The Collection Management System Collection09 Aug 2017
Crowd-sourcing a list of digital repository options.
Hey hey. It seems like every couple of months, I get asked for advice on picking a Collection Management System (or maybe referred to as a digital repository, or something else) for use in an archive, special collection library, museum, or another small “GLAMorous” institution. The acronym is CMS, which is not to be confused with Content Management System (which is for your blog). This can be for collection management, digital asset management, collection description, digital preservation, public access and request support, or combinations of all of the above. And these things have to fit into an existing workflow/system, or maybe replace an old system and require a data migration component. And on top of that, there are so many options out there! This can be overwhelming!
What factors do you use in making a decision? I tried to put together some crucial components to consider, while keeping it as simple as possible (if 19 columns can be considered simple). I also want to be able to answer questions with a strong yes/no, to avoid getting bogged down in “well, kinda…” For example, I had a “Price” category and a “Handles complex media?” category but I took them away because it was too subjective of an issue to be able to give an easy answer. A lot of these are still going to be “well, kinda” and in that case, we should make a generalization. (Ah, this is where the “simple” part comes in!)
In the end, though, it is really going to depend on the unique needs of your institution, so the answer is always going to be “well, kinda?” But I hope this spreadsheet can be used as a starting point for those preparing to make a decision, or those who need to jog their memory with “Can this thing do that?”
And of course, like many of my previous endeavors, this spreadsheet is OPEN and CONTRIBUTIONS ARE WELCOME! Help me make this resource better. I need help with adding software, adding consideration columns (lets not go too wild here though), and (MOST OF ALL!) filling in yes/no answers for each row.
Editing is open right now, but I will change it to comment-only when it is more robust.
Here is a guide to the columns:
- Loan/request management (Can it manage sending stuff out and getting it back?)
- Multilingual (Can it support multiple languages?)
- Permissions (For user permissions within the organization, or for the public.)
- Physical (Stores physical location of assets?)
- Reporting (Exports data/spreadsheets/charts/PDFs for your boss.)
- Rights (Copyright stuff)
- Tasking (Can you assign tasks? Who is working on what? )
- Access (Does this come with a public online access portal?)
- Batch edit (Are there ways to change data in ways more significant than one-at-a-time?)
- Collection mgmt (Can it perform CRUD operations [Create, Read, Update, Delete]?)
- Digital asset management (Suitable as a digital asset management system?)
- Preservation (Suitable for digital preservation?)
- Open source (Is the software open source or not?)
- Import/export (Getting data in, getting data out?)
- API (Has an API and/or supports integration with other systems?)
- Support (Can you ask or pay an organization to fix things for you?)
- Community (Is there a large community using it, and support potentially found there?)
Thank you! Please help and contribute!
- The DAM List (Started by Leala Abott in 2011. Thanks Erwin Verbruggen for the ref/link!)
- FLOSS inventory (A Europeana initiative. Thanks Erwin V. again!)
- re3data (Research data more of your thing? Thanks @einsweniger!)
- COPTR (As pointed out by Trevor Owens on twitter)
- foss4lib (As pointed out by Trevor Owens on twitter)
- Results of SAA Lone Arrangers Survey on software (Thanks to Megan Blair for compiling this data)