Online access for all : museums and the quest to share collections with the public

Material Information

Online access for all : museums and the quest to share collections with the public
Smith, Chloe ( Dissertant )
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Art museums ( jstor )
Copyrights ( jstor )
Digital images ( jstor )
Image files ( jstor )
Images ( jstor )
Metadata ( jstor )
Museums ( jstor )
Persona ( jstor )
Photographs ( jstor )
Websites ( jstor )
Museum techniques
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


My research project explores how museums can use the internet to provide greater access to collections information and images, while also keeping within budgetary constraints. Because they can afford to, many large museums use their own websites to share their collections online. Museums with smaller budgets and fewer employees can make their collections available to the public online in a similar fashion for a relatively low cost with the use of online repositories and networks, and standardized metadata. Online repositories and networks aggregate data from many museums and make their collections available in one place. For my project, I surveyed museum collections’ staff and did case-study evaluations of museum websites. The primary purpose of this project is to enhance object protection while still fulfilling an educational goal. By allowing more access to digitized objects, the important cultural property in museum collections can be handled less and we can reduce their risk of damage. The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, at the University of Florida, in Gainesville, received a grant in 2008 from Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to digitize and share their collection on the web. For my project I prepared a set of about 8,400 images from the Harn Museum for uploading to a shared online image network called the eMuseum Network®. This included standardizing the images and determining which ones would be made available in the network. I also helped prepare a plan for the Harn Museum to attach informational metadata to their image files. I use my work at the Harn Museum as an example of how smaller museums can better share their collection without the risks normally associated with allowing physical access to the collection. I generated procedural documents that detail how the Harn Museum should prepare their digitized collection to be uploaded to the Gallery Systems eMuseum®. They include the procedure used for standardizing the images, guidelines for attaching identifying metadata using Adobe Bridge, and the procedure for protecting those images that might be copyrighted or otherwise outside of the Museum’s legal control. The project includes an overview of the problems facing museums that attempt to share their digitized collections online, and how the use of repositories and networks can positively affect museums in this process.
General Note:
Museum Studies terminal project.
General Note:
Project in lieu of thesis.
General Note:
Advisor(s): Glenn Willumson
General Note:
Includes bibliographic references (leaves 54-56).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
913471519 ( OCLC )


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2009 Chloe Elizabeth Smith


A CKN OW LED GEM EN TS ........................................................................ .. 3

A B ST R A C T .............................................................................. .. 4


1 INTRODUCTION.............................................................. ....... 6

2 HISTORICAL OVERVIEW.........................................................14

3 THE PROJECT..................... ................. .................. ......... 19
Copyright Considerations on the Web........... .............................25
Visual Artists' Rights and the W eb ................................ .............31
Metadata & Museums ................ ........................................ 34

4 CONCLUSION ................... .................. .................. ... ......... 40


A DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT SURVEY ....................................41

B PROCESSING IMAGES ................... ........................................ 46

C WEBSITE SURVEY................... ............................................... ...48



R E F E R E N C E L IST .......................................................................... 54

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ............................................... 57


I thank my chair and members of my supervisory committee for their guidance, as well as

my parents and family for their encouragement. I would also like to thank the staff of the Samuel

P. Ham Museum of Art for allowing me to work with their collection.

Summary of Project Option in Lieu of Thesis
Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Master of Arts



Chloe Elizabeth Smith

May 2009

Chair: Glenn Willumson
Major: Museology

My research project explores how museums can use the internet to provide greater

access to collections information and images, while also keeping within budgetary constraints.

Because they can afford to, many large museums use their own websites to share their

collections online. Museums with smaller budgets and fewer employees can make their

collections available to the public online in a similar fashion for a relatively low cost with the use

of online repositories and networks, and standardized metadata. Online repositories and networks

aggregate data from many museums and make their collections available in one place. For my

project, I surveyed museum collections' staff and did case-study evaluations of museum

websites. The primary purpose of this project is to enhance object protection while still fulfilling

an educational goal. By allowing more access to digitized objects, the important cultural property

in museum collections can be handled less and we can reduce their risk of damage.

The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, at the University of Florida, in Gainesville, received

a grant in 2008 from Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to digitize and share their

collection on the web. For my project I prepared a set of about 8,400 images from the Harn

Museum for uploading to a shared online image network called the eMuseum Network. This

included standardizing the images and determining which ones would be made available in the

network. I also helped prepare a plan for the Har Museum to attach informational metadata to

their image files. I use my work at the Har Museum as an example of how smaller museums

can better share their collection without the risks normally associated with allowing physical

access to the collection.

I generated procedural documents that detail how the Ham Museum should prepare their

digitized collection to be uploaded to the Gallery Systems eMuseum. They include the

procedure used for standardizing the images, guidelines for attaching identifying metadata using

Adobe Bridge, and the procedure for protecting those images that might be copyrighted or

otherwise outside of the Museum's legal control. The project includes an overview of the

problems facing museums that attempt to share their digitized collections online, and how the

use of repositories and networks can positively affect museums in this process.


Museums are obligated to maintain a balance between two seemingly opposing goals:

protecting collections from damage while also allowing the public their rightful access to the

objects. By digitizing and sharing collection information on the web, museums continue to

protect the collection while providing the public with the opportunity to interact with museum

objects. In 1999, James Clifford fantasized about a tool that lets the public go online into a

shared museum search engine, find an object, and instantaneously connect to information from a

wide variety of museums and other collecting institutions.' Only a small percentage of a

museum's collection is exhibited for the public at one time, while the majority is kept in storage

and unavailable to visitors. And even though the digital realm can be a safe and educational

environment for museum collections, too few museums are able to share their digitized

collections this way due to a lack of staff time and the high costs associated with digitization.

Barring access to collections will mean these objects are often not used to their full potential.

Museums clearly need to provide increased access to the rest of the collection and collection

data. Researchers could use searchable online repositories or networks to view objects from

many different museums, and see the research of many curators at once. This kind of online

access would facilitate research with museum collections, as well as reduce the risk to the

physical collection.

In an e-mailed survey I conducted with the members of the American Association of

Museums Registrar's Committee list-serv (RCAAM@SI-LISTSERV.SI.EDU), it was discovered

that staff at most museums are feeling pressure from the public to digitize and share their

' James Clifford. Computer Fantasies for Museums. In Registrars on Record: Essays on
Museum Collections Management, ed. Mary Case (Washington, D.C.: Registrars Committee of
the American Association of Museums, 1999), 207-214, see p. 210.

collections on the Web. The Digital Asset Management Survey [Appendix A] included questions

first about the museum's size and scope, then about digitization of the collections, and finally

about the kinds of concerns the registrars had regarding sharing digitized museum collections on

the Web. I chose to contact this particular group because registrars are often in charge of issues

relating to digital asset management in museums. The survey sample is therefore composed of

those registrars who chose to respond to my questions. Although only ten museum employees

answered my survey, I was content with the range of collection sizes represented since the

purpose of the survey was to help determine how museums of various sizes are dealing with

issues relating to access to digitized collections. The responses allowed me to compare different

procedures and philosophies on digital asset management in museums. All of the respondents felt

there is a need for consistent and thorough digitization of museum collections. This tells me that

museum registrars are already considering digitization an important aspect of collection

stewardship, although many museums are still striving to achieve this goal.

In the Digital Asset Management survey I asked about the procedure for responding to

image access requests from within an institution, as well as from the public (researchers, etc.). In

the questions regarding image access within an institution, I found that most museums receive

frequent requests from curatorial, education, and most often public relations and marketing

departments. I found that nine of the respondents reported occasional to frequent requests for

image access. There was a general trend towards more informal procedures regarding image

access in the museums with less staff in the registration department, regardless of whether the

request came from within the institution or from the public. This is probably because staff time is

necessary to provide access to digitized objects, and staff time is not always available. So with

less time to respond to these requests, less formal procedures are sometimes necessary. Even if

the object has already been digitized, the resolution of the digital image and copyright status

need to be checked before the image can be given out. With so many other responsibilities,

collection staff doesn't always have time to quickly respond to requests for image access and

use. It's easy to see how procedures can become informal in these situations, even while

recognizing the need for a more formal process.

Eight of the respondents stated that museums should provide access for the public to

collection images, yet they all acknowledged the difficulties related to digitization in museums.

Some of these difficulties, especially those involving staff time, could be alleviated by sharing

collection images and information on the Web, yet only two of the respondents reported allowing

the public substantial access to images on their own museum's website. Only one respondent

reported a plan to eventually provide access to the entire collection through their website. Some

of the respondents seem to view repositories and networks as another viable option for sharing

collections on the Web. Three of the institutions have already uploaded some collection

information to repositories or networks, despite having few images on their own website. This

suggests that they may not be able to afford an online catalogue on their website, but they have

still been successful with sharing their collection online.

