An OCLC Press Release. (Discovered via Open Access News)

OCLC awarded Mellon grant to conduct museum data exchange study

DUBLIN, Ohio, USA, 12 February 2008—OCLC, the world’s largest library service and research organization, has been awarded a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to further develop standards for museum data exchange.

The $145,000 grant will be used by OCLC to fund projects involving OCLC Programs and Research and seven RLG Programs art museum partners to build an information architecture and model behaviors that museums can use to routinely exchange data.

This initiative will result in the creation of a low-barrier/no-cost batch export capability out of the collections management system used by the participating museums (GallerySystems TMS), as well as a test of data exchange processes using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). The test will create a large research aggregation of museum records, which will be analyzed to determine in which areas museums should invest in upgrading their records, and in which areas automated processes can be utilized to harmonize descriptions for retrieval. Participating museums will also discuss the evidence about the relative utility of the aggregation with stakeholders from the museum, vendor and aggregator communities.

“We’ve seen a change in attitudes in the museum community over the last couple of years, and increasingly, technological solutions are lagging behind aspirations to share,” said James Michalko, OCLC Vice President, RLG Programs. “We are grateful to The Mellon Foundation for their generous support of our efforts to empower museums in their desire to exchange digital records and images.”

Project manager Günter Waibel, Program Officer, RLG Programs, envisions that the initiative will have far-reaching impact. “While we’re focusing our initial efforts on TMS, we hope that our solution will be generic enough to take us a long way towards addressing data exchange issues for other vendor-based and homegrown systems,” Waibel said.

Museums participating in the project with OCLC Programs and Research include the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the National Gallery of Art; Princeton University Art Museum; Yale University Art Gallery; Victoria & Albert Museum (research aggregation only); and the Cleveland Museum of Art (research aggregation only).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted a kick-off meeting January 28-29 to bring participants together and begin work on this initiative. The project is expected to be completed by the end of March 2009.

About OCLC
Founded in 1967 and headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, OCLC is a nonprofit library service and research organization that has provided computer-based cataloging, reference, resource sharing, eContent, preservation, library management and Web services to 60,000 libraries in 112 countries and territories. OCLC and its member libraries worldwide have created and maintain WorldCat, the world’s richest online resource for finding library materials. RLG Programs, part of OCLC Programs and Research, supports exploration, innovation and community building on behalf of libraries, museums and archives. For more information about RLG Programs, visit

More information about OCLC is at

Recommended Posts