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A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You building an acceptable conservation module JP Brown Jessica A. Johnson DucPhong Nguyen.

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Presentation on theme: "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You building an acceptable conservation module JP Brown Jessica A. Johnson DucPhong Nguyen."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You building an acceptable conservation module JP Brown Jessica A. Johnson DucPhong Nguyen

2 October 17, 2007 Introduction  Creation of a user work group resulted from a discussion between the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the NMAI on mutual progress on conservation development.  Set up meeting of Washington Metro area EMu users (and the Field Museum) to discuss the possibility of working together on standardizing requirements.

3 October 17, 2007 Purpose of user work group Arrive at a core group of conservation tabs which will form a revised conservation module, rather than each institution sub- classing the current module.

4 October 17, 2007 Features of user work group Heterogeneous institutional backgrounds Heterogeneous conservation specialty backgrounds International (but English-speaking) Communication facilitated by email and

5 October 17, 2007 Time line  August 2005: first meeting held at NMAI (Suitland, MD) to discuss collaboration on a new Conservation module. Participants included: The Field Museum; NMAI; NMNH Anthropology; USHMM; Winterthur Museum Results: Agreement on treatment work flow as focus for developing common requirements  October - November 2005: the group gathered in Chicago at the users meeting and talked to other museums. High level of interest encouraged us to take the discussion public via V.1.0.3 specs were posted on V.1.0.4a specs were posted on

6 October 17, 2007 Time line (cont.)  May – September 2006: V.1.0.4b specs were posted on This was the final release for discussion.  October 2006: Next-to-final specs were released by KE.  December 2006 – January 2007: Testing of new Conservation module by NMAI  March 2007: Release of new Conservation module as part of KE EMu 3.2.03  April 2007: Implementation of new Conservation module at NMAI.

7 October 17, 2007 Initial findings of user group Three sets of activities: Preventive conservation activities/condition surveys. May be on regular schedule or one-off Data level varies: ‘done’, ‘scores’, statistical quantities. Condition/treatment records for individual objects: Detailed text data, images, analyses. Management: Additive quantities, requests, authorizations, scheduling.

8 October 17, 2007 Stages of treatment/condition documentation Conservation layerManagement layer Catalog/ownership dataRequest for treatment Description Treatment proposal(s) + estimated costs As-received conditionSign-off/Approval Treatment stepsCost/time of treatment Post-treatment conditionActual cost Recommendations/requirementsApproval

9 October 17, 2007 Unclear issues  Non-digital assets (x-ray plates, etc.)  Push/pull of dimension/materials data to Catalog? Reduce redundancy.  Granularity of measurement/requirement fields  ‘Analysis’ Motivation for analysis varies (poison test, chloride/solubility test, compositional analysis) Recording granularity varies from a detected/not- detected checkbox through to large numerical data files.  Relationship to Catalog Module ConsRec-Catalog is 1-1 or 1-m ? What about single treatments carried out on batches of objects? What about multiple treatments on single catalog record?

10 October 17, 2007 Non-digital Assets Tab

11 October 17, 2007 Push/Pull?

12 October 17, 2007 Granularity

13 October 17, 2007 Analyses

14 October 17, 2007 Problems of user work group :(  Slow (hard to maintain momentum)  Not all users familiar with KE-EMu  KE ‘draw the GUI’ design model  No public KE-EMu ERD

15 October 17, 2007 Benefits of user group :)  Cost-effective for us and KE.  Ease overhead costs (for KE, perhaps?)  Standardize field names and design Facilitate communications among different EMu customers Simplify data exchanges (if any)  Slowness can be a good thing.

16 October 17, 2007 Lesson learned  Don’t strive for unanimous agreement. Set a reasonable goal; even a 50% agreement is good enough.  Be flexible.  Involve knowledge area experts!!! Don’t rely on technical experts only.  Cut through the chase: focus on commonalities.  A time period spanning two user groups worked well for us – one for public kick-off after the initial meeting, and the next for momentum and wider consultation.

17 October 17, 2007 NMAI Conservators learn about the Conservation Module

18 October 17, 2007 Collaboration to Win Them Over  Conservation had been using some kind of database since 1999  EMu provides a lot of information not previously available to Conservation  Conservation wants others to see our data  Thought a lot about workflow  Tried to make EMu screen entry as similar to old database as possible  Didn’t force changes – made collaborative decisions with staff on screen layout and new tabs

19 October 17, 2007 Some facts…  Previous database was in SQL  At time of final migration, there were 10,000+ Treatment records  Also migrated 900+ Treatment images  Currently has 10-15 users, up to 25 through the year

20 October 17, 2007 Record type Use Record Type to control tab switching so relevant tabs are displayed based on specific values.

21 October 17, 2007 Common fields in both Catalog and Conservation. Compromise to collapse data during migration, rather than keep them parsed. Compromises

22 October 17, 2007 Document multiple types of authorization: curatorial and conservation. Authorization layers

23 October 17, 2007 NMAI customization Goals and Rationale address NMAI-specific data needs. Damage report, records a response to catastrophic event; revised from original Word document

24 October 17, 2007




28 With time and practice, everybody’s happy.

29 October 17, 2007 Questions?  JP Brown, Associate Conservator, Anthropology, the Field Museum,  Jessie Johnson, Senior Objects Conservator, NMAI,  DucPhong Nguyen, CIS Project Manager, NMAI,

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