Although none of my respondents had their collections fully digitized, and it would be

safe to say that few museums do, this does not mean that providing access to a collection through

digitization is not a worthwhile goal. This survey told me that even with few resources it is

possible to share a digitized collection on the Web if digitization is considered a priority by

museum staff. Few museums are working with an excess of money and staff, yet some of the

respondents working in museums with just one collection staff member have been able to

digitize at least parts of their collection and provide some form of online access to that

information. These registrars can be happy knowing that their institution's collections are getting

the visibility they deserve, helping scholars, and staying safe from harm.

I concluded from the survey that museums of all sizes are feeling pressure from other the

public to share their digitized collections. Smaller museums tend to allow more access to image

files within their own museum, and they often deal with external requests on a case-by-case basis

rather than with a formal process. These same museums also reported concerns about image

access and misuse of images, suggesting that a more formal process would help protect digital

assets and assuage the apprehensions of collection staff. While the survey responses showed

concerns about the loss of control over digitized objects, respondents also showed the desire to

serve the needs of researchers and the public by making collection images and information

available on the Web.

The increasing popularity of the Internet has already allowed some museums to use their

individual websites to share collection information with a worldwide audience, while other

museums are still struggling to reach this goal.2 Because this kind of online access requires

either staff time or funding (and often both), how can museums with few staff members and

small budgets share information on the Web? And how can they do it both affordably and safely?

These smaller museums are finding that online catalogues require too much regular maintenance

and are often too costly to create and upkeep. As information about the collection changes, the

website needs to be updated. New objects need to be added regularly and programming issues

have to be dealt with in a timely manner. Without the expertise or time to create and keep up an

online catalogue, and without the budget to hire outside help, the prospect of sharing a collection

online can be difficult for museums with fewer resources.

2 Herminia Din and Phyllis Hecht. The Digital Museum: A Think Guide (Washington, DC:
American Association of Museums, 2007), 267-277.

Some museums are finding online repositories and networks to be more practical ways to

share their collections on the Web. These are controlled by a third party who collects images and

information from many museums and organizes it to make it available and searchable online.

Some organizations encourage the sharing of information between museums, libraries and

archives, so that researchers can quickly find information from many sources at once.3

Repositories and networks have a similar use, but they each work with data differently.

Repositories store data, while networks access data already stored at the source museums. This

means that a repository doesn't require extra server space for the museum contributing data, but

information may become out of date. With a network, the museum needs server space to store

the data, but the information will be automatically updated as the museum makes updates in their

electronic database. Networks and repositories function similarly for users, and the end results

are the same. Because of this, they will be treated in this paper as the same kind of technology

despite their technical differences.

Repositories and networks are almost always created with research and education in

mind. They have the explicit goal of making more detailed collection information available on

the Web, and because of their collective nature they are much more useful to scholars. A

repository or network makes the collection information of many museums available. This kind of

collaboration makes the information from each individual institution that much more relevant to

researchers and the general public. Because the images and information are usually

downloadable, repositories and networks facilitate the use of this information in research. These

projects strive to provide a richer variety of information than individual museum websites can


3 "MOAC: Community Toolbox."
(accessed November 10, 2008).

Many collaborative repository and network projects have been intended to advertise the

research possibilities of the collections involved, such as the Visual Image Access (VIA)

catalogue at Harvard. This was a project that localized the many sources of visual images and

information at Harvard into one centralized database, and involved the cooperation of the

Harvard University Art Museums, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and

the Harvard libraries and archives.4 The VIA catalogue was specifically meant to allow access to

digital images and information so that researchers would be more aware of the available

resources at Harvard. The VIA catalogue project serves as an example of how repositories and

networks can stimulate and facilitate research.

Since most museums don't let scholars freely wander in storage, viewing museum objects

can be time consuming for researchers and stressful for museum staff. Normally when a

researcher wants to work with museum collections they deal directly with the registration staff to

gain access to the objects they want to study. A scholar would need to first inquire at many

museums to discover if they have objects in their collections that could prove useful in their

research. They would then need to make appointments with the chosen institutions to see these

objects, which takes up staff time and puts the objects at risk. In general, the fewer people

allowed access to an object, the safer the object will be; but museums have an ethical

responsibility to make their collections available, so hiding them in storage indefinitely is not an

option. Although scholars and museum staff inherently share the common goal of preserving

museum collections, objects are put at risk every time they are accessed and moved.

By digitizing and sharing museum objects in a network or repository on the Web, the

number of requests for physical access to objects can be reduced because researchers can peruse

4 Robin Wendler. The Eye of the Beholder: Challenges of Image Description and Access at
Harvard. In Metadata in Practice, eds. Diane Hillmann and Elaine Westbrooks. (Chicago:
American Library Association, 2004), 51-69, see p. 52.

museum collections before having any contact with staff or objects. The use of repositories and

networks makes the process of finding objects to study much simpler because it allows

researchers to work on their own to sift through museum collections. When they do need a closer

look, they'll have a better idea of what institutions have objects they want to see, and they may

already know quite a bit about that particular object and similar ones in other collections.

Through digitization and sharing in repositories and networks, collections can be protected while

also being included in valuable research opportunities.

Repositories and networks are cheaper and better options for museums with fewer staff

and less funds for a website catalogue. While individual museum websites might great public

relations tool for those museums that can afford it, they only present the information of one

institution and thus fall short of the educational possibilities of a repository or network.

Repositories and networks often require nothing but your own digital images and matching

information (such as artist, title, descriptions, provenance, etc.). Some even provide free tools

and support to help provide access to digitized collections for smaller museums without the staff

or budget to work on their own. These tools include digital asset management systems and image

editing software, as well as technical support for museums attempting to join the repository or

network. Repositories and networks are controlled by third parties, so upkeep is minimal for

museum staff. And because they are collaborative in nature (many museums contributing to one

large set of data), they also help museums fulfill their educational missions by making their

collections information more readily available to the public.

In order to present object information in an easily retrievable way, most repositories and

networks must use metadata to sort the information associated with each digital image. Most

people are familiar with the metadata that is recorded on home movies and digital photographs.

When the image or recording is viewed, the date and time are automatically displayed, and this

information is embedded in the file as metadata. Even though metadata is used every day in

museums (in ledgers and electronic databases), digitized metadata isn't something many

museums currently consider necessary for their image files. Because of the versatility and

durability of metadata, attaching metadata ensures that image files are associated with the

appropriate information regardless of where the file goes or what happens to it. Having this

information attached to image files is a key step in uploading images to most repositories, and

also the most costly and time-consuming step for museums to undertake (which is possibly why

metadata not a priority for many museums).5

5 Toshiyuki Takamiya. How to Make Good Use of Digital Contents: The Gutenberg Bible and
the HUMI Proj ect. In Kyoto International Conference on Digital Libraries, et al. 2000 Kyoto
International Conference on Digital Libraries: Research and Practice: KyotoDL 2000:
Proceedings: November 13th-16th, 2000 (Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. Los Alamitos, Calif.:
IEEE Computer Society, 2000), 347-349.
Ogawa Shimpei. Report on the Provision of Contents of Kyoto University Digital Library and Its
Method of Digitalizing Rare Materials. In Kyoto International Conference on Digital Libraries,
et al. 2000 Kyoto International Conference on Digital Libraries: Research and Practice:
KyotoDL 2000: Proceedings: November 13th-16th, 2000 (Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. Los
Alamitos, Calif: IEEE Computer Society, 2000), 350-357.


With the rise of the Internet in the 1990's, websites became a popular way to promote

museums and their collections. Museum staff realized the communication potential of sharing

information on the web, and visitors quickly began to expect collections information to appear

along with the museums' hours and rates. Possibly because these same visitors had become

comfortable using online library catalogues where information is available at the touch of a

button, they began to expect similar accessibility from museums and other collecting


Library websites are often more useful for research because of this accessibility, while

museum websites serve more as advertising for the institution. Libraries and archives with online

catalogues tend to network with other organizations, making their entries more plentiful and

more relevant to researchers.7 However, museum websites with online catalogues often present

no more than basic "tombstone" information about their objects, and they are generally

expensive to implement. These sites usually provide no links even within one collection and

certainly do nothing to reference sources outside of the collection. Rather than providing a high

quality educational resource for researchers and the public, these websites are more of a public-

relations tool.

Online repositories and networks are another new and useful alternative for museums

trying to share their collections on the Web because they provide collections data from many

institutions at one localized access point. Although these tools may seem new to many museum

employees, they had already begun to surface in discussions at museum technology conferences

6 Angela Spinazze. Museums and Metadata: A Shifting Paradigm. In Metadata in Practice, eds.
Diane Hillmann and Elaine Westbrooks. (Chicago: American Library Association, 2004), 38.
7 Spinazze, 37-50, see p. 42.

by the mid 1990's.8 Repositories and similar networks of shared museum data tend to provide a

greater depth of information. When searching many museum collections at once it's easier to

make connections between different kinds of objects; users are able to see notes from many

different curators (making the information less homogenous). The information relating to the

objects becomes more relevant as more data is added to the set.

