The Standards Framework
outlines AMICO's approach to evaluating and adopting the standards
needed to create The AMICO Library and distribute products derived
from it for educational uses. It sets out the values that should govern
the decisions taken by members of the consortium in final agreements
about standards, in order to assess the costs and benefits of their
1. Purpose and
- 1.1 An integrated
suite of standards - the Standards Framework - is required to enable
the collection, collation and distribution of the collective digital
documentation of AMICO member museums to the educational community.
- 1.2 Specific decisions
about individual standards will follow from agreement on this framework.
Choices will be informed by the values expressed here, and the analysis
of the existing state of AMICO MembersÍ digital documentation. The
specific costs to any given institution of participating in AMICO
will emerge from a comparison of their digital documentation to
the standards defined by AMICOÍs Members .
2. Criteria for
Standards are required for the operation of AMICO
- 2.1.1 The management
of The AMICO Library depends upon the contribution of documentation
in a consistent and predictable manner. This will be enabled
by Members adhering to common standards.
- 2.1.2 A significant
portion of the value of AMICO Products to the educational community
will be in predictability and consistency, qualities that require
adherence to standards. AMICO Members must adopt a Standards
Framework that enables their contributed content to form an
integrated whole from a userÍs perspective
should enable AMICO to achieve its mission
- The relevant
standards are those which will enable:
- 2.2.1 documenting
works in museums collections
- 2.2.2 contributing
digital documentation to a shared database, to create The AMICO Library
- 2.2.3 managing
The AMICO Library
- 2.2.4 searching
the contents of the Library on the AMICO Catalog server
- 2.2.5 distributing
products based on that Library to licensees
- 2.2.6 integrating
the distributed contents of products with other information
resources of educational institutions
- 2.2.7 using
detailed information from AMICO Products in research and teaching
adopted by AMICO should be open and community based
technologies or strategies should be avoided if they impede
access to the AMICO Catalogue or use of AMICO Products derived
should accommodate the full range of existing museum documentation
- 2.4.1 Digital
textual, audio and video documentation should completely and
accurately represent analog documentation available in museum
- 2.4.2 The data
content (chunks of information, whether fields, documents, images,
sound files of audio tours, etc.) should be meaningful to users
- 2.4.3 Genres
of documents (exhibition history, publication history, provenance,
condition reports, education materials, etc.) should reflect
existing museum documentation, and not require the creation
of new data content.
should not impose unnecessary requirements
adopted by AMICO should enable the operation of the Consortium
but not impose an undue burden on its members.
- 2.5.1 Standards
that mesh with existing museum practices will be preferred.
- 2.5.2 Required
information should be generally available in museum documentation
- 2.5.3 Additional
requirements should be justified by the needs of users and periodically
standards has both costs and benefits
- Some costs
of following the standards framework set out by AMICO may not
be directly offset by savings to the data creator.
- 2.6.1 Standards
which could save money and effort for recordsÍ creators should
- 2.6.2 The overall
benefits of adopting standards to the community of users should
be sufficient to offset the added costs of employing them.
Standards that are widely adopted in existing technology
infrastructures should be employed.
Standards that require minimal effort on the part of receiving
institutions to redeploy distributed information in their
own networks should be favored.
Standards that conform to the existing metadata (technical
and descriptive cataloging) standards for educational resources
should be favored.
should be as easy as possible.
data conforming to adopted standard should not require new information
content or additional control over information values if transformation
can be achieved by automated means.
- 2.7.1 If data
values in defined fields can be linked with synonymous values
through use of approved thesauri, no "preferred" terms should
- 2.7.2 If utilities
for format conversion can bring non-conforming data into conformance
by automated means, such tools and processes should be supported
by the Consortium rather than developed and/or maintained by
- 2.7.3 If data
content in defined structures can be generated by mapping from
more finely detailed structures in the museum data, such mappings
and reformatting should be facilitated.
- 2.7.4 If data
content in defined structures can be generated by syntactic
or semantic searches of existing museum data, such extraction
should be employed.
employed by AMICO should be subject to regular review
- The user community
and the museum community should assess the standards in use
by AMICO as necessary, to ensure that they reflect evolving
international standards for cultural information.
- 2.8.1 The experience
both of AMICO members and educational users should govern use
- 2.8.2 New standards
should be evaluated as they are proposed, and reassessed over
time, as they are approved and adopted by others.
- 2.8.3 Adequate
advanced warning should be provided both to information contributors
and information users of proposed changes in the AMICO standards
- 2.8.4 Adequate
time periods should be allowed and methods established to ensure
smooth transitions between generations of standards.
- 2.8.5 AMICO
should remain aware of and inform members of relevant developments
in information standards worldwide.
- 2.8.6 AMICO
should participate in cultural heritage standards development
when necessary to meet its goals.
Standards Based on Application Needs
- 3.1.1 Standards
should be selected based on their ability to serve concrete
- 3.1.2 Standards
which have been promoted in the museum and education communities
should be assessed on the basis of the need for them in this
- 3.1.3 Standards
should not be adopted for their own sake.
Needs Determine Content Delivered
- 3.2.1 Content
standards should ensure that certain information required by
the educational community is included.
Information about intellectual property rights is essential.
Citation of sources for information is desirable.
Citation of attribution is desirable.
Providing details about disputed facts is desirable.
Recording the degree of certainty and quality of documentation
- 3.2.2 Information
delivered should be discretely identified at the level required
for research and education.
ñFieldsî should be defined according to usersÍ needs.
Indexing requirements (rather than possible logical or semantic
distinctions) should determine the degree to which terminology
should be de-coordinated and values distinguished, for concepts
like medium/technique/support, dimensions/measures, style/period.
