While Collection Management Systems (CMS) and Digital Asset Management (DAM) solutions complement each other quite well, when two systems need to interact, maintaining them to ensure that both databases are current and up-to-date can be a challenge. However, this is easy to achieve via software integration using a product such as CIP – the Canto Integration Platform for Cumulus. Here’s an example of how this might work.
- Starting in the CMS, Collection Management staff export data from the system using Vernon’s built-in Reporting tool. The report contains all the latest object records added to the CMS and the data is exported as a CSV text file.
- To import this into Cumulus, Digital Asset Management staff use the Cumulus Import facility to create “New Empty Records” in Cumulus.
Above: The Import/Export facility allows the creation of new records in Cumulus. Automating the process minimises opportunities for human error.
- Once the import has been completed a new record appears in Cumulus for each new record in the CMS, with all key object data transferred across to the DAM.
- When there are multiple images for the same CMS object, the Cumulus Duplicate menu item can be used to create multiple records and assign each with some specific metadata such “Lighting” and “View”. One of these records is then marked to be the “Master Record” and the others are “Variants’ of the master.
- The import process can be set to create a work order, which means the records are sent via a Cumulus process to a photographer to request that they capture new collection item images. Once taken, the images are uploaded and tagged back to the appropriate record in Cumulus.
- In the background, automated processes can be scheduled to take place, such as the creation of a unique ID for each record that is used in subsequent ordering processes.
The following screenshot shows a Cumulus collection of images with master and variant record information (courtesy of the National Gallery of Victoria).
Courtesy of National Gallery of Victoria
Why is one system often not enough?
While circumstances are different for every business, the answer lies in the ability to store, manage, search and maintain accurate information, with the goal being to provide multiple users with the right information in the right format with the right permissions and at the right time. Collections become more valuable when the objects they contain are accurately documented and easily shared.
In addition to the ability to research individual items, integrated systems help you to create unique exhibitions. Using the information contained in the CMS and the assets stored in the DAM, you can easily plan the content of exhibits and create rich, descriptive labels of the items that are to be displayed. You can also display and email collections of records to prospective customers.