Some early repository projects were successful and helped pave the way for future

collaborative online projects. The Consortium for the Computer Interchange of Museum

Information (CIMI) began a project in 1995 to create the Cultural Heritage Information Online

(CHIO).9 This was meant to be a multi-institutional database incorporating different kinds of

digital objects (from museums, libraries, archives, etc.); the primary goal was to have these

objects and documents available on the web in an easily accessible database.

The CHIO project uncovered some basic problems with online repositories and networks

for museum collections: the subjective nature of museum catalogues, and issues of

confidentiality. When gathering the data for CHIO, It became clear that the information was

highly subjective, and therefore it was difficult to predict what vocabulary users would be

looking for. That was especially a problem when attaching metadata to files, because it was

necessary to standardize the terminology in order for computer programs to sort the information.

While one curator may have one description for a museum object, another (even in the same

institution) may disagree. For example, one may refer to a pot as a "vessel" while another may

call it a "vase." This underscores the importance of standardized terminology, and projects like

the Getty Data Standards and Guidelines. Programmers at CHIO also dealt with the problem of

confidentiality and restricted information. While curators were happy to have their internal

8 Suzanne Keene. Digital Collections: Museums and the Information Age (Oxford, England;
Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann, 1998), 7-8, 98-107.
9 Spinazze, see p. 41.

databases record donor information, it was clear that this should not be part of CHIO. Overall

CHIO was a successful project, and it helped to underscore the importance of standards in

museum practice.

There have been other successful projects relating to online collections access through

networks or repositories in the U.S. One example is the Museums and the Online Archive of

California (MOAC). This project started in 1997, when several museums approached the

California Digital Library (CDL) about sharing their collections in a collaborative online

resource. With a grant from IMLS the CDL was able to create an online repository where

California museums could upload collections information.

The MOAC online repository is free to the public and still available online, along with

some free tools that can help museums care for their digitized collections. The highlight of these

resources for museums is a free Digital Asset Management Database (DAMD) that works with

FileMaker (a common program used in museum collection management).10 This free Digital

Asset Management Database helps organize a variety of digital assets (everything from pictures

to music to html documents), and also provides the tools to automatically attach metadata to the

images in the database. These systems are often very expensive, so providing one for free helps

any cultural institution that wants to properly care for their digitized objects.

Outside of the U.S., some countries have found that government-funded national

collaborative projects like CHIO and MOAC are useful both for researchers and for helping to

protect the cultural heritage of individual nations. The Canadian Heritage Information Network

(CHIN) was created in 1998 to help unify and protect the information supplied by Canadian

museums." The creators of CHIN described the program as a "meta-center."12 Because CHIN

10 MOAC Community Toolbox
" Keene, see p. 98.
12 Spinazze, see p. 44.

functioned as a network, data was regularly updated from the individual sources. If information

about an object is changed in the source institution's database, the CHIN information will update

as well, making maintenance easier. The CHIN project eventually became the Virtual Museum

of Canada, which not only houses collections information from a variety of Canadian museums,

but also serves as an access point and tool for museum staff to interact and share ideas between


Australia had a similar network project, called Australian Museums and Galleries On-

Line (AMOL), begun in 1999.14 Originally this network was meant to be a service for museum

employees. It created the space for an online community and made it easier for museums to

interact and share ideas. They offered free web-space and tools to help museums contribute

collection information to the web. 'The Australian government also created the Collections

Australia Network (CAN) in 2004, which took any museum collection information from AMOL

and merged it with the online catalogue of CAN. Although the search function of the Collections

Australia Network doesn't provide users with any advanced search options, a simple query will

provide many visual examples of the search term. For example, if you search for "doll," you get

a variety of children's' toys, indigenous artifacts, and fine art examples of the search term.

The Collections Australia Network provides some level of public access to 80 different

Australian collecting institutions with minimal government funding. The Australian government

gave roughly $145,000 to CAN in the 2007-2008 fiscal year, and state/territory governments

13 The Canadian Heritage Information Network "Virtual Museum of Canada." The Canadian
Heritage Information Network, (accessed February 10, 2009).
14 Spinazze, see p. 45.
15 Commonwealth of Australia. "Collections Australia Network: Australian Cultural Heritage
Collections Online." Commonwealth of Australia. (accessed
November 10, 2008).

gave an additional $96,000.16 This is not a tremendous amount of funding for a program that

should prove very useful to researchers and the museum community. To compare, the Institute of

Museum and Library Services (IMLS) gave $31,505,420 in grants to museums in 2006.17 Not all

of these grants would have been specifically for digital asset management, but many of the grants

awarded by the IMLS involve digitization.

Even in situations where funding might be available through grants or donations,

museums may still struggle to provide safe online access to their digitized collection. The

concerns expressed in my survey about access to digitized collections related to staff time and

cost, although many respondents seemed aware that this kind of access is helpful for researchers

and can bolster a museum's public image. There are issues beyond the actual digitization of

objects, and even with some of the technical help associated with using an online repository or

network, museum staff members still have to decide what to share and how to share it.

16 Commonwealth of Australia. "The Australian Government Budget 2007-2008."
Commonwealth of Australia. (accessed
November 10, 2008).
17 C. Manjarrez, C. Rosenstein, C. Colgan, E. Pastore. Exhibiting Public Value:
Museum Public Finance In the United States (Washington, DC: Institute of Museum and Library
Services, 2008), p. 54.


The Harn Museum received a grant in 2008 from IMLS to help digitize and share their

collections online using Gallery Systems' program eMuseum and the eMuseum Network. This

project was justified in the grant with information from the Harn Museum's Futures Conference,

held in September of 2002. At the conference, seventy community leaders discussed the future of

the Museum, and access to digitized collection on the Web repeatedly came up as an issue. The

conference showed that the community wants the Museum to utilize new technologies because

they see the possibilities for the Museum's educational mission. The eMuseum and eMuseum

Network will allow scholars more access to the Ham Museum's collection, and will also aid the

Museum staff and docents in planning educational tours. Docents can use the eMuseum to get

more information about certain objects, which can help them decide what to focus on when

speaking with visitors to the Museum. The program also allows University professors to create

packages of objects for classes, so that certain objects are available during lectures and for

students. With funding from the IMLS, the Ham can now step into the 21st century and begin to

provide online access to their collection with the use of eMuseum and the eMuseum Network.

The eMuseum works with the Harn Museum's current database, The Museum System

(TMS), to create an interface where the Harn Museum's digitized collection can be shared via

the web. It provides templates and is capable of pulling information directly from the TMS

database. The eMuseum in itself is a great tool for museums using TMS because it makes

creating an online catalogue a much easier task. The eMuseum can also function as a network,

allowing users to upload information which can be viewed from a localized access point.

The eMuseum Network is a network which allows many museums to contribute and

share their collections information online, although the public cannot access it. Hosted by the

prominent museum software company Gallery Systems, the Network allows users to view

digitized collections of other partner institutions.18 The eMuseum Network is free for museums

to join, and allows users to share images and the corresponding information with other registered

users. The Network does not require the user to own or use the eMuseum, although having the

program does make it easier to upload information.

The purpose of the eMuseum Network differs from other examples of repositories and

networks, which were often meant for researchers and the general public, because it seeks to

foster partnership amongst museum professionals. Only institutions who are content-providing

partners may use the system. Although this could prove helpful to museum professionals looking

for certain kinds of objects in other collections, if the Network were more accessible it would

have more potential as a tool for researchers. Not only does one have to be part of a museum

institution to join the Network, but access to the Network is restricted to those museums

currently providing material. Although there are presently no plans at Gallery Systems to make

the Network accessible to the public, users are reportedly requesting this kind of open access.19

As demands for public access grow, it is possible that Gallery Systems will change the purpose

of the Network from merely inter-institutional sharing to a public-access collections network. It's

my hope that the network will eventually have enough participants that Gallery Systems will

choose to make the network publicly accessible. There are currently only a handful of

institutions sharing collections through the Network, although the potential for it to become a

large localized collections database is clear.

18 Jean-Phillipe Rebuffet. The EMuseum Network: Searching .\lh, e I Collections. International
Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting (ICHIMO7): Proceedings, J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds)
(Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics. 2007).
19 Jean-Phillipe Rebuffet. "Re: eMuseum Network." Email to the author. February 26, 2009.

To help prepare the Harn Museum's digitized collection for the eMuseum, all of their

image files had to be processed, standardized, and approved for online use. This involved sorting

through about 8,000 image files in a variety of formats and sizes. Once the files had been

processed and standardized, they would need metadata taken from the Museum's database

(TMS) attached to ensure the longevity of the data. After that, copyright information would need

to be checked for those images chosen to start the Harn Museum's eMuseum. Once the files

were processed, given metadata, and approved for use on the web by the registrar, they were

ready to become the beginning of what will grow to be a full online catalogue of the museum's


The first step to processing the image files was cleaning up the Museum's media drive by

identifying and separating master files from derivatives (originals from copies). The Harn

Museum uses TMS' Media Module to attach digital image files to their object records in TMS.

