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published: April, 2002

© Archives & Museum Informatics, 2002.
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License


MIS: On-line Access to Integrated Museum Archives and Collections for Research
Zachary Christman, USA

Demonstration: Demonstrations 1

Over the last century, expeditions sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (UPM) have produced rich archaeological and ethnographic collections consisting of artifacts, archival field records, and photographs. Founded in 1887 and born of its field research, the Museum has sponsored more than 350 archaeological and ethnographic expeditions on every inhabited continent. There is field documentation in the Archives for a major portion of the approximately 700,000 artifacts in the collections. The UPM archives include over 2,000 linear feet of textual records, including notes, journals, drawings, maps, photographs, correspondence, and over 300,000 photographic objects, which provide the scientific context for understanding and interpreting the artifacts. Museum Information System (MIS) is a pilot effort of the UPM, funded through a Mellon planning project, to present our Archives to an international audience of researchers via the internet.

With this initial phase of the MIS project (available publicly 1 April 2002), we will offer a comprehensive digital index of all objects, documents, and reports from the selected collections. Chosen for this pilot project are the Pre-Columbian cemetery at Sitio Conte, Panama, the Minoan site of Gournia, Crete, and Pech de l'Azé IV, a Middle Paleolithic site located in France. In the creation of such a digital database system, these primary sources have been digitized and indexed for quick examination. It is our hope that researchers will utilize this site to determine the potential of various collections for their own research.