CollectionSpace: A story of open-source software development and user-centered design


  • Megan Forbes

    1. the collection manager at the Museum of the Moving Image and project manager for CollectionSpace. She is currently working on creating extensions for CollectionSpace software that will allow museums and other cultural organizations to more easily manage information around digital objects, from media art to video games
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Editor's Summary

CollectionSpace is an open-source, web-based collections management system for museums. It is being developed by and for the museum community, recognizing the commonalities in collection management and facilitating museum information processes, workflows, tasks and needs. A partnership among the Museum of the Moving Image, University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Cambridge, the project is dedicated to user-centered design and has taken shape through workshops that identified five essential themes, starting with the idea that the software should be a museum's core information resource, serving all aspects of collection management. The software developed must be user friendly, support comprehensive data through resource linking, serve the outside community as well as museum professionals and encourage broad use by avoiding information silos. Though funding and participation challenges are normal for such an ambitious project, CollectionSpace is expected to change the way museums manage their collection information while promoting community ownership and development of the software product.