April 11-14, 2007
San Francisco, California

Sessions: Abstract

OpenCollection Web-Based Collection Cataloging and Access Software   go to paper

Megan Forbes, Museum of the Moving Image, USA
Carl Goodman, Museum of the Moving Image, USA
Seth Kaufman, Whirl-i-Gig, USA

OpenCollection is an open source, Web-based collections management and access application created by Museum of the Moving Image and software developer Seth Kaufman for use by museums, libraries, and archives. The application supports the cataloguing of physical objects, media, and native digital content, and is designed to meet the needs of large heterogeneous collections that

  1. have complex cataloging requirements, and
  2. require support for a range of metadata and media formats.

OpenCollection is a true Web application. All cataloguing, search, and administrative functions are accessible via the Internet, using standard Web browsers, and cataloguing and on-line access to collections information is easy, efficient, and inexpensive.OpenCollection is, to the Museum's knowledge, the first software of its kind. It represents an alternative to the expensive proprietary collections management software used by some of the country's largest museums and the ad-hoc collection databases that other institutions construct in lieu of appropriate software.

OpenCollection was developed for the Museum's own use between 2004-2006 with support provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and with the intention that the software would ultimately be made available to museums, libraries, and archives. The software's programmer, independent developer Seth Kaufman, is committed to the software's distribution in this manner.

In early 2007, the Museum will make OpenCollection and its source code freely available under the GNU Public License (the image viewer is now available under the same license). This is being done with the full participation and involvement of independent software developer Seth Kaufman, the author of much of the software's underlying code.

Session: Open Architecture & Systems [Technology]

Keywords: Open Source, Web applications, digital collections, collections documentation, software