The Media Module draws its images from a separate media drive at the Museum, which is

divided into various subfolders. The TMS Media Module works directly with what is called the

"Screen" folder. The folder's name refers to the fact that images held there should visually be

"screen-sized" derivatives (72 ppi) when viewed on a computer screen. They should not be

master images, to avoid the database accessing and potentially altering master files.

For my project I created a folder of all master images (the Master folder) for the Harn

Museum. A master image is an original digital image, containing all of the visual information

possible according to the resolution of the camera used to make the image. Once the image is

altered (by cropping, changing the format, etc.), information is permanently lost. Retaining the

master image ensures that a high-resolution publication quality version will always be available.

Master images should be in Tiff or RAW format in order to retain the most information. This

was important because once the eMuseum is implemented at the Ham Museum, it will be

directly accessing TMS and could therefore potentially access the digital images within TMS. To

avoid a user accidently (or maliciously) downloading a master image from the Harn Museum's

collection and risk violating copyright, it was necessary to ensure that all digital images attached

in TMS are of a low-resolution (i.e. "screen" sized). This will also make the eMuseum work

much more easily in the future, since all of the pictures within the Screen folder will be pre-

processed and ready to be used in the eMuseum or for similar online purposes. When staff

members select images to share, they can easily take files from the Screen folder without the

need to edit first (which they would need to do if they files were not the appropriate resolution).

The Master folder is separated from the Screen folder to better protect the files.

Previously there were a variety of file types and resolutions in use in TMS, including many

master images. Because TMS directly accessed these image files, in some cases they were

altered by the database and the original file was lost. These files can now be saved as "Read-

Only," ensuring that the master image files will never be accidentally altered or deleted. Once

the eMuseum is set up and is available on the web, the Master folder will be accessible only to

the registrar at the Ham Museum. Incidentally, TMS works much more efficiently when file

sizes are more manageable, so this part of the project also resulted in a database with less loading

time when viewing images.

To identify master files, I went through the Screen folder and checked the resolution,

format and size of each image. Many of the images saved there were in TIF format, which is

more suited for master files (rather than screen-sized) because it allows for compression without

loss of quality. These TIF files were master files in most cases, because they were publication-

quality and they were usually the original file received from the photographer. Overall I

discovered 1,047 master files within the Screen folders. These files were separated so that JPEG

derivates could be made for TMS and the eMuseum, because this common digital image format

minimizes the file size but still keeps relatively good image quality. In the guidelines I created

for the Museum, I included an edited version of the Museum's resolution requirements for

various image file types, with the addition of path-names to help identify where each kind of file

should be saved. This will help ensure that master images never mistakenly make their way to

the wrong folder, and potentially the web [Appendix B].

To process the images, I then had to make appropriate derivatives of the image files. I

first made a derivative of the master files using Photoshop, specifying a 300 ppi resolution and

saving the file as a JPEG to save space on the server. These 300 ppi files were then saved as "Hi-

Res" (high resolution), which can be used for curatorial presentations or even some small

publications (like flyers). These same master images were also copied a second time into the

screen folder, where they were processed at 72 ppi and saved as JPEGs. 72 ppi is a fine

resolution for viewing on the web, but is useless for publications. This will help ensure that none

of the Ham Museum's images will be taken from the website and used commercially. The same

process was used to make derivatives of images with no master file, so that the Museum will

have low resolution images for the web.

I was able to batch-update some groups of these images using Photoshop. Photoshop has

the capability of saving "actions," which means it records and saves the way you edit a certain

image and you can then apply that action to a large set of files. This relieved me of some of the

more tedious work, as I was able to set Photoshop to do much of the processing for me, folder by

folder. I recorded my procedure so that others can process derivative master images in the same

way, including using the "action" function.

Once the image files were prepared to be used in the eMuseum, the curators had to

choose a set of starter images to get eMuseum up and running. Each curator at the Ham Museum

chose a group of objects they want to represent in the eMuseum. Generally curators are the ones

who should choose which objects to share on the web, since they focus on the intellectual

framework of the collection. However, there are two important considerations when choosing

images to share: copyright and the Visual Artist's Rights Act. These should always be checked

by someone from the registration department to ensure the museum is following all legal

requirements when sharing images on the web.

Copyright Considerations on the Web

It's important to remember that a website is a publication like any other, and the same

copyright rules apply. At the Harn Museum, it was important for me to double-check the

copyright status of all of the images chosen by the curators to include in the eMuseum. With

some of the collections this was very simple: most of the African and Asian objects chosen were

in the public domain, eliminating copyright concerns. In the Contemporary, Modern and

Photography collections, some of the objects chosen had copyright limitations or unclear

copyright status. Because of this, I wanted to see how other museums deal with copyrighted

works on the web.

Ideally the copyright status is made clear when accepting a new gift or making a new

purchase for the collection, but if it's not then copyright will need to be requested. If the donor

does not hold copyright, which is often the case, the copyright holder (most likely the artist) will

need to be contacted. The use of a digital image on the web should be explicitly included in the

request. Some artists may have specific guidelines for showing their work on the web, and it's

important to have this information in the object's file to comply with their wishes in the future.

For example, when a request for non-exclusive copyright was sent to one of the artists whose

work was chosen for the Harn Museum's start-up eMuseum, they stipulated that the work be

presented as a 72 ppi JPEG, with the museum making a "substantial effort to protect the image of

the Work from being downloaded from its web site."

Assuming the museum knows the copyright status of its works, the next step is to

determine how best to make a "substantial effort" to protect copyrighted images once they are on

the web. There are some high-tech options for protecting images from malicious downloading,

such as blocking images from being saved, or allowing users to view only a small part of the

work at any one time. With the eMuseum our options for image protection are more limited. We

are restricted to withholding an image altogether, providing it as a thumbnail only, or

watermarking the image. Part of my project was to help determine the best way to protect images


To help find the best way to protect images from being downloaded and used illegally, I

conducted a formal survey of eight major museum websites to see how they deal with copyright

issues in their online catalogues [Appendix C]. I chose only museums that have large online

catalogues available through their websites, as well as collections of contemporary art (which

would likely be copyrighted). It's important to note that these museums are exceptional in their

level of online access to their collections, since the majority of museums cannot afford to cover

the costs of these kinds of projects. I evaluated these museums on their level of protection for

copyrighted images and compared this to their protection of non-copyrighted images. I took the

role of "user" and accessed the contemporary artworks in their catalogues, testing to see how

they protected their images from copyright infringement.

The majority of the museums I looked at in my survey provided some sort of consistent

copyright message for the images of copyrighted works. In most cases this statement was the

copyright symbol, with the name of the artist or organization that controls the copyright for the

work, but sometimes it was more general and simply stated that the work was copyrighted. In

order to be certain that the image will receive international copyright protection, it's necessary to

include the international copyright symbol as well as the name of the copyright owner and year

of publication. This will meet the requirements of the Universal Copyright Convention, and will

signify to most users that the image is copyrighted.2"

20 Leonard D. DuBoff, Sherri Burr & Michael D. Murray. Art Law: Cases and Materials
(Buffalo, N.Y.: William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 2004), 193-194.

I was impressed with several of these museums that had even more advanced copyright

protection on their digitized collection than most museums. The Brooklyn Museum and the Los

Angeles County Museum of Art both present copyrighted and non-copyrighted works in their

online catalogues, with the ability to enlarge the thumbnails of only non-copyrighted works. If

you select a thumbnail of a copyrighted work and attempt to enlarge it, a pop-up box informs you

that the work is copyrighted and therefore can't be viewed in a larger format. The Brooklyn

Museum and the Museum of Modem Art both make it impossible to save image files if they've

been enlarged (regardless of copyright), effectively stopping users from downloading the images

for an illegal use. Screenshots could still be taken (using the "Print Screen" function on most

PCs), but the quality would be so low that the image could only really find a use for "fair use"

purposes, such as educational presentations or casual research.

