Documentation Standards

Promoting and identifying relevant standards for museum work

Objectives

  • From documentation and information management to knowledge sharing and management
  • Community sourcing with working group members and museum professionals
  • Collaborating with Software providers

More about DSWG’s plan of action and information of the previous conferences.

DSWG  aims to act as a point of liaison with relevant bodies and initiatives which develop standards of relevance to museum documentation.

We will encourage museums and developers to take into use standards and recommendations which are developed, maintained and supported by CIDOC Working groups or other relevant bodies.

We work with museum experts, academics and software providers and aim to increase understanding and communication between different disciplines.

Read more about the history of the Documentation Standards working group and its people.

What do we do?

The Documentation Standards Working Group would like to understand how much time museum staff spend copying-and-pasting, or retyping, information into different systems whenever they lend or borrow objects. We have created a short (8-answer) survey to try to answer this question. If you work with loan-related documentation, we urge you to fill it in. You  can access it here.

Initial results were presented at the CIDOC off-site meeting during ICOM 2022 in Prague, on 25 August; you can read them here. However, we welcome further submissions – the more data the better! – and responses received before 7 October 2022 will feed into presentations at a Collections Trust webinar on EODEM on 13 October 2022 and, hopefully, a presentation of EODEM at the autumn meeting of the Fachgruppe Dokumentation of the Deutscher Museumsbund.

In addition, the Documentation Standards Working Group has currently three ongoing projects:

Exhibition Object Data Exchange Model (EODEM).

EODEM project outline and resources

Every year, museum staff manually copy the details of thousands of objects from their databases, and send them to other museums that wish to borrow those objects. The borrowing museums’ staff then manually copy those details back into their own systems. The EODEM project aims to make the whole process much quicker and simpler by establishing a  framework that will enable museum databases to export objects’ data from one system at the press of a button, and import the data into another system as easily as possible. The system will include information to identify and describe objects (e.g. identification number, name, date, etc.), and to record their display requirements (e.g. temperature, RH, lux, handling, security, etc.).

The public beta version of EODEM, in the form of a profile of the LIDO standard for museum data exchange, has now been released, and we strongly encourage developers of collections management and related systems to start developing EODEM importers and exporters so that, with their help, we can resolve any remaining issues before the final release of version 1.0. By doing so, developers will also help their clients save time currently spent on the unnecessary re-entering of object data.

Checklist for Museums for better software procurement

A meeting between museums professionals and software developers in 2018 identified the need for museums to offer more realistic specifications and tender documents when procuring collections management systems and other software. The CIDOC DSWG was seen as a good neutral platform where both parties could further the issue, to their mutual benefit. The project will start with initial research on existing procurement guidelines. After identifying and analysing them, we will have a better idea of how much work there is to do, and whether it needs to be divided geographically.

An Encyclopaedia of Museum Practice

The Encyclopaedia of Museum Practice (EOMP) is a multilingual description of museum documentation. It is a collaborative Wiki writing project with 8 contributing language groups.

 

Contacts

Maija Ekosaari, Finland (EODEM and Checklist for better procurement)

ekosaari@iki.fi

Rupert Shepherd, UK (EODEM) https://rupertshepherd.info/

I can be contacted via https://rupertshepherd.info/contact

Jonathan Whitson-Cloud, UK (Encyclopaedia of Museum Practice)

jwhitsoncloud@gmail.com