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Archives & Museum Informatics



Canadian Museum of Civilization collections

Judith Tomlin, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Canada

Session: Demo Session 2

In 1997 the Canadian Museum of Civilization acquired the KE EMu (Electronic Museum – also being demonstrated at the conference) to replace the PARIS database run by the Canadian Heritage Information Network. One of the most exciting parts of this new database for us was the multimedia module. This was a separate module which could catalogue all types of multimedia: photographs, documents, sound and video, link them directly to the artifacts with which they were associated, and at the same time provide a facility to load this information to the internet.

Over a period of seven months, a team of seven staff members with support from at least a dozen more, worked on preparing the data for the Internet.

Tasks included:

? selecting a maximum of 23 fields to be loaded and bilingualizing all text data in these fields

? converting approximately 100,000 Kodak Photo CD images to 3 different sizes of jpeg files

? loading the resulting 300,000 jpegs to the CMC CAIS server

? linking images and records by means of automated programmes run by KE

? creating entry pages, disclaimers, copyright statements, etc.

The site was officially launched in March of 1998.

Special features:

Canada’s national museums must present their information on the web in both English and French. However, artifact records have traditionally been created in the language of the researcher, which has meant at both CMC and CWM, records were primarily unilingual English with a significant smattering of unilingual French records at CMC. To date approximately 60,000 individual artifact records have been put on line in bilingual format with instant switching between languages.

We have not only images but also sound and video samples attached to our records.

It’s live! The information in the web site is not hard coded but goes diredctly against the live databse which we currently update 3 times a week.

External internet access: we have the potential for multilevel access from the exterior; e.g., our new Archaeological Sites module will have both public and password level access to the data. The same access may eventually be provided for external clients to our expanded data base on our intranet site.