Some museums in my survey chose to completely exclude copyrighted images from their

site, even if the objects themselves were included in the catalogue. This is one possibility for

protecting copyrighted images, because the museum still provides information about the object

(making it available intellectually to users). This is also something that occurs more frequently in

shared repositories and networks, and it seems to be an effective way to ensure that a digitized

collection is only used with permission but still allows researchers and other museums to access

the specifics of your collection. However, it could be argued that the lack of an image could

make the object's information less useful.21

Five of the eight museums provide visible access to Rights & Reproductions information

through their online catalogue, making it easy for users to understand the process by which they

21 Sturtevant, David, "Collections, Copyright, and Carl Malamud: Balancing Risk Management
with Audience Expectations in the Display of Online Images," Museum Computer Network
Conference: 2007. Malamud.pd
f (accessed February 12, 2009).

can attain rights to an image. A few of the museums even provide forms through their website,

so a separate email or phone call isn't necessary. One museum (The Cincinnati Art Museum)

forces users to accept the terms and conditions of use before entering the online catalogue. This

is an easy way to protect your institution, because every user must view a short paragraph about

copyright restrictions prior to viewing any part of the digitized collection. This information was

consistent with the results of my Digital Asset Management Survey (discussed earlier), where

several respondents reported having Rights & Reproduction and copyright information for users

requesting access to images.

Every one of these eight museums museum allowed some form of downloadable image

access (meaning it's possible for users to download and save images), although these were

sometimes only thumbnails and always low resolution. The resolution of images saved was

almost always 72 ppi, which fits with the Harn Museum's own standards for low-resolution

images on the web. One museum provided 96 ppi images (on only non-copyrighted works),

while another provided 180 ppi images (also only for non-copyrighted works). 72 ppi seemed to

be a fine resolution for the casual viewer, but when the file was opened in image-editing

software it was difficult to see details. Researchers and users interested in detailed views of an

object would still need to request access from the museum to see a higher-resolution image.

This survey brought up the issue of whether or not museums own the rights to

photographs of artworks in the public domain. The dominant trend in my survey was to put no

copyright notice on images in the public domain, but one museum listed itself as copyright

holder for works in the public domain. Assuming you're sure the work is in the public domain,

there is still the question of what kind of copyright notice (if any) to put with the digitized object.

Because of the 1999 court case Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corporation, some museums

may fear they've lost the rights to their images of public domain works. In the case, the

Bridgeman Art Library brought an action against the Corel Corporation for the use of one of

their images in the corporation's logo. The court decided that because the original work was in

the public domain, and the photograph of it was not sufficiently "original" to warrant copyright,

the image was available for free commercial use. 22

Although Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corporation could potentially mean a financial

loss for many institutions, museums still tend to charge for use of their images (especially in

commercial publications). Seven of the eight museums in my survey chose not to include

copyright notices for public domain works, but these same museums still made their Rights &

Reproductions policies clear to users. Some even included price lists, making it clear that they

will charge for the use of any of their images, regardless of whether or not they are in the public

domain. One museum specifically stated that their public domain works could be used for "fair

use" purposes, but that any commercial use must be paid for by the user and approved by the

museum. The Museum Copyright Group (MCG) (a UK based group dedicated to providing

copyright information to museums) believes Bridgeman v. Corel will have little effect on the

way museums use their digital images of public domain works, even in the U.S. According to the

MCG, there have been "no serious attempts by commercial users to undermine the position of

museums," meaning that there has not been rampant abuse of museum images in commercial

forums since the 1999 court decision. It's possible the deluge is still to come, but perhaps the

public recognizes the cost of the care of an object and its digitization, and will continue to pay

for the rights to use images of these works. For now, it's safe to assume that museums do retain

some rights to their digital images of public domain artworks, although these rights are not

22 Museums Copyright Group, "Copyright in Photographs of Works of Art," Museums Copyright
Group, (accessed February 20, 2009)

copyright. Because of the cost of caring for an object and having it digitized, as well as the cost

of staff time to provide access to the digitized object, it's fair to say that museums should

continue to ask that users request permission for use and pay Rights & Reproduction fees when

necessary. However, this emphasizes the importance of protecting high-resolution images which

could potentially be taken and used without permission or repercussion.

This survey also highlighted the importance of knowing the source of digital images.

Without a record of who took a photograph, it can be impossible to determine if the museum has

the legal ability to publish the work. Normally at the Harn Museum, staff members record the

source of an image in the TMS Media Module. But because this hasn't always been done, it's

sometimes impossible to know the source of an image. Although it's fairly easy to tell if a

photograph was taken by staff or interns (i.e. "in-house"), an image of professional quality was

not necessarily taken by a contracted photographer for the museum. Some of these images may

have been sent by the gallery the object was purchased from, or could even have been taken from

the web. Without a clear record of the source of an image, it's best to assume someone else has

copyright and avoid using the image in any kind of publication (including a website).

Visual Artist's Rights and the Web

One possibility for helping to protect copyright on the web for the Harn Museum is the

use of watermarks. The eMuseum has a feature which allows the museum to upload any image

or logo and use it as a watermark on images of the digitized collection. For the Har Museum,

this would mean watermarking the images with the logo for the museum. Although this initially

seemed like a good idea, it brought up the issue of the artist's integrity. Although watermarking

is a very common way for contemporary photographers to protect their work, it may not always

have the desired effect for a museum because it could violate the Visual Artists Rights Act

(VARA) of 1990. Watermarking alters the appearance and effect of an artwork. The act states

that artists have the right to "prevent distortion, mutilation, or modification that would prejudice

the author's honor or reputation," and it's easy to imagine that a watermark could fall into the

category of modification.23

One of the artists whose work was chosen to be part of the Ham Museum's startup

eMuseum did request that no "overprinting" be done to the work before it's displayed on the

web. "Overprinting" refers explicitly to a watermark or other more blatant indicator of ownership

(such as putting the copyright notice on the image itself). Although it's not likely that a VARA

claim would go to court, having an artist be unhappy with the way their work is displayed on a

museum's website could still be potentially damaging to the reputation of the museum.

This is a difficult issue because a watermark intentionally changes the appearance of an

image so as to avoid it illegal use. Putting the watermark at the edge of the image so that it

doesn't interfere with the quality of the artwork would negate the purpose of the watermark (it

could easily be cropped). Not a single one of the museums I surveyed used watermarks on their

images, and it would be hard to imagine that a large "MOMA" logo across every digitized object

23 Duboff, see p. 330-331.

wouldn't interfere with the integrity of the artwork. When a photographer watermarks their own

works, it's generally to avoid clients making their own prints. It helps the photographer control

their images and helps them to maximize profits. But those photographs belong to them, so they

have the right to alter them before putting them on the web. Three of the respondents of my

Digital Asset Management Survey reported using visible watermarks to protect digital images,

but two of these are institutions that do not collect contemporary art (making VARA a moot


It's possible that VARA may not apply to digitized objects, since the modifications

caused by a watermark are not being made to the original object but instead a digital derivative

of that object. VARA explicitly applies only to certain kinds of work (paintings, drawings, prints,

sculpture, and photographs meant for exhibition only).24 However, in the absence of any legal

precedent, museums should be prudent and avoid the use of watermarks on image files whenever

possible. These images are being displayed on the web and are meant to represent the artists'

original work, so the museum has an ethical responsibility to accurately depict the artwork to the

best of their ability.

In conclusion, I believe the best way for the Ham Museum to protect their own rights and

the rights of the artists that will be represented in the eMuseum is through the presence of a

copyright statement and resolution control. Images set to 72 ppi will be useless to anyone trying

to circumvent copyright law because the quality is too low to be publishable, but these images

can still be useful to researchers. If the Harn Museum has easily accessible copyright and Rights

& Reproductions information on their website, users can easily request to see high resolution

image files. Clear copyright information should be placed for all works where the copyright is

held by the artist or another organization, and a general statement about fair use and objects in

24 Duboff, see p. 328.

the public domain will also serve to help users understand why the Harn Museum wishes to

retain control over these images. As part of my project, I created a chart to help future employees

determine if certain images are safe for the web, using Harn Museum terminology to help make

the connections between copyright law and how the Harn Museum keeps track of copyright

status for the collection [Appendix D].

Metadata & Museums

Metadata is data about data; most people have seen it in action when listening to music or

watching a video on their computer. The computer records information about the file that isn't

immediately visible to the user (such as the length of the song or video). Even if you aren't able

to play the file, you can easily tell what it is and where it came from. Programs like iTunes and

Windows Media Player can use the metadata to sort your song and video files. This digital

metadata is a versatile kind of information embedded in the digital file; it shows information

about the file itself.

Museum employees have regularly made use of metadata when cataloguing and

recording information about their objects. Digital metadata helps users find organized

information about a collection when searching in an electronic database. In the case of museum

image files, metadata includes information about the object (such as the dimensions, accession

number, artist's name, etc). For example, if you have a digital photograph of a Rodin sculpture in

your collection, you could attach metadata to that file telling you about the artist, date, origin,

and even key-terms relating to the sculpture. Information about copyright could also be attached,

ensuring that those that access that file will know the legal status of each image.

Metadata has long been in use by libraries, making their query functions much more user-

friendly. For example, books are identified by title, author, subject-related terms, etc., and when

users search for those terms they are matched with certain entries in the library's database.

