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Automated Systems for Archives and Museums: Acquisition and Implementation Issues

TitleAutomated Systems for Archives and Museums: Acquisition and Implementation Issues
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication1989
AuthorsBearman, D.
Secondary TitleArchives and Museum Informatics Technical Reports
Pages88 pp
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedPittsburgh
TypeTechnical Report
ISSN Number1042-1459
Keywordsacceptance, acquisitions, archives, automated system, computerization, computers, digitization, implementation, implementation issues, informatics, maintenance, museums, needs analysis, newsletter, technical report

From the Introduction:

"Automation has come to archives and museums and it is here to stay. The volume of record keeping, about holdings, about membership, about volunteers and about events, assures that we will be increasingly dependent on automation. But the path to increased efficiency through automation is by no means an easy or secure one. It is doubtful that any archive or museum has yet achieved cost savings through automation and for every example of an institution in which functions have been substantially improved through automation, there are several examples of organizations which are still suffering from serious mistakes.

Until very recently, automating the archive or museum required more skills, of different kinds, than could typically be found on staff. That is slowly changing, both because staff exposed to automation is now on board in most organizations and because a commercial marketplace of software for archives and museums has come of age. Nevertheless, the selection of appropriate and adequate software and hardware systems, and their successful implementation, are a major undertaking for any organization. Many organizations, which will have gained some confidence from successfully installing word processing and some off-the-shelf databases or spreadsheets, now find themselves confronting the substantially more difficult task of selecting appropriate membership and development, accounting, collections management, exhibit development or volunteer management systems Unlike the several hundred dol1ar, off-the-shelf package which runs in a generic workstation and is used by one user. These systems cannot be acquired first, and then thought about. Instead the purchaser must have a complete plan for how the system will be employed and deployed. and this plan must be successfully carried out over a period of several years. Not only are substantial sums of capital investment involved, the organization cannot afford to waste the personnel resources that will be devoted to the system, nor can it afford to risk failure in daily operations because poor choices have been made.

This report examines each of the five stages in an information system: planning, acquisition, acceptance, implementation, and maintenance. An overview of the five stages and their principal component tasks is provided in exhibit 1."

Citation Key10387
Access DateDecember 1, 2008