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Free Museum Collection Management Software

Considerations When Selecting A System

Museum Space Overview – Museum Management Software

Since every museum has different needs, a museum should make a needs assessment before selecting a Collections Management System. The museum should determine what collections processes it needs the system to manage. The museum should also identify who will be using the system and consider such factors as collection size , staff technology skills, and budget/pricing. Another recommendation is to map out both the short- and long-term goals for the new CMS and then determine how the system can help increase the museum’s efficiencies.

Development And History Of Collections Management Systems

Though the goal during the 1960s was to use computers for collections record-keeping for purposes of accountability, MCN Executive Director Everett Ellin warned that museum professionals should include public access as a goal because it would not be worth the effort if museums only create a glorified record-keeping system.” Collections Management Systems have become crucial tools in increasing public access to collections information, expanding the types of information that are recorded. What was once a simple tool for collections care and inventory has become a robust and powerful instrument for saving all information about museum objects,” including interpretive material, digital objects, and digital surrogates. Since some Collections Management Systems now incorporate Digital Asset Management and content information storage, many museum professionals have started to use the acronym CMS to stand for Content Management System.”

Adlib Has Evolved Into Axiell Collections

For over 30 years the Adlib development team has created market leading collections management software. In recent years it became clear that modern cultural institutions require more flexible and accessible software that can be managed through the web and accessed away from the desk.

To address this need the Adlib development team took the best of the Adlib software and evolved it into modern, web-based software for existing and new customers alike. We named this new and improved version Axiell Collections.

Boasting all the features that have made Adlib popular throughout the years, but with a modern web-based interface, Axiell Collections represents the next generation of collections management software.

Its a huge benefit that we can work remotely. We are not dependent on the hardware that is stored in the Museum. I can also give other people access, such as volunteers and students of the Reinwardt Academy, who will help out with the upcoming collection management tasks. One intern recently had an accident and could only work from home. With Axiell Collections she can still do her job thanks to the online service.

Anna Stolyarova, Museum Director

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Three Approaches To Online Catalogues

Three basic approaches emerged from the initiative:

  • Museum System/eMuseum
  • While there are now other solutions in development, these three approaches best characterize the choices made by the OSCI partners. All three share a tripartite process: start with raw collections data transform that data into authored, publishable material and then design a public presentation of that data as a Web interface. It is critically important that core data remains separate from its transformation and presentation, as it allows the institution to change how that data might be publicly presented in the future without having to re-enter it. That same data can also be repurposed for other uses, such as in-gallery interpretations or museum tours using handheld devices.

    The first layer of these tripartite structures is composed of the databases, systems, and documents containing information about the collection and its artworks. The middle layerthe OSCI Toolkit, eMuseum, or Web content management systemtransforms this data, arranging it into the desired relationships. This content is then published to the website, which forms the presentation layer, in predesigned formats and layouts.

    databases 1content management system 2Web interface 3

    Any Device Anywhere Anytime

    Museum Collections Management and Online Exhibit Software

    Wherever you have internet access, you can manage your collections using CatalogIt. Browse, add photosâeven from your phoneâs cameraâand edit your collections via mobile or desktop, across PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.

    Intuitive, User-Friendly, & Accessible

    Intuitive navigation, data entry, searching, and profile creation. Detailed profiles enrich your collections, building and revealing relationships.

    Mobile, Web, & Real-Time

    Access your collections via smartphone, tablet, laptop, and desktop computer. Create an entry on your smartphone and itâs immediately available for you and your team to view and edit from any device.

    Image-Centric Browsing & Viewing

    View and access your collections via images rather than lists of text or numbers. Use the camera in your phone to add images or upload them directly from your hard drive or image folder.

    Multi-User Collaboration

    Manage collections in real-time with your staff and volunteers anywhere, anytime â at the museum, from home, in the office, and in the field.

    A Platform for Engagement

    Easily publish to the Web using the CatalogIt HUB or to your own Website using the CatalogIt API. Include only the entries and data you want to share.

    A Secure, Hassle-Free Solution

    A secure subscription service. No need for special hardware, servers, or backups. CatalogIt uses industry-standard best practices to keep your data secure and accessible 24/7.

    Cloud Based

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    Business Continuity During Covid

    Vernon Systems is fully available during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Our staff are set up to work from home if required, and a portion of our workforce is working from home at any time. As Auckland is going through periods of travel restrictions due to COVID-19, email is the best method of contact as we may all be working from home during some periods.

    We have put in place extended paid sick leave for all staff to ensure they are financially able to stay at home. We are following recommended precautions issued by the NZ government and the World Health Organisation.

    The majority of our internal systems are cloud-based, so please continue to raise support or sales requests are usual. Let us know if you need any more specific help related to impacts from the pandemic.

    The Collections Management Software Solution For Smaller Institutions

    Proficio Elements is collections management software, affordably priced for smaller institutions, with intuitive workflows for managing collections, exhibits, loans, accessions, sharing collections online and more.

