History of museums and databases: The development and implementation of a museum collection information system
The purpose of this study was to show how a museum collection information system could benefit future planning and preparation of tracking collections and be beneficial and useful to museum staff for the purpose of exhibits, labeling, off-site loan and collection storage in a museum. The history of museums and databases is researched. A history of collection information systems in museums and the progression is viewed. A Collection Information System (CIS) of a museum is reviewed. The methodology that was used for CIS, data dictionary, and human resource architecture are all reviewed to show the progression and the developmental stages of the system. The human-resource architecture was essential in researching the staff functions pertaining to the collections that would be computerized. A survey was conducted to determine the museum's general computer use with specific interest in computer use for the collections. The survey gave statistical analysis of the number of collections entered into a online system, either the museum's Collection Information System or a stand-alone independent system. The documentation of computer use for collection management and for exhibits was surveyed. The results of the survey included documenting exhibits on/off site that require a large a number of staff members. Reports are quite numerous and standard in form. Recommendations included the use of computers for repetitive tasks such as documentation of collections and reports. Planning a system with clear objectives and strong leadership is critical to success.