Metadata in libraries also allows institutions to collaborate and form online networks where

information is shared. Libraries can "tag" digital objects with relevant information, allowing

users to see even details like chapter titles and key terms from a book. Museums can use

metadata to similarly "tag" their digitized objects and save the relevant information for each

image in their collection. When working with a digitized object, metadata can tell you basic

descriptive information like the artist, date, and title of a work, and even more technical

information like copyright status.

Using metadata to further identify your digitized objects also provides a layer of extra

protection for the image itself by assuring that the correct information will always be associated

with the image. For example, if an image file becomes corrupt and can no longer be viewed, the

metadata will be accessible so the file can still be identified.25 Because metadata is accessible in

many ways and can survive software migration, using it ensures that the information about your

image files won't be lost if you must migrate to a new format in the future.26 When systems

change and the file is no longer viewable, the metadata will still be there to help identify the file

and its source. Because we can use metadata to control the information attached to each digitized

object, we can also be certain that our objects are accurately represented and the information is

correct when we share our collections via the web.

Metadata is also useful when joining an online information and/or image repository.

Many of these (including MOAC and CAN) use metadata "tags" to help users find information

in the repository. Rather than having to re-enter pertinent data about each image as you upload to

the repository, the existence of correct metadata will automatically tell the repository about the

image. This makes uploading a much easier task, when it could be somewhat tedious or

completely impossible without the use of metadata.

Although metadata is not necessary to take part in the eMuseum network, it is still an

important aspect of caring for digitized objects. The eMuseum does not use metadata to identify

25 Introduction, Metadata in Practice, Diane Hillmann and Elaine Westbrooks, eds. (Chicago:
American Library Association, 2004) see p. xiii-xvii.
26 Angela Murphy, "Metadata Made Simple," Image Management and Rights Clearance (accessed
February 2, 2009).

images, but instead uses TMS itself to supply the pertinent information for each image uploaded.

But even when giving images file names that match the appropriate accession number (a

common practice in museum information technology), information can be lost and files can

become almost useless without metadata. For example, if the source of an image file isn't

properly recorded, it can be impossible to know where the file came from. Was it taken by a

contracted photographer, specifically for your museum? Or did it come with the object from the

gallery you purchased from? Maybe a former curator took the image from the web? With

metadata this kind of information can be embedded in the file and therefore never lost.

Attaching metadata to the images at the Ham Museum was another part of my project.

The Har Museum is an ideal institution to work with metadata, because they use standardized

terms in their database based on the Getty Data Standards and Guidelines. This translates to

standardized terms in metadata, which makes the metadata more useful and relevant because it's

easier to share and collaborate with other institutions that use the same standards. Because the

Ham Museum uses standard terminology in their database, the information contained in the

metadata would contribute easily to an online repository. But some questions remained: what

kind of information should we attach, and how specific do we need to be?

The information chosen to be attached should generally reflect the needs of the user (this

being our online "visitor" who will be searching through the collection via the web).27 Some

choices are obvious, such as artist/maker, title, and description. These are the most basic ways

we describe fine art, but can easily relate to a wide variety of museum objects. It's also important

to include information that might make the object more relevant to researchers, such as curatorial

notes or bibliographic information. There is clearly some information held by museums that does

27 Hillman, see p. 42.

not need to be public. While donor information might be useful to a curator working on a future

exhibit, this kind of information is too private to share on the web.

The other question relates to how specific the information in the metadata should be. For

the medium, can we simply say "photograph," or is it more useful to describe the photographic

technique? If we hope that our images could be part of a larger repository with a wide variety of

objects represented, it's important to consider these kinds of categories. If we call it simply a

"photograph," it might fit in well in a repository with a wider variety of objects. But if the

repository is primarily fine art or photography, a more descriptive medium may be necessary to

satisfy the user.

At the Harn Museum I chose to start with a basic set of information, seen in the metadata

standards crosswalk chart (Appendix E). These fields are standardized in TMS, guaranteeing that

the metadata will be standard for all of the Harn Museum's digitized objects. I chose not to

include the more in-depth information (such as curatorial notes) because not all TMS entries

contain this kind of information and I wanted the metadata to be standard for all image files.

Initially I hoped to find a ready-made program that could pull specific information from

TMS and attach this to the appropriate image file. While I did find programs like this that

worked for other database systems (e.g. the free Digital Asset Management system MOAC

created, which works with FileMaker Pro), I was unable to find any that work with TMS.28 This

meant that each individual image would need its information attached manually, using


Most new versions of PhotoShop have a built-in program called Adobe Bridge which

allows users to attach and control metadata and metadata templates for individual images or a

large set of images. Adobe Bridge also allows users to create custom metadata templates which

28 MOAC Community Toolbox

can then be applied to groups of pictures. Metadata templates are useful only if the information

for a large group of images is identical. Because of the nature of most museum collections, it's

unlikely that templates could be applied to a collection of digitized objects. However, we were

able to use Bridge to batch update all of our files with the basic metadata information relating to

the Ham Museum itself as a metadata template. This ensured that images from the Harn Museum

will always be associated with the museum.

Working with metadata this way can be tedious; information has to be easily available to

the person doing the data entry, and all entered data must be checked for accuracy. Because the

information isn't coming directly from TMS, user error becomes a possibility. To help guard

against errors, I ran a basic report in TMS for the objects chosen to start the eMuseum. The

report listed all of the fields from TMS that we wanted to attach to each image file. Having a

hard copy of the information meant less "back-and-forth" between the TMS and Adobe Bridge,

and it was much easier to spot the information quickly and to check its accuracy once entered in

the Bridge.

I manually attached metadata to the 50 starter files the Ham Museum's curators chose to

begin building the eMuseum, and created a procedural manual for future employees working on

the IMLS grant (Appendix B, Appendix D, and Appendix E). The manual describes how to use

Adobe Bridge to attach metadata to an individual image, as well as how to create and apply

templates to groups of images (in case there is ever an opportunity to make use of this function

of Adobe Bridge).

In the future, I hope the Harn Museum is able to attach more detailed information to their

image files. This should include the "Notes" section of TMS, where curators often describe the

use of an object or biographical information about the artist that relates to the image. Label copy

is another possible place to find more detailed information for the image files. If possible, I

would also want to include bibliographical listings for each object. This kind of information

would be valuable to researchers, and could also help stimulate the intellectual curiosity of the

more casual user.


In completing this project, I gained in-depth knowledge of how museums can use their

digitized objects, and the many ways they can provide better access to their collections through

the Web. The benefits of providing access to a digitized collection are clear: the physical

collection is safer because the digital version can stand in for many purposes, including research.

Although museum websites with online catalogues can serve as a public relations tool, they often

lack the scholarly details many researchers require and provide little access to collection

information. And with the cost of creating and updating this kind of website-based online

catalogue, many museums might prefer not to share their digitized collection at all. With the use

of repositories and networks, museums can contribute images and information to a collaborative

database and avoid the heavy costs associated with a website-based online catalogue.

Researchers can view a wide variety of objects and information through repositories and

networks and gain a better understanding of what museums have available for study. With the

use of metadata, more information can be saved along with an image file and researchers can be

sure the information is accurate and from the source museum. The information embedded in the

image files will also last beyond technological upgrades, making the metadata useful far into the

future when software and file formats will have changed. By properly caring for digital assets,

museums can help fulfill their educational missions by allowing online access to their digitized

collections and at the same time fulfilling their stewardship obligations by keeping the actual

objects out of harm's way.


Is your museum non-profit?


how many objects are in your collection?

Approximately what percentage of your collection has been photographed (including
documentary photographs)?
15-20% (not all has been matched with database records). Our goal is to have it all
photographed by 2011.
20% digital, 90% b&w photography

Does your institution collect contemporary art (made after 1950)?
Yes, mainly photographs

Approximately how many full or part-time staff members work in your registration department?
1 full time, 2 part-time
Collections department= 1 full time staff Curator of Collections
1 part-time curator

Do you have a staff member in charge of rights and reproductions?
Yes, Curator of Collections
Yes (Registrar)
Yes, Registrar's duties

Who on staff has unrestricted access to your image files (curatorial, marketing, registration,
Only registrar and head curator
Curatorial staff
Director, Registrar, Photographer
Collections, exhibits, advertising
Curatorial and Registration
Only the Registrar
Manager and curator
Director, curator, collections manager
Curatorial (which is also registration here) and Marketing

Who on staff most often requests access to your image files (if not given unrestricted access)?
Publications/Public Relations/Curators
Curatorial and marketing
Public relations/marketing
Admin. Asst: Publicity and Web, Director: Publications, Education, Membership:
Publication, College: Publicity, Publication, Scholars/Authors: Text books,
Collections manager (handles all reproduction requests)

Approximately how many times per year do you get requests for image access from non-staff?
Just a few
Zero so far