    Cultural History Museums

    Efficiently keep track of any collection. Organize archival repositories or curate artwork for future exhibitions.

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    What Customers Say About Our Collections Management Solutions

    take all these disparate, divided groups of data you have in all sorts of different formats at your institution and bring them together so that staff and users, whether scientific researchers or high school students or whomever, would be able to have access.

    Melissa Bechhoefer

    The solution goes with the flow of what archivists do. I find that it handles the complete workflow for an archivist efficiently and effectively. I can get an instant visual representation of the complete archive, which I find extremely valuable, and adding the strong support for managing digital born content, it really is a solution any archivist would benefit from working with.

    Chris Hilton, The Wellcome Trust

    Because Axiells collection management system meets the EU Standard for cataloguing collections we can take a best practice approach to collection management, with a technology solution that supports open data and enables the SFI to manage multiple collections within the same system.

    Mathias Rosengren, MD of Film Heritage Department Swedish Film Institute

    Telling The Story Of Things

    Open to Open Source Collections Management Systems

    CatalogIt is an application for documenting the Story of Things. Each story begins with a single item â where, when, how, and by whom it was made what it was used for and how it came to be where it is today.As an itemâs story unfolds, it is enriched by relationships to other items, people, and places based on shared physical characteristics and history. CatalogIt empowers you to discover these interconnected stories, record them in detail, and present them in an accessible, inspiring format.

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    Where The Cost Is In Free

    There are costs hidden in free. Heres how each of the cons imply cost:

    It often takes experts to implement the free software correctly

    Software implementation takes time and skill. Free software doesnt come with experts to implement the CMS for the museum, though sometimes there are directions. Any strategic decisions or critical workflow questions must be anticipated by the museum and this can lead to bad decisions and implementation pitfalls. Installing and setting up a new museum collections management system also requires technical knowledgesometimes as advanced and as specific as writing query commands in Linux. Additionally, museum staff will have to figure out how to migrate any legacy date from the previous CMS into the free CMS.

    Cost: The cost is lost time and data from bad implementation decisions, and staff time which is usually lengthy as staff are not software experts. Or, the cost of hiring a consultant for support.

    It requires experts to modify or improve the software

    Cost:The main cost is staff time or consultant cost. Theres an additional cost resulting from inability to effectively use the museum collections management system to support income stream activities.

    Only the user community can support software support and development

    The expiration is unknown and the death of a free product can happen suddenly and without exit support

    Why This Museum Software Made The Cut

    OneCause takes care of all the registration, ticketing, and payment for any fundraising event you could dream of, including mobile bidding for charity auctions. When you host a fundraising event to benefit your museum or science center, OneCause allows you to focus on engaging with your members instead of worrying about the technology.

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    What Are The Benefits Of Art Collection Management Software

  • Track status: is the piece loaned out, or on display?

  • More visibility: some web-based solutions even offer an optional mini-site for users to view parts of your collection online

  • Stay maintained: log conservation treatments and keep track of what still needs completed

  • Create reports: make condition assessments, export inventory, download exhibition collection lists, and more

  • Organize storage: manage what is in storage and where

  • Sell online: for artists, some solutions integrate with e-commerce systems like Shopify

  • Mobile friendly: most online solutions are available on desktop, tablet, and most phones

  • Make notes for conservation requests and condition reports

  • Proficio Elements Collections Management Software Features

    Museum Collections Management and Online Exhibit Software

    Leading the charge in the small museum software arena is Proficio Elements, geared towards those with big collections needs and smaller budgets. Created from the feature rich Proficio, the scaled version packs plenty of powerful tools needed to manage your collections. Proficio Elements will keep any size team on top of their stewardship, and in good standing with current practices.

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    We Recommend This To Historical Societies Museums And Artists As It Is An Excellent Piece Of Software

    I own and operate a small non-profit museum in Atlanta, GA, and we were looking for a software package for archiving historical artifacts, documents, and photographs after creating a database on our own.

    In our research, we found that programs were rather expensive, especially for a non-profit. But we couldnt really find a program that suited our needs unless we paid the high price. Then we found ETChster.

    It could do everything we wanted and more, so we got it without hesitation. It has been in use for about 5 months now and each time we add items to the collection we are impressed with how easy it is to archive our inventory.

    Not only is it great for small museums, but for artists as well, to upload and share their work via the database.

    We recommend this to historical societies, museums, and artists as it is an excellent piece of software.

    What Our Museum Customers Say About Us

    Weve found it a really positive working relationship. Axiell is really open to customizing things, working through issues and thinking of new ways of doing things that is really beneficial for us.We are often trying to do things or set up things in a different sort of way and theyve been really open to doing that with us over the years.

    Fiona Moorhead, Collections Information System Manager

    take all these disparate, divided groups of data you have in all sorts of different formats at your institution and bring them together so that staff and users, whether scientific researchers or high school students or whomever, would be able to have access.

