Chinese Collections in Museums on the Web

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [University of North Texas]On: 12 November 2014, At: 16:16Publisher: Taylor &amp; FrancisInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK</p><p>Journal of Internet CatalogingPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:</p><p>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.</p><p>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</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all theinformation (the Content) contained in the publications on our platform.However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness,or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and viewsexpressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, andare not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of theContent should not be relied upon and should be independently verified withprimary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for anylosses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages,and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly orindirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of theContent.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes.Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan,sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is</p><p></p></li><li><p>expressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f N</p><p>orth</p><p> Tex</p><p>as] </p><p>at 1</p><p>6:16</p><p> 12 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p><p></p></li><li><p>Chinese Collectionsin Museums on the Web:</p><p>Current Status, Problems, and Future</p><p>Hsin-liang Chen</p><p>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.]</p><p>Hsin-liang Chen is affiliated with the School of Information, University of Texas atAustin, 1 University Station, D7000, Austin, TX 78712 (E-mail:</p><p>The author gratefully acknowledges the support and assistance of the museumpractitioners at the six museums.</p><p>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.</p><p>[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:].</p><p> 2004 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.</p><p>Digital Object Identifier: 10.1300/J141v07n01_06 89</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f N</p><p>orth</p><p> Tex</p><p>as] </p><p>at 1</p><p>6:16</p><p> 12 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>KEYWORDS. Image management, Chinese museum collections, mu-seum Web sites</p><p>INTRODUCTION</p><p>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.</p><p>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.</p><p>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.</p><p>BACKGROUND OF THE PROBLEM</p><p>Current Image Management at Museums</p><p>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</p><p>90 Collaborative Access to Virtual Museum Collection Information</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f N</p><p>orth</p><p> Tex</p><p>as] </p><p>at 1</p><p>6:16</p><p> 12 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>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.</p><p>Importance of Information Needs and Information-SeekingBehavior to System Design</p><p>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).</p><p>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.</p><p>Other Challenges</p><p>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-</p><p>Hsin-liang Chen 91</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f N</p><p>orth</p><p> Tex</p><p>as] </p><p>at 1</p><p>6:16</p><p> 12 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>nese into western languages. Chinese museums and museums withsignificant Chinese collections should form a consortium to estab-lish communication and to develop collaboration. