The Integrated Museum Information System (project POLEMON)
Complete description (ps.gz file)
The very aim of the POLEMON Project, entitled "Co-ordinated Informatics Services for the Documentation, Management and Promotion of Cultural Heritage", was the creation of an Integrated Museum Information system for implementation at national level, together with an information system for the National Monuments Record.
The main structural and functional features of the Integrated Museum Information System are as follows:
- The functions performed by the collections management system are compatible with those laid down by the Museum Documentation Association (MDA).
- The cultural documentation system supports the development of evolving knowledge bases with dense conceptual links. It contains a general data for cultural model for cultural data, in addition to derivative specialist data models for the domain-specific scholarly documentation of the main categories of artefacts in the Benaki Museum collections. Documentation of matters relating to these artefacts (materials, techniques, producers, places, subjects) is also cateredfor. This model is compatible with - and in fact subsumes - the data model set by the Committee on Documentation of the International Council of Museums (CIDOC/ICOM). Beyond the Benaki Museum, it will be of use as a starting point for a wide range of domain-specific databases.
- The cultural and management documentation systems are reciprocally linked.
- The information desk retrieves data of all types from the cultural and management documentation bases; for educational and information purposes it displays them at pre-set levels of detail. Design and pilot implementation are undertaken for this subsystem.
Given that functional complementarity between the two systems is desired, they have been developed within a common methodological framework. The overall makeup of the two systems is congruent as far as information and functions are concerned. In particular:
- They both manage a formalised data corpus, which serves the needs of basic documentation and enables basic management tasks ("management documentation") to be carried out.
- They permit the development of specialist scholarly databases, to be used in storing the results of cultural research ("cultural documentation").
- They handle a variety of documentation material (photographs, plans, maps, documents etc.).
- They support terminological thesauruses.
- Data held on them can be used in "external" applications to which they have access (e.g. catalogue publication, interactive multimedia, land registers, monument preservation programmes etc.).
- They can be linked up to national and international cultural information networks.
- SIS (Semantic Index System) has been used for the development of both systems, so as to ensure their interoperability, high performance and smooth future development.