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  • This article was downloaded by: [University of North Texas]On: 12 November 2014, At: 16:16Publisher: Taylor & FrancisInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK

    Journal of Internet CatalogingPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wzic20

    Chinese Collections in Museumson the WebHsin-Liang Chen aa School of Information, University of Texas atAustin , 1 University Station, D7000, Austin, TX,78712, USAPublished online: 06 Mar 2009.

    To cite this article: Hsin-Liang Chen (2005) Chinese Collections in Museums on theWeb, Journal of Internet Cataloging, 7:1, 89-102, DOI: 10.1300/J141v07n01_06

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J141v07n01_06

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    http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

  • Chinese Collectionsin Museums on the Web:

    Current Status, Problems, and Future

    Hsin-liang Chen

    SUMMARY. This paper focuses on types of images indexed by mu-seum practitioners, the indexing procedures and elements, and types oftools and systems used. The six participating museums are in the statesof California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Washing-ton, DC. Their conventional cataloging and indexing practices are notsuitable or transferable for the new image management system. Thelack of indexing standards and tools is the common challenge faced bythe six museums involved in the study. Most image management sys-tems are not metadata/XML ready and the expansion of the systemsonto the Web may be limited, which contributes to the internal conflictsthat exist within the museums. [Article copies available for a fee from TheHaworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH. E-mail address: Website: 2004 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.]

    Hsin-liang Chen is affiliated with the School of Information, University of Texas atAustin, 1 University Station, D7000, Austin, TX 78712 (E-mail: chen@ischool.utexas.edu).

    The author gratefully acknowledges the support and assistance of the museumpractitioners at the six museums.

    This project is supported by the University of Texas at Austins 2002 Faculty Sum-mer Research Assignment and the School of Informations Temple Teaching Fellow-ship.

    [Haworth co-indexing entry note]: Chinese Collections in Museums on the Web: Current Status, Prob-lems, and Future. Chen, Hsin-liang. Co-published simultaneously in Journal of Internet Cataloging (TheHaworth Information Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc.) Vol. 7, No. 1, 2004, pp. 89-102; and: Col-laborative Access to Virtual Museum Collection Information: Seeing Through the Walls (ed: Bernadette G.Callery) The Haworth Information Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc., 2004, pp. 89-102. Single ormultiple copies of this article are available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service[1-800-HAWORTH, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (EST). E-mail address: docdelivery@haworthpress.com].

    http://www.haworthpress.com/web/JIC 2004 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

    Digital Object Identifier: 10.1300/J141v07n01_06 89

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  • KEYWORDS. Image management, Chinese museum collections, mu-seum Web sites

    INTRODUCTION

    With the development of computing technology, many Chinese mu-seums and museums with significant Chinese collections have digitizedand provided images of their collections on Web sites. These online re-sources offer users around the world access to valuable treasures tolearn more about Chinese culture. However, there are obstacles thatmust be overcome to achieve the goals of promoting the Chinese heri-tage and educating new generations.

    The purpose of this project is to study how museum practitioners usecurrent image indexing practices and services to retrieve the images ofthe Chinese collections. Several issues, including image needs, infor-mation-seeking strategies, information queries, search functions, dis-play formats, and human-computer interaction are examined in thisstudy.

    This paper focuses specifically on the current practices of imagemanagement: types of images indexed by museum practitioners, the in-dexing procedures and elements, and types of tools and systems used.

    BACKGROUND OF THE PROBLEM

    Current Image Management at Museums

    Dervin and Nilan1 point out that user search behavior analysis andspecific domain applications need to be addressed to further enhancestudies in information retrieval systems. Su2 suggests that the develop-ment of effective information retrieval systems should rely on system-atic feedback from evaluation by real users with real information needs.Graham3 surveyed 60 art libraries in the U.K. The survey included theimportant issues of image collections, cataloging and indexing prac-tices, content-based image retrieval (CBIR) systems, and the use of im-ages. Grahams study reports on the current management of imagecollections and techniques for image and video retrieval in the U.K.Eakins and Graham4 study the current state of the art in CBIR systemswithin the U.K. and submit several suggestions to U.K. governmentalagencies, users, and managers of image collections and CBIR software

    90 Collaborative Access to Virtual Museum Collection Information

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  • developers. The Visual Image User Study (VIUS) project at The Penn-sylvania State University is conducting an extensive and systematic as-sessment of its needs for digital image delivery.5 The VIUS project isworking to develop digital picture libraries to supply new uses of digitalimages for teaching and research.

    Importance of Information Needs and Information-SeekingBehavior to System Design

    Some previous studies have shown that museum visitors liked tobrowse exhibits; their behavior was more like sight-seeing or win-dow-shopping.6-7 Davies8 reported that museums and galleries in theUnited Kingdom have been required by the government to provide au-diences with access to their collections culturally and intellectually. Healso states that Web pages as marketing tools present information aboutexhibitions, taxonomies, and organizing display principles of objectswhich can provide motivation for visiting (p. 286). Cameron9 stated thatthematic interfaces to museum collections have been more popular andhave shown an important paradigm shift (p. 309).

    Stephenson10 examined several cultural heritage image databasesand identified key issues for future improvements. She pointed out that,in addition to technological challenges, the areas of audience, user be-havior, and use should be addressed as well. Dyson and Moran11 studiedseven Web sites (museums, libraries, galleries, educational projects,photographic collections) and found five of the seven Web sites pro-vided a searchable database of their collections with limited searchfunctions (p. 396). Different tools may be required by special users andenvironments. New functions may be created to facilitate users searchstrategies. To achieve such goals, studies on interface design, hu-man-computer interaction, and users information-seeking behaviorshould be conducted. Davies8 suggested that information about, andphysical and intellectual orientation and navigation to, collections canbe provided through a media programme using symbols, and a proto-type was created at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (p. 283).However, there is no evaluation of the prototype available.

    Other Challenges

    In addition to the above key issues, the museums also face severalchallenges: (1) lack of communication among museums; (2) lack of in-dexing standards and tools; and (3) lack of translation standards of Chi-

    Hsin-liang Chen 91

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