Do you provide open access to images of the collection through your website?
Thumbnails only 600 px jpg for works in the public domain
Beginning to
Not at this time
Generally no. We have 72 dpi jpegs for viewing only on our web site of 15-18 works that
survey our permanent collection. Images from current and past exhibitions are
also posted in this format. The person who maintains the web page removes
copyrighted images that with expired R&R contracts.
We plan to in the future

If so, what percentage of your collection is available through your website?
20% at present
10% (working on project to make entire collection available)

How do you protect copyrighted images when sharing with the public (either on your website, or
Statement of 3rd party responsibility No online access beyond thumbnail for works
under copyright
Copyright statement with link to rights and reproduction page
They have to request for an image from the Curator of Collections
Invisible watermark
Staff are advised of copyright restrictions, and are asked to submit a Rights &
Reproductions Contract developed by Registrar pertinent to image for each time
they submit an image either electronically, or as a CD. There is frequent non-
Watermark the images
Size of image and watermark

Do you consider the Visual Artists Right Act (1990) when deciding what images to share (either
on your website, or not)?
No we don't collect art but we do make sure we have the rights to any image we use
No, the images are usually not art pieces but historical photographs
Will have to learn about it
I am not responsible for what images go on the site, eventually when everything is
available online, the online digital database will be available primarily for

Have you submitted images of your collection to any museum image repositories? If so, which
No for research projects only
The Portal to Texas History University of Texas
North Texas
ArtStor 63 images thus far.
Not yet

Do you have a policy in place describing when to deny access to those requesting images? If so,
briefly describe.
The Museum reserves to the right to deny reproduction for entities it deems inappropriate
for granting such rights.
If we don't have copyright or it has a restriction
Yes. Our policy requires that requestors prove they have copyright clearance before we
provide an image.
No written policy, follow instructions provided by former Director.
Image requests are at the discretion of the curator and collections manager

What is your procedure when those outside your staff request access to digital images?
Standard Processing of Requests Client is informed of their responsibility to clear
We have a formal request form and process.
No specific, written procedure. We usually put the image
On CD for the person requesting.
We deal with each case individually
Previously staff has openly shared any item
They must sign and return R&R contract before receiving image which will be sent via
CD or electronically via You-Send-It Account with instructions to destroy or
remove from desktop after use. I do not send copyrighted images out unless I
have contract that provides permission from copyright license holder, and I have
received signed R&R contract.
Case by case judgment
Must fill out a contract
The individual or institution must fill out a form that list the images) they wish to
produce, where it will be produce, number of copies, etc. There is a nominal fee
of $100.00 for reproduction. This fee is waived for Ball State University faculty
and students.
They have a request form to fill out with fee schedule depending on the nature of the

Do you feel museums should provide images from their collections to the public? Should there
be a fee? How much?
Yes -Fee only for publication quality images in profit-making projects
Yes, we do a lot of work to get the images to the public.
Yes. I think allowing the public access is a great resource. I believe looking should be
free, but if a staff member's time is involved (to make a CD or scan or something)
then there should be a fee.
Yes see above fee information
Yes and Yes
It is up to them. I do not think it is an ethical or legal issue. And a fee is also an
institutional choice. Certainly neither should be required.
Yes, and Yes if Museum incurs new costs for photography and image archiving or if
work will be used for monetary gain.
Share in some way, perhaps a fee to help offset the cost of maintaining the items for the
future (in essence a donation to the site)Yes, and no fee for the public
Good question...not sure

Do you have any concerns about online collection databases that include images?
Of course Image accuracy/Retaining object info with image
Yes. Care should be taken to protect the images for the sake of the artists and the works.
No. I'd be curious what other's concerns are however.
No, especially if the images are too small to be useful in any commercial application.
Yes, too many free images out reduce the value of a site visit and or the item value, as in
number of first run prints made by an artist
Not so far regarding ArtStor.
I am concerned that images can be downloaded but those in charge of the project are not
No, as long as the images have watermarks or a form of copyright protection

Are there any other major concerns that have come up relating to digital image access in your
museum that you'd like to share?
Major work load issues
Storage of large numbers of images, and access to them can be a problem. Access implies
the ability to accidentally damage the archive, while restricting access increases
the work load for some people. It is a balancing act, depending upon the number
of images and how often they are used/requested.
none yet.
Not yet
Complaints from visitors and scholars regarding lack of image browser for collection.
No funds, upgraded equipment, or support staff to develop archived digitized
image files and collection records as per AAM guidelines. No line item in budget
to allow for copyright fees for web licensing.
cost of storage, how to decide on which objects to use beyond rights issues
It was requests of images that were in our exhibit that we acquired from other
repositories. We gave the contact information to those museums for rights for
reproduction. We also had problems when we wanted images from small county
museums that had such bad record keeping that they didn't know if they owned
the photograph or not.

Would you mind being contacted in the future with further questions?


How to process a new Master image:

Master images Any marketing 400-600ppi TIFF 16-bit T:\images\master\
from purpose min.,4000 8000 per professional
professional pixel alongside channel
and scans
Master images Ads, postcards, 300 ppi min., TIFF 8-16 -bit T:\images\master\
that are done posters, billboards, 3000-8000 pixel per non-professional
in-house, or public relations, alongside max. channel
images Web site, etc. Not
supplied by to be used in
photographers publications or
or scanners distributed to other
with museums.
limiting flaws
Derivative Ads, postcards, 300 ppi min. TIFF 8-16 -bit T:\images\hi-res
high resolution postcards, public 1200-pixel per
relations, docent alongside min. channel
training packets,
etc. Not to be used
in publications or
distributed to other
Derivative Web site, 72ppi, 500-pixel jpeg 8-bit per T:\Screen
low resolution Powerpoints, and alongside min. channel
other uses where a
computer screen is
utilized for
Derivative ID Object 72ppi, 500-pixel jpeg 8-bit per T:\Screen
identification only. alongside min. channel
Not for public

Save the Master image file in the appropriate Master images folder. Professional-quality
photographs and high-quality scans of professionally done slides will be kept in the
"Professional" Master folder. In-house photographs, high-quality scans of non-professional
slides, and any high-quality images with publication-limiting flaws (such as heavy shadows). All

Master image files are saved in Tiff format, and should never be directly altered or worked with
from the Master folder. Always make a copy of the file and save it outside of the Master folder to
avoid accidentally altering a Master image file.

Save a copy of the original Master file in the Hi-Res folder, and use Adobe Photoshop to change
the resolution:

1. Open the file in Adobe Photoshop
2. Go to "Image" at the top of the screen, and select "Image Size"
3. Change the Pixel Dimensions to be 1200 pixels on the longest side (the shorter side will
adjust accordingly)
a. For a horizontally oriented image, you will adjust the width
b. For a vertically oriented image, you will adjust the height
4. Change the ppi to be 300 (if higher than 300)
5. Close the Image Size editing box
6. Save the image as a Tiff file, with the same file name
7. Because this is a copy of the master file, it's okay to save over the file in the Hi-Res

Save a copy of the original Master file in the appropriate Screen folder (divided by accession
year), and use Adobe Photoshop to change the resolution:
1. Open the file in Adobe Photoshop
2. Go to "Image" at the top of the screen and select "Image Size"
3. Change the Pixel Dimensions to be 500 pixels on the longest side (the shorter side will
adjust accordingly)
a. For a horizontally oriented image, you will adjust the width
b. For a vertically oriented image, you will adjust the height
4. Change the ppi to be 72 (if higher than 72)
5. Close the Image Size editing box
6. Save the image as a JPEG file, with the same file name
a. In the "JPEG Options" box, choose "12" as the quality indicator (the largest file
option available)
b. Double check that Photoshop has kept the entire file name (sometimes the end of
the accession number will be left out when changing the file format)
7. Because this is a copy of the master file, it's okay to save over the file in the Screen

When attaching the Screen image (low-resolution) to the object's record in TMS, TMS will
generate a thumbnail file which will be saved in T:\thumbnails. These files should never need to
be accessed or altered except through the TMS Media module.

When working with a large batch of images that need processing, it is possible to have
Photoshop do an automated batch update to a certain set of files.


Copyright Water Res. of Other image Comments
notice mark images protection
Art Institute of Only 1 cont. No 72 ppi Protected by small Not able to enlarge
Chicago work with size only images, regardless of
artist listed as copyright.
copyright R&R info not clear.
Brooklyn No notice of No 72 ppi for Unable to save Social tagging;
Museum individual both zoomed images of Slightly larger
copyright copyrighted non-copyrighted thumbnails can be
status, but all and non- works; copyrighted saved from non-
copyrighted copyrighted works link to copyrighted works.
works are works. Non- statement which Overall a very social
presented as copyrighted allows use of website (has
thumbnail works have Brooklyn Art's own comment options,
only, with about half materials under message boards, etc.).
statement the major terms and conditions Easy to locate R&R
"This image pixel length of a Creative info.
is presented of non- Commons License.
as a copyrighted Prohibits use of any
"thumbnail" copyrighted third
because it is party works.
protected by
respects the
rights of
artists who
retain the
copyright to
their work."

