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In assigning initial scores to the collection management systems, assumptions were of course needed.  Our goal is to provide a fair evaluation that takes into account our level of knowledge as well as the status of individual projects.  However, by using a data-driven scorecard, we can readily adjust assumptions and scores and see the resulting changes in the overall result in real-time.

Overall

  • This is a first pass!
  • We want to capture a variety of perspectives and acknowledge where there are differences of opinion and where there is general agreement.
  • Regardless of the recommendation and decision, there are many moving targets here.  We will continue to review the three projects over the next six to twelve months and update our evaluation as needed.
  • Given the level of risk, a backup plan should be in place.
  • We need to emphasize that even once a decision is made, migrations to new platforms will take time.  And initial efforts will focus on museums that a) are most in need of migration to another platform and b) have the time and resources to work on migrations.  It is unrealistic to think that every museum will be moving to a new platform within two years.  It is also worth acknowledging that our problems and opportunities might be quite different in two to three years, so flexibility is important.

Specify

Sources of information
  • CCMSR report
  • Specify presentation to BNHM-IST
  • Interviews and discussions with Specify team during their visit
  • Informatics Services installation and review of Specify 6
  • Specify documentation on project web site
Assumptions made
  • Because it is a relatively mature and specialized system that is serving numerous natural history museums, Specify was given a complete score of 1.0 on many of the core collections management functions (e.g., loans, cataloging).  While there might be some shortcomings for specific kinds of collections, the Specify team has demonstrated an ability to accommodate different kinds of needs.
  • Similarly, for functionality such as taxonomy, Specify was given a complete score of 1.0 because it has functioned well for biodiversity collections.  This does not mean that Specify is a complete taxonomy management system, only that it is a good fit for the basic taxonomy requirements of a collection management system.
Questions remaining
  • We need to talk with Andrew Doran (Herbaria) who has looked more closely at the system recently.
  • We need further conversation about some of the business criteria points.
  • We will want to discuss and confirm some of the technical criteria points.
  • How many institutions have been able to switch over to Specify 6?
  • Given interruption of funding, when is the Specify project team expecting to hear about a next grant?  Are they developing a new financial support model?

Arctos

Sources of information
  • CCMSR report
  • Arctos presentation to BNHM-IST
  • Interviews and discussions with Arctos team during their visit
  • Arctos documentation on project web site and google code site
  • Interview and discussions between Hoffman and Voong
Assumptions made
  • Because it is a mature system that has served numerous natural history museums for years, Arctos was given a complete score of 1.0 on many of the core collections management functions (e.g., loans, cataloging).  While there might be some shortcomings for specific kinds of collections, the Arctos team has demonstrated an ability to accommodate different kinds of needs.
  • Similarly, for functionality such as taxonomy, Arctos was given a complete score of 1.0 because it has functioned well for biodiversity collections.  This does not mean that Arctos is a complete taxonomy management system, only that it is a good fit for the basic taxonomy requirements of a collection management system.
Questions remaining
  • We need further conversation about some of the business criteria points.
  • We will want to discuss and confirm some of the technical criteria points.

CollectionSpace

Sources of information
  • CCMSR report
  • CollectionSpace presentation to BNHM-IST
  • Interviews and discussions with CollectionSpace team
  • CollectionSpace 1.0 functionality and timeline for incremental releases
  • CollectionSpace design wireframes, user stories, and architecture
  • Review of CollectionSpace releases 0.1, 0.15 and 0.2
  • Fit-gap analysis for Herbaria collections (90% done)
  • Fit-gap analysis for Botanical Garden collections (just starting)
  • CollectionSpace services team meeting with Mark Goodwin (UCMP)
  • Ongoing test migrations and deployments with PAHMA
Assumptions made
  • CollectionSpace is still being developed.  However there is substantial and signficant content on which to base an assessment (see sources of information above).
  • We have decided to focus on functionality that is identified in the version 1.0 release and not anticipate capabilities that we assume will be built beyond that point.
  • CollectionSpace has some important design and architecture goals that make it an excellent fit for campus collections (including both biodiversity collections and cultural heritage collections).  For example, a core goal of CollectionSpace is to develop a core schema and user interface that can be easily customized for domains and particular collections in those domains.  This initial scoring assumes that these design and architecture goals will be met.
  • Given ongoing reviews of CollectionSpace releases, for now we are assuming that it will meet its version 1.0 functional goals and are scoring CollectionSpace based on those assumptions.  Therefore, for core collections management processes (such as loans and cataloguing), CollectionSpace is receiving a 1.0 score.
  • As with the other systems, we will be reviewing CollectionSpace on an ongoing basis to see what happens over the next six to twelve months.  This is especially important for CollectionSpace because it is a system under development.
  • CollectionSpace scores very high on the business criteria and technical criteria because it was designed and envisioned using those criteria from the beginning.  While all indications are strong that CollectionSpace will be able to meet these commitments, we will be watching progress towards these goals and developing internal milestones for reviewing and assessing progress.
Questions remaining
  • What are some specific milestones that we will want to establish to monitor whether CollectionSpace is meeting its timeline as well as its technical and design goals?
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