Designing interoperable museum information systems
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Museum collections are characterized by heterogeneity, since they usually host a plethora of objects of categories, while each of them requires different description policies and metadata standards. Moreover the museum records, which keep the history and evolution of the hosted collections, request proactive curation in order to preserve this rich and diverse information. In this paper, the architecture of an innovative museum information system, as well as its implementation details is presented. In particular the requirements and the system architecture are presented along with the problems that were encountered. The main directions of the system design are (a) to increase interoperability levels and therefore assist proactive curation and (b) to enhance navigation by the usage of handheld devices. The first direction is satisfied by the design of a rich metadata schema based on the CIDOC/CRM standard. The second direction is fulfilled by the implementation of a module, which integrates the museum database with a subsystem appropriate to support user navigation into the museum floors and rooms. The module is expressed as a navigation functionality, which is accessed through handheld devices and peripherals, such as PDAs and RFID tags. The proposed system is functional and operates into the Solomos Museum, situated in Zakynthos island, Greece.