Carnegie Yes, rights No 96 ppi on Copyrighted images Clear link for
Museum of information non- not available at all R&R under image
Art listed under copyrighted (or place where
place where works image should be)
image should
be. For non-
notice for

Cincinnati Art

Yes, although
in some cases
copyright is
given to the

72 ppi

Prior to entering
online catalogue,
user must agree to
terms (images for
fair use purposes
only and credit must
be given if used,
otherwise use is
prohibited,). Some
copyrighted images
not available at all.

R&R info not clear;
copyrighted image
doesn't load properly
in Photoshop (says it
can't load embedded
color information...
possible measure of

The Yes, cites the No 72 ppi Can zoom, even on
Guggenheim individual or (copyrighted copyrighted images;
organization ) no clear info on R&R
that owns 180 ppi
copyright (non-
Los Angeles Yes, cites No 72 ppi Copyrighted works Many of the rights
County individual or (copyrighted are not zoomable (if are controlled by
Museum of organization works have you attempt to zoom ARS; provides a
Art that owns almost 14 the them, a pop-up box "slideshow" format
copyright major pixel tells: "Due to where you can put
length) copyright images side by side
restrictions, this to view (only with
image cannot be non-copyrighted
enlarged. The image works). Every
can be viewed on thumbnail has an
site for educational "order photography"
purposes only. For link under it (R&R)
an appointment,

Museum of Yes, cites No 72 ppi (with Interactive zoom
Fine Arts, individual or 800 pixels viewer; easy link that
Boston organization on the long reads "License this
that owns side) Image" (R&R)
Museum of Yes, cites No 72 ppi Can't save zoomed Interactive zoom
Modem Art individual or images viewer
that owns


Before making an image available to the eMuseum, be sure to check the copyright information.
Copyright information for objects in TMS should be visible in red font as a status flag, above the
name of the object's collection department (at the top left corner when in Data Entry mode in

Harn Information What this means Image specifications
Public Domain Can be used on the web 72 ppi
Non-Exclusive Copyright Possibly can be used on the 72 ppi, or according to the
web, check the accession file copyright holder's wishes
to be sure
Exclusive Copyright Can be used on the web 72 ppi
Rights Pending The copyright holder has been Do not make the image
contacted and the museum is available until rights have
in the process of obtaining been obtained
Rights controlled by... Organization controls rights to Do not make the image
the image and most likely will available until rights have
charge for use (contact them been obtained and fees have
to be sure) been paid (or waived)
RIGHTS NOT HELD The museum does NOT hold Do not make the image
copyright for this image available on the web, unless
rights are able to be obtained

For works which can be legally used on the web, images should always be at 72 ppi to prevent
unauthorized use by others. Be sure to pull images from the TMS Screen folders when making
them available for the eMuseum. If you are unsure of the resolution, check it before making the
image available.
To check an image's resolution in Photoshop:
1. Open the image file in Photoshop

2. Choose the "Image" menu and then "Image Size"

3. Check the resolution under "Document Size"

a. The "Resolution" should read "72 pixels/inch"

If the resolution is 300 or higher, you will need to make a low-resolution derivative

1. Copy the file from the Screen folder into the Hi-Res folder if there is not
already a Hi-Res version saved

2. Open the Screen folder file in Photoshop, and change the resolution under
"Image Size" to 72 pixels/inch

3. Save the file (be sure you have moved a high-resolution copy into the Hi-Res
folder before saving )

If the resolution is LOWER than 72 ppi, change it to 72 ppi and save the file

The only time an image with a resolution other than 72 ppi should be used in the eMuseum is
when the copyright holder has specifically requested another resolution. For example, if an artist
requests that her work be viewed at 150 ppi on the web, the digital image of her work, saved in
the Screen folder, should reflect this.

Once the resolution is determined to be accurate, the image will need to be marked as "Public
Access" in TMS:

1. Open the object's Data Entry page in TMS

2. Go to the "Media" tab, and choose the appropriate attached media view

3. Once selected, choose to "Edit" the media view

4. Check the "Public Access" box, seen directly below the thumbnail in the Media Module

Images without the "Public Access" box checked will not be visible in the eMuseum, although
the accompanying information will still be available.

For works with no copyright information given, copyright will need to be researched prior to use
of the image on the web. Check the accession file to be sure that no copyright was given at the
time of acquisition. Some works in the collection may be in the Public Domain, despite having
no copyright information in TMS. See the Ham Museum's copyright form to help determine if
the work is in the Public Domain.

Images which can NOT be used on the web will fall into several categories:

1. Copyright status has not yet been determined ("Rights Pending," no information given,
or otherwise unclear)

2. The work is copyrighted and controlled, and the Harn will be charged for the use of the
image on the web

3. The artist or copyright owner requests the image not appear on the web

For images which can NOT be used on the web, the object can still appear in the eMuseum
without an accompanying image. Leave the "Public Access" box in the Media Module
unchecked for those objects.


Metadata should ideally be attached to a master file, prior to any processing. This will ensure that
derivatives contain the same metadata as the master image.

1. Open the desired image in Photoshop (you must have a file open in Photoshop to be able
to access the Adobe Bridge)

2. Choose the "File" menu, and select "Close and Go To Bridge"

a. The file will then close and you will be taken to Adobe Bridge

3. Once in the Bridge, you may need to navigate to the desired image file (it should begin in
the TMS Media Drive, so simply navigate to the correct folder and you will see
thumbnails of all of the images contained there).

4. Right-click the desired image and select "File Info"

5. Use the chart below to enter TMS data into the correct fields in the File Info box. Note
that there are several different data entry field sets in Bridge.

6. Information about the source of an image file can be entered in the IPTC Contact data
entry field. Include the professional photographers name, address, phone number and
website if applicable.

7. Once the metadata has been entered, choose "OK"

8. The information just entered should now appear in the "Metadata" file info listing at the
bottom right of Adobe Bridge.

Bridge Terms TMS Terms TMS Technical Table Example
Document Title Title ObjectID.Title Champ d'avoine
Author Artist or Maker ConstituentID Claude Monet
Description Medium O. tI Oil on canvas
(Description) j ec.eium
1.Obj ectlD.CreditLine Gift of Michael Singer
2. ConXrefTypeID
Credit Line (DisplayName of Primary
Credit Constituent;Acquisition-
(Origin) related)
Date Created ObjectID.DateBegin 1890-1890
(IPTC Image) Search Dates ObjectID.DateEnd
Intellectual Classification Paintings
(IPTC Image) ClassificationlD
Description Description ObjectID.Description Field of Flowers

(IPTC Content
Copyright Copyright
Notice Information as a 1.ObjRightsID
(IPTC Status) Status Flag 2.MediaMasterID Public Domain


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Chloe Elizabeth Smith was born on January 17, 1984 in Gainesville, FL. She earned her

International Baccalaureate degree from Eastside High School in 2002. She attended the

University of Central Florida, where she earned B.A. degrees in both Art History and

Humanities. Upon completion of her Masters in Arts in Museology, she will be delighted to enter

the workforce as a new museum professional.

I certify that I have read this document and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a project in lieu
of thesis for the degree of Master of Arts.

Glenn Willumson, Chair
sociate Professor, Program Director

I certify that I have read this document and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a project in lieu
of thesis for the degree of Master of Arts. _____

Robert Westin

I certify that I have read this document and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a project in lieu
of thesis for the degree of Master of Arts.

SDixie Neilson
Visiting Assistant Professor

This project in lieu of thesis was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of Fine
Arts and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.

May 2009
Chloe Smith

Anna Calluori olcombe
sector, School of Art & Art History

Lucinda Lavelli
Dean, College of Fine Arts


In reference to the following titless:

Smith, Chloe. Online Access for All: Museums and the Quest to Share Collections with
the Public. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, 2009.

I, Lk(O ~ S\'-.- as copyright holder or licensee with the
authority to grant copyright permissions for the aforementioned titless, hereby authorize
the University of Florida, acting on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of
Florida, to digitize, distribute, and archive the titles) for nonprofit, educational purposes
via the Internet or successive technologies.

This is a non-exclusive grant of permissions for on-line and off-line use for an indefinite
term. Off-line uses shall be consistent either, for educational uses, with the terms of U.S.
copyright legislation's "fair use" provisions or, by the University of Florida, with the
maintenance and preservation of an archival copy. Digitization allows the University of
Florida to generate image- and text-based versions as appropriate and to provide and
enhance access using search software.

This grant of permissions prohibits use of the digitized versions for commercial use or

Signature of Copyright Holder

Printed or Typed Name of Copyright Holder

Date of Signature

Digital Library Center
Smathers Libraries
University of Florida
P.O. Box 117003
Gainesville, FL32611-7003
P: 352.273.2900

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