Structuring contents of textual museum documentation such
as condition reports is not necessary.
- 3.2.3 Content
not required for research and education should not be included.
Access to confidential museum data is not desirable.
Access to details of collections management, including location
of the original, shipping data, insurance data etc. is neither
useful nor desirable.
3.3 Data Content
- The Categories
for the Description of Works of Art (CDWA available at www.getty.edu/gri/standard/cdwa/)
is the data content standard which comes closest to expressing the
requirements of higher educational users of art for fielded data.
The CDWA will be used to establish AMICO Content requirements.
- A minimal
set of AMICO Core text data fields will be derived from the
CDWA core categories.
- The contribution
of additional textual documentation, of a less structured kind
will be encouraged. These documents, including exhibition history,
conservation history, etc., will be delivered according to common
data formats (most likely RTF and SGML) and accompanied by associated
- Digital images
should be provided to The AMICO Library according to a set of
Guidelines. These will specify:
- 22.214.171.124 Agreed
resolution and bit depth. A minimum standard tentatively agreed
by planning members was 24 bit, 1024x768 pixels, captured from
35mm slides. Higher quality images are preferred
- 126.96.36.199 File
format, most likely TIFF.
- 188.8.131.52 Appropriate
accompanying metadata (documenting file type, resolution, bit
depth, etc.) most likely based on the Dublin Core
- 184.108.40.206 Image
watermarking technology (once investigated)
- 220.127.116.11 Original
image capture (photography) standards should be discussed, with
a goal of producing guidelines over the longer term.
- Since no sound
standards are currently adopted in the cultural heritage community,
broadly implemented commercial standards should be evaluated.
- 18.104.22.168 Initial
formats will include WAV and AIFF.
- 22.214.171.124 Real
Audio will be investigated, but most likely discouraged, as
it is of lesser quality, and results from conversion form another
- 126.96.36.199 Sound
files should be accompanied by appropriate metadata (descriptive
textual information), most likely defined based on the Dublin
Core (see www.purl.oclc.org/dc/)
for video should include QuickTime, MPEG and MPEG2.
Video files should be accompanied by appropriate metadata
(descriptive textual information), most likely defined based
on the Dublin Core.
- No predefined
multimedia content standard will constrain contributions to
The AMICO Library initially. Redistribution will be in native
- 188.8.131.52 Multimedia
files should be accompanied by appropriate metadata (descriptive
textual information), most likely defined based on the Dublin
3D and VR
for vector, three dimensional and Virtual Reality data need
to be investigated. They will include QTVR.
- Where possible,
AMICO should adopt available and implemented terminology standards.
- 3.4.1 Appropriate
fields should contain values defined by the Art and Architecture
Thesaurus (AAT; see shiva.pub.getty.edu/aat_browser/).
- 3.4.2 Appropriate
fields should contain values that could be in the Union List
of Artists Names (ULAN; see shiva.pub.getty.edu/ulan_browser)
even if the artists are not yet part of ULAN. Links between
these terms and Library of Congress Name Authorities (LCNA)
should be supported.
- 3.4.3 Appropriate
fields should contain data from the Thesaurus of Geographic
Names (TGN; see shiva.pub.getty.edu/tgn_browser).
- 3.4.4 Appropriate
fields should contain Library of Congress Subject Headings
(LCSH), when relevant.
- 3.4.5 The data
values (terminology, language, constructs for expressing measures,
time, etc.) should conform to agreed thesauri and templates
- 3.4.6 AMICO
will develop strategies for enhancing the data values recorded
with terminology available in these standards.
- A Technical
Specification will be established for the structure of data
delivered to AMICO, that specifies mark-up schemes, fields,
delimiters, character sets, etc.
Syntax and Labeling
Markup languages can provide a flexible and extensible framework
for labeling. AMICO should explore the mark-up languages
SGML and XML which could support the content-based labeling
required by this application.
Existing semantic expressions of the content (all or core)
required by AMICO (including Dublin Core semantics with
qualifiers, existing Document Type Definitions (DTD's, etc.)
should be evaluated based on need.
Discipline specific rules and classification systems (meta-schema)
should be declared within each record in a standard fashion
when such standards are developed.
Innovations reflected in the Museum Educational Site Licensing
Project (MESL) data dictionary with respect to larger chunks
of data (documents by genre) should be adopted whenever
more detailed analysis of data items is not essential.
Interchange and Security
- 3.6.1 A
record level envelope with appropriate encryption should
be developed for interchange. The Reference Model for Business
Acceptable Communications could be used as an evaluation
- 3.6.2 File
level interchange should use file formats consistent with
ISO 9660 (CD-ROM)
- 3.6.3 AMICO
should become involved in the definition of unique identifiers
for networked digital objects (file names for digital objects
which will be guaranteed unique across the entire Internet
and persist over time and across changes of hardware and
software platforms) and select a standard as soon as possible.
- 3.6.4 AMICO
should select a watermarking standard for use by the consortium
and its members.
- 3.7.1 AMICO
should undertake minimal development to provide a searchable
catalog. Access to a catalog of The AMICO Library should
be offered through a straight-forward "Web-enabled" application
to standard Internet browsers rather than through higher
level search protocols.
- 3.7.2 Other
distributors of The AMICO Library should be encouraged to
provide Z39.50 (the information search and retrieval protocol)-based
access or other access methods common in their communities.
in Standards Making
- AMICO should
become involved in standards making efforts when these are of
direct interest to its members or an immediate need of the collaborative.
& Museum Informatics, the Art Museum Network and the Association of
Art Museum Directors.
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