OpenCollection 0.54

OpenCollection is a full-featured collections management and access Web application for museums, photo, etc.

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GPL (GNU General Public License) 
3.8/5 17
ROOT \ Internet \ HTTP (WWW)
OpenCollection is a full-featured collections management and access Web application for museums, photo, etc.

OpenCollection is the product of a collaboration between the Museum of the Moving Image and Whirl-i-Gig to produce a full-featured collections management and access application for museums, photo and moving-image archives and digital collections. OpenCollection is designed to handle large, heterogeneous collections that have complex cataloguing requirements and require support for a range of metadata and media formats. Unlike other collections management applications, OpenCollection is a true web-application. All cataloging, search and administrative functions are accessible via the Internet using common web-browser software, making cataloguing by distributed teams and online access to collections information simple, efficient and inexpensive.

OpenCollection is intended as an alternative to expensive proprietary software solutions that have traditionally been used for collections cataloguing by museums and other collections-based organizations. OpenCollection is open-source software released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). The use of the GPL guarantees, in perpetuity, a users right to (a) freely use the OpenCollection software without charge, (b) freely redistribute the software and (c) freely modify the software to meet their needs or the needs of others. Any software derived from OpenCollection is similarly bound by the GPL, ensuring that the software cannot be used as the basis of a proprietary product.

It is our hope that OpenCollection will help to break the dominance of proprietary software in collections management and make it possible for organizations that have lacked the resources needed to acquire such software to effectively catalogue and make accessible their collections. We also hope that OpenCollection will provide an attractive standards-based alternative to ad-hoc collections databases that many institutions tend to construct in lieu of appropriate software.

Here are some key features of "OpenCollection":

Completely web-based user interface. All access to OpenCollection is via a web browser-based user interface. No other software is required. Thus any operating system that can run a modern web browser is supported, including Mac OS X, Windows 2000/2003/XP, Linux, BSD* and Solaris. The lack of specialized software and hardware requirements - virtually any internet-capable computer will do - makes remote access for both data entry and search simple.
Configurable type-specific metadata system. In addition to the standard set of OpenCollection fields representing concepts applicable to anything that can be catalogued - things like "accession number" - sets of custom fields may be defined. These sets can (and usually should) map to established metadata standards such as Dublin Core, Darwin Core, VRA Core 3.0, CDWA Lite, et. al. Custom fields may be type-specific: they can be defined such that they are only available for specific types of catalogued items (ex. photographs, video tapes, films). They may also be repeating, and it is possible to impose controls on input formats.
Support for a wide variety of digital media types. OpenCollection understands and can process, convert and display digital media files in many formats, including:
Imagery: JPEG, JPEG-2000, GIF, PNG, TIFF, PSD (Photoshop), BMP, Tilepic
Multi-page documents: Microsoft Word, PDF, PS (Postscript), DjVu
Video: QuickTime, RealMedia, WindowsMedia, FLV (Flash), MPEG-2, MPEG-4
Audio: MP3, AIFF, WAV
Multimedia: SWF (Flash), QuickTime VR
OpenCollection is capable of converting non-web-viewable formats such as TIFF into web-friendly formats (JPEG for example) at various sizes. The original format can be retained and made accessible for download. For small files, conversion and resizing may be done in near-realtime. For larger files, which can take a considerable amount of time to process, conversion tasks can be queued for later processing on a designated media processing server. Whatever the uploaded file size, cataloguers are never forced to stop working while media files are processed. Support for individual media types are implemented using a modular architecture which makes it possible to add support for new media formats without requiring modifications to the core OpenCollection system.
Automatic extraction of metadata from uploaded media files. Metadata embedded in uploaded media files in EXIF, IPTC, IRB and XMP formats can be extracted for search or display.
Batch upload of media files. The "File Space" is a holding area for media files to be added to catalogue records. Using a web-browser-based user interface media may be uploaded to the File Space in large batches (as ZIP, Tar-GZip or GZip encoded archives) for later cataloguing. In most cases this is considerably faster than uploading media file-by-file.
Flexible search engine. The built-in search engine supports full text searching over all fields in database, field-limited searches, wildcards, stemming, phonetic matching, spell correction, Boolean combinations, exclusion (Boolean "NOT" operator), phrase searches, synonomy and more. Both simple Google-like and advanced search interfaces are offered.
Built-in web-based high resolution "pan-and-zoom" image viewer. Images may be viewed at any resolution, and with continuous zooming and panning, using OpenCollection's built-in Tilepic viewer. Tilepic is an open multi-resolution image format designed by the University of California Berkeley Digital Library Project ( Uploaded images can be automatically converted to Tilepic from any supported image format.
Extensive support for authority lists. OpenCollection has a full set of tools for managing and cataloguing with the following types of authority lists:
Entities authority. Authority list for individuals and corporations.
Place name authority. Hierarchical authority list for geographic place names. Supports an unlimited number of independent place hierarchies, enabling side-by-side usage of established authorities such as the Getty TGN and self-built authorities for local areas.
Occurrences authority. Flexible authority for "things" that are not entities or geographic place names. The list of possible occurrence types is configurable, allowing the creation of any number of very specific authority lists. Typical applications of occurrences are to support authorities for film productions, expeditions, exhibitions and events such as wars, storms, elections, etc.
Collections authority. List of collections into which catalogued objects are organized. Each collection can have contextual information which may be displayed to end-users.
All authorities support any number of assigned synonyms for each authority item, as well as configurable metadata fields. Tools for management of authority lists are restricted to specific users. When constructing new authority lists, it is often desirable to create new records "in stream" with cataloging, rather than attempt to anticipate all needed records prior to cataloging. OpenCollection supports this type of workflow with the authority "quick-add" feature. When "quick-add" is enabled, a cataloguer may add new authority records directly from cataloguing screens. These records contain a name only and are tagged as "quick-added." The tagging allows authority maintainers to later review quick-added records and modify them as necessary.
Controlled vocabularies. An unlimited number of hierarchical controlled vocabularies may be loaded into the system and used side-by-side for cataloguing. Management tools allow selected users to edit existing vocabularies or create new ones from scratch. Tools have been implemented to import Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) data files into OpenCollection. It should be possible to load other thesauri into OpenCollection without modification to the core system.
Time-based cataloging. Tools for time-based cataloguing - cataloguing of arbitrary segments of time-based media such as video and audio - allow a cataloguer to create and catalogue "clips" from an object using the same descriptive methods that are employed for any other type of object.
Hierarchical cataloguing. Objects may be arranged into hierarchies using "is-a-part-of" relationships. The search engine supports traversal of these hierarchies.
Registrar module. Tools for managing accession numbering, tracking of object donor information and lot-level cataloguing, for use by collection registrars are available.
Reporting. The search engine's support for Boolean combination, exclusion, wildcards and field-level limiting makes it possible to pose very specific queries suitable for reporting. The result of any search in OpenCollection may be downloaded as a tab-delimited file suitable for import into Microsoft Excel or similar applications for reporting purposes. The list of report fields and their output order may be customized.
Labeling. Labels may be printed for objects on pre-made label forms. Supported forms and labels are customizable. Labels may include barcodes and images.


