CIMI- Computer Interchange of Museum Information

John Perkins (jperkins@FOX.NSTN.NS.CA)
Mon, 31 Jan 1994 14:30:06 -0400

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=46or Immediate Release: January 21, 1994

Museum Computer Network to continue its work on open
interchange standards through the CIMI Consortium =20

The Museum Computer Network (MCN) is pleased to announce the
formation of the CIMI Consortium to continue the pursuit of a
standards-based approach to the automated recording and retrieval
of museum information along with mechanisms for its interchange
and availabiltiy on digital networks. =20

Three prestigous international organizations, the Canadian
Heritage Information Network (CHIN), the Getty Art History
Information Program (AHIP), and the Research Libraries Group Inc.
(RLG) have joined with MCN to provide primary sponsorship for the
consortium for an initial three year period. In recognition of
the importance of MCN's previous work developing a Standards
=46ramework for the Computer Interchange of Museum Information, =
sponsoring organizations are providing $US225,000 over the next
three years to support the consortium. =20

MCN president Diane Zorich said:=20
"We are commited to seeing CIMI continue and the CIMI
Standards Framework brought to life, and do not want to lose
the efforts and momentum that CIMI has generated for museum
interchange standards."

In addition, the CIMI Consortium has 6 participating members
contributing $US5,000 per year: The Smithsonian
Institution/National Museum of American Art, the US National
Gallery of Art, the University of California at Berkeley Museum
Informatics Project, the University of California Office of the
President, and the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI). =
Rounding out the participating organizations is RAMA, a
consortium of seven European Museums and telecommunications
organizations including the Ashmolean, the Museon, the Mus=E9e
d'Orsay , the Prado, the Pergamon, the Goulandris and Telesystems
=46rance Telecom. CIMI also has commitments in principle from the
Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum Documentation
Association in the UK and international interest from individual
museums and commercial enterprises.
CIMI has endorsements from many national and international
organizations including the Coalition for Networked Information
(CNI), the associations representing systematics collections
(ASC), and science and technology centres (ASTC). This builds on
the original support for CIMI from the Association for State and
Local History (AASLH) , the American Association of Museums
(AAM) and the International Council of Museums' (ICOM)
documentation committee CIDOC.=20

CIMI intends to start up immediately and will undertake a program
of work commensurate with the available funding. This work will
be directed by John Perkins, who managed the original CIMI project
and co-authored the CIMI Standards Framework. The positive
reponse by museums does not surprise Perkins, who commented: =20
"Museums all over the world are tremendously interested in
the uses of digital information highways and in electronic
ways of making information available such as CD-ROM and
multimedia. With museums being mentioned in the Clinton-
Gore administration's recent announcements on the US National
Information Infrastructure, and the European Community and
Canadian federal interest in access to heritage information,
museums want to be positioned to respond. CIMI provides a=20
forum for that."

Mission and Goals

The mission of the CIMI Consortium will be to promote an open,
standards-based approach to the creation and interchange of
information relating to the professional and business activities
of museums and cultural heritage organizations internationally.=20
This is being done in order to enrich scholarship and enhance
organizational performance. Initially, effort be focused in three
1. monitoring and reporting on standards issues
internationally that impact museums by publishing CIMI News
as a bi-annual insert in MCN's quarterly journal SPECTRA and
publishing elsewhere;
2. promoting CIMI and creating awareness of the benefits of
interchange standards and their importance to the museum
community. This=20will include prospecting for members,
participating in collaborations with organizations such as
CIDOC, CNI, and other standards efforts;
3. undertaking a program of pilot projects as proofs-of-
concept in the development of interchange format
specifications for objects and their associated images and
for collections-level descriptions, and an application
profile for a Z39.50 based information retrieval of those
types of records. =20

In addition CIMI hopes to support and coordinate community
standardization efforts and participate in international
information standards development. These efforts may take the
form of publishing, working with museums to specify information
and data standards, developing standardized naming conventions for
museum data entities and elements, and supporting development of
implementations relevant to museum information interchange. For
more information about the CIMI Consortium contact:
John Perkins at (Internet email), 902-826-
2824 (voice), 902-826-1337 (fax) =20

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John Perkins
CIMI Project Manager
Consortium for the Computer Interchange of Museum Information
16 Schooner Dr.
Head of St. Margarets, NS B0J 1G0 Canada
voice: 902-826-2824
fax: 902-826-1337