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An Overview


The Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO) is a non-profit corporation formed by North American Art Museums to provide educational access to and delivery of cultural heritage information by creating, maintaining and licensing a collective digital library of images and documentation of works in their collections.

AMICO enables its members to do a number of things that they cannot do on their own, including:

  • Creating a collective library of art from North American museums for educational uses
  • Reaching the educational community in a coordinated and cost effective way, and developing new audiences
  • Enabling its members to leverage influence with vendors to reduce costs of capturing this data
  • Providing its members access to collective funding to pursue their educational missions
  • Assisting members to improve their information infrastructures and documentation practices
  • Negotiating digital rights with artists and artists estates and with museums in other countries
  • Providing members access to each others holdings for their own educational uses

Collaborating in AMICO can also help individual museums by:

  • Reducing risks through collective decision-making
  • Adopting common standards and guidelines, and participating in national and international standards development where appropriate
  • Sharing expertise

AMICO balances the needs of small and large museums, the well prepared and the novice, by providing for different levels of membership participation from observer through full contributor.

Services which it is envisioned that AMICO will deliver to its members include:

  1. Technology Information Services, including "best practice" guidelines, "frequently asked questions", standards for data capture, advice on hardware and software, application guidelines, training and research and liaison with developing standards
  2. Data Enhancement Services, including data value standardization, the addition of unique identifiers and watermarking of images, subject indexing, metadata augmentation, thesaural explosion of terms in controlled vocabularies, markup of text to SGML, and mapping institutional data to export standards.
  3. Catalog Management Services, including creating an integrated, publicly accessible directory with many access points and different interfaces for different users which enables educators to identify works which they have licensed and may use through AMICO and allows the public to seek further rights including commercial use rights from the individual museum members.
  4. Rights Management Services, including defining the minimum rights management data requirements, creating searchable rights metadata systems, negotiating rights with individual rights holders and their collectives, writing model licensing agreements, providing a forum for and developing terms of licenses for schools and school districts, museum education departments, and public libraries, and developing and disseminating end-user responsibility training materials.
  5. Customer Services, including monitoring and analyzing uses and users, conducting focus groups to identify users needs, and promoting innovative educational uses of museum digital content.
  6. Collaborative Partnering, including with technology firms, funding sources, standards organizations, telecommunication providers, and others.

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