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Metropolitan museum of art: working in collaboration with artstor

[NOTE: This section is based on interviews with the following staff members at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on July 14-15,2008: Doralynn Pines, Associate Director for Administration; Barbara Bridgers, General Manager for Imaging and Photography; Andrew Gessner, Chief Librarian ofthe Image Library; Peggy Hebard, Senior Financial Manager for Images and Publications; Billy Kwan, Associate Museum Librarian in the Image Library; ShyamOberoi, Manager of Met Images; Julie Zeftel, Museum Librarian in the Image Library.]

In March 2007, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced a “pioneering initiative to provide digital images to scholars at nocharge.” Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Metropolitan Museum and ARTstor Announce Pioneering Initiative to Provide Digital Images toScholars at No Charge,” press release, March 12, 2007, available at (External Link) . What background research, infrastructure enhancements, financial analysis, andinternal discussions led to this decision?

Collections management

The Metropolitan Museum was one of the first major museums to recognize and embrace the potential of electronic management ofcollections information. Working with Gallery Systems, the commercial vendor of The Museum System (TMS) software, Gallery Systems: (External Link) . the museum created a fully automated inventory of objects in the textile collection that was launched simultaneously with the 1995opening of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center. The records, many of which were accompanied by images, provided the staff and public with virtual access to allthe textiles, including those rarely on view due to their fragility. With this momentum, the remaining curatorial departments were brought online one by one asseparate TMS databases. While this aided management of the individual curatorial collections, the goal of a museum-wide database was unfulfilled. Rather thanattempting to merge all the rich but non-standardized information from the separate curatorial TMS databases, the Met ultimately created one additionaldatabase and mapped into it only basic descriptive information from the sixteen TMS databases. This centralized collections database represents the collectionsinformation that the respective curatorial departments have approved for public access.

Digital imaging

Investment in digital technology

At the same time the museum was investing in collections management, it was also developing its capacity for digitalimaging, thereby transforming the capture, management, and storage of object, event, education, installation, construction, and renovation photography. For over twelve years the museum has employed digital imaging consultants to steer planning and equipment purchase and to train and support staff. Center for Digital Imaging, Inc.: (External Link) . This investment in outside expertise has helped alert the staff to industry trendsand developments that may have an impact on imaging operations.

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Source:  OpenStax, Art museum images in scholarly publishing. OpenStax CNX. Jul 08, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10728/1.1
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