Jessica's comments:

A SPECTRUM template is something we would love to see in a future version of AtoM, to better support AtoM's implementation in museum settings. Unfortunately however, my understanding is that SPECTRUM is not an open standard - in fact, as far as I can tell, they do not even publicly release prior versions of the standard. As the Collections Trust site states,

All registered users of Collections Link are licenced to download, copy and distribute the SPECTRUM standard, but they may not develop products or services which may be deemed to compete commercially with the products or services of the Collections Trust, its partners or affiliates.

As an open source application committed to maintaining a culture of open exchange, we are as such unable to create a template for this standard, as it would be deemed competition for the partners and affiliates of Collections Trust. Even if we were to acquire a license with Collections Trust, the licensing of AtoM would likely conflict with that of CT, as we license our software under the GNU Affero General Public License. Find out more about AGPL and how it supports free software here: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/agpl.html

If you are committed to conforming to SPECTRUM via AtoM, your approach thus far is sound, and crosswalking the two standards will likely help you proceed. I would recommend contacting Collections Trust to determine exactly what you can and can't do if you wish to proceed further down this path.

I would also strongly recommend that you consider working with an open standard that will meet your needs, such as VRA Core, "a data standard for the description of images and works of art and culture," that is freely available and hosted by the Library of Congress. Find out more:

http://www.vraweb.org/projects/vracore4/
http://www.loc.gov/standards/vracore/

VRA Core is somewhat more focused on visual art, but is flexible, and is a standard we at Artefactual are very interested in implementing in AtoM in a future release. I know that at the moment, members of our user community are investigating this possibility - another one of the exciting benefits of open collaboration.

Regardless of how you proceed, I wish you the best of luck, and would love to hear about how it all turns out.

Best,

Dan Gillean
AtoM Product Manager / Systems Analyst
Artefactual Systems, Inc.
www.artefactual.com




 

lauraste...@gmail.com

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May 16, 2013, 9:59:47 AM5/16/13
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Hi folks, 

Thanks for your feedback. Jessica, I am based in Scotland. I'm happy to send you an update about how I'm getting on. My approach is still very much in the planning stages so there's not much to show at the moment. 

Dan, thanks for providing links to VRA Core. My institution is part of an accreditation scheme, endorsed by Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS). Part of the scheme includes support from a mentor who seems keen for us to adopt museums cataloguing software across our collections. Unfortunately her choice of software is extremely pricey and, as a charity, not something we could afford in the near future. I will look into the VRA Code and find out if that's a standard supported by MGS. That could be a potential alternative for myself and my colleagues to investigate. 

Best wishes,
Laura 

Dan Gillean

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May 16, 2013, 1:30:36 PM5/16/13
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Hi Laura,

I wanted to add a few more suggestions for you to investigate. Please take a look at the Visual Resource Association Foundation's Cataloguing Cultural Objects content standard, another open standard that might guide your practice. It can be implemented using several different data exchange standards, including VRA Core, as well as CDWA Lite.

You can find more information on the CCO standard here: http://cco.vrafoundation.org/index.php/
The standard is available here: http://cco.vrafoundation.org/index.php/toolkit/cco_pdf_version/
Or in book form (2006): http://cco.vrafoundation.org/index.php/about/news_events_entry/258

Categories for the Description of Works of Art (CDWA) is a metadata standard, described by JISC as defining:

...categories for use in describing and accessing information about art, architecture or cultural objects, along with any related images. It includes more than 500 categories or sub-categories, thirty-six of which are identified as 'core'. In addition to the full standard, there is also CDWA Lite, a simplified version, encoded as XML and compatible with OAI-PMH. CDWA is closely related to the content standard Cataloguing Cultural Objects (CCO), which provides guidelines on how information should be entered into selected CDWA and VRA Core categories.

Find a freely available online book on CDWA here: http://www.getty.edu/research/publications/electronic_publications/cdwa/index.html

CDWA Lite information here: http://www.getty.edu/research/publications/electronic_publications/cdwa/cdwalite.html
PDF of the CDWA Lite Schema specifications here: http://www.getty.edu/research/publications/electronic_publications/cdwa/cdwalite.pdf

Finally, in around 2010 CWDA Lite was harmonized with the museumdat schema, to create a new XML-based harvesting schema called Lightweight Information Describing Objects (LIDO). Find more information about LIDO here: http://network.icom.museum/cidoc/working-groups/data-harvesting-and-interchange/what-is-lido/

As you can see, there are significant alternatives to SPECTRUM out there, that will ultimately make your data more exchangeable - and future-proof, since the specifications are open. First establish your chosen content standard, and then what metadata standard you would like to use to support this.

If your museum has even small budget for software acquisition to support this, I will put the following out there - Artefactual Systems, working on an open-source and community based business model, aims to work with our community members by implementing development contracts for AtoM that benefit the entire community. One option for your institution, instead of purchasing an off-the-shelf solution or trying to force museum data into an ISAD(G) template in AtoM, would be to approach us off-list (via in...@artefactual.com) about the possibility of developing a template to support one of these content standards, and/or the ability to import/export in your chosen metadata exchange format. This can be accomplished by partnering with other institutions who are interested in the same goal, reducing development cost burdens for all - and once it is developed, as an open-source application it will be freely available to other institutions (who then contribute to its improvement), and we carry forward all the maintenance in our future versions.

Another great part of open-source software is that you can always arrange for your institution to undertake this work yourself: all our code is publicly available and free to examine, use, modify, improve, and distribute. Our github repository is available here: https://github.com/artefactual/atom and we maintain a developer's user forum for more technical questions here: https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en&fromgroups=#!forum/qubit-dev

Whatever method you choose for moving forward, please feel free to post us an update here in the future.

Good luck,

Dan Gillean

AtoM Product Manager / Systems Analyst
Artefactual Systems, Inc.
www.artefactual.com




Mark Smith

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May 3, 2017, 6:11:02 AM5/3/17
to AtoM Users, lauraste...@gmail.com
Hi Laura

I came across this discussion thread from a few years ago and was hoping I might ask you about your experiences with AtoM.  I work in the Shetland Museum and Archives, and we are trying out AtoM (and Archivematica) at the moment, with a view to using it for both our archival and museum collections.  We currently use CALM for each collection, but AtoM appeals for various reasons - not having to pay for CALM licenses, the ease of putting records online etc.  I work on the archives collection, and AtoM seems to fit the bill for what I need to do, but I'm keen to learn more about how people have got on when using it for museum artefacts.  

It'd be great to hear about any insights you have.

Mark Smith
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