    Melissa Bechhoefer

    Our ability now to be online and to have people access our collection in that way to complete research is really helping us to fulfil the mission to the public.

    Paula Destefano, Winterthur Museum, Gallery & Garden

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    What Are Digital Exhibitions

    Many libraries and museums have taken their special collections such as rare books, manuscripts, photographs, pamphlets, news clippings, musical scores and more and have digitized them to create collections of digital assets that can be displayed online through a digital exhibition. Digital exhibits such as these offer unprecedented access to organizational treasures that might never be seen otherwise except by those with local physical access to the museum or library. A new breed of open-source and free software tools has recently emerged making it possible to catalog and manage digital collections and create robust narratives and layouts for display online.

    Free And Open Source Tools

    Dreaming of a New Collections Management System: Episode 5

    However, there are many free and open source alternatives to Contentdm for creating online interactive digital exhibits.

    OmekaOmekais a free, open source web publishing system for online digital archives. Its main focus/strength is producing websites and online exhibitions. Both the Web interface and back end cataloging system are one unified application. Users can build attractive websites and exhibits using templates and page layouts, without having to adjust code, although more robust displays can be created by customizing the CSS and HTML files, and moving around some PHP snippets. Omeka has a plugin available for OAI support to make collections harvestable by major search engines. Although Omeka is a bit more limited than some other applications such as Collective Access in terms of cataloging & metadata capabilities, it allows fast/easy creation of online exhibits through a Web interface, a low learning curve, many plugins with added functionality, and a large developer community.

    Metadata Supported: Omeka uses Dublin Core and MODS metadata, and offers customizable item type cataloging. There are many templates and plugins which offer added functionality such as displaying items on Google Maps, providing LCSH for cataloging

    Hosted Version and/or Downloadable Code Available? Omeka offers both a hosted, Web-based version or the downloadable application which can be installed and hosted on-site by the organization.

    Recommended for: Libraries, Museums

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    Collections Management Software Built By Museum Professionals

    Efficiently keep track of any collection in art museums, history museums, natural history museums, libraries, archives, private and corporate collections through current best practice standards. Organize a manuscript collection, curate artwork for future exhibition, create reports, manage incoming and outgoing loans.

    Choose screens to suit your collection

    Record and track everything

    Hierarchical records for more or less detail

    Create and print Finding Aids

    Track location and circulation

    Choose screens to suit your collection

    Record and track everything

    Hierarchical records for more or less detail

    Create and print Finding Aids

    Track location and circulation

    Information Managed In Collections Management Systems

    In 1997, art historian and museum information studies consultant Robert A. Baron outlined the requirements for Collections Management Systems, not as a list of the kinds of collections object information that should be recorded, but rather as a list of collections activities such as administration, loan, exhibition, preservation, and retrieval, tasks that museums had been responsible for long before the invention of computers, and many modern Collections Management Systems go beyond cataloging by aiding in the management of these processes and workflows. The Canadian Heritage Information Network Collections Management Software Criteria Checklist , which aims to be a comprehensive list of the kinds of information that a museum may want to record in a CMS, organizes that list by processes and actions rather than type of information. The checklist outlines a number of features commonly included in a commercial CMS, which can assist a museum in determining which features have priority.

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    Why Were Forced Into Free: Collections Managers Asked To Do More With Less

    Departments critical to museum operationsyet often not part of the external gloryare: collections management, archives and library, and information technology. These departments are critical to the success of other departments and the public-facing activities the museum participates in, but they are frequently de-emphasized in favor of external-facing departments. Unfortunately, this can have an impact on what collections managers can afford in terms of software. Instead of having the staff and technology necessary to efficiently do business, the museum collections management department is often asked to cut corners or do without. One of the ways this can manifest is the museum asking the collections managers to use a collections management system that is free.

    Watch Collections Management Software Product Demos & Videos

    Museum Collections Management and Online Exhibit Software

    TMS Collections

    TMS Collections is the next generation of the worlds leading collections management software, TMS. TMS Collections, a web-based solution, handles every facet of collections management and seamlessly integrates with web publishing, conservation, and digital asset management.


    eMuseum is a web-based application that integrates seamlessly with TMS to dynamically publish information to your website, intranet, and kiosks.

    TMS Media Studio

    Media Studio is an easy-to-use, powerful Digital Asset Management System that helps you manage your institutions media.

    Collections Care on the Go: Using your iPad to Manage your Collection

    Conservation doesnt exist at your desk, and neither should your object records. Youre always on the go, moving from the vault to the galleries, and even traveling with your objects. Watch how Jamie, a busy conservator, photographs, annotates, and cares for her objects with her tablet.

    TMS Conservation Studio

    Conservation Studio streamlines and organizes your conservation processes in one central, secure place. Users can manage media, conservation reports, research, publications, notes, and other collection data, easily and effectively.

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