Operating system: OpenCollection should run on any system capable of running the Apache web server and PHP programming language interpreter. However, OpenCollection has only been tested on Linux, OpenBSD, Mac OS X 10.3 and 10.4. The next version (0.6), scheduled for release on or about April 15, 2007, will also support Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.
Webserver: Any webserver that can support PHP should work. Apache 1.3 and 2.0 have been verified to work.
PHP: You will need to be running PHP 5.1.0 or better compiled with mbstring or iconv support, GD or MagickWand support and support for MySQL.
Database server: MySQL 4.1 or better is required. Support for PostgreSQL 8.0 or better is planned.
Media servers: OpenCollection is capable of working with media servers such as RealNetworks Helix Server or Quicktime Streaming server. Alternatively, it can serve media using HTTP, removing the need for media separate servers that are often closed-source.
Libraries: OpenCollection relies on a number of optional libraries for media processing. If they are not installed OpenCollection will still function, but without support for certain media types.
ImageMagick and the associated MagickWand for PHP module are required for support of all still image file formats. If ImageMagick and/or MagickWand are not available the PHP built-in GD module can be used. ImageMagick is strongly preferred as it supports a wider range of formats and is much faster than GD. ImageMagick will require various libraries to be installed to support specific image formats: libjpeg, libtiff, libpng, libjasper (for JPEG-2000), et. al.
Ghostscript is required to process PDF and PostScript files.
FFmpeg is required to process audio files, to transcode video files and to extract still frames from video files.

What's New in This Release:

Barcodes are now supported on labels.
A new feature was added for managing a hierarchy of storage locations and tracking object locations along with a feature for recording acquisition of use rights and licensing of use rights.
Basic reporting features are now implemented.
The MagickWand PHP module is no longer required in order for OC to use the ImageMagick image processing back-end.
PDF support no longer requires Ghostscript and is now supported on Windows.
Microsoft Word documents can now be uploaded as object representations via the new MSWord media plugin.

Last updated on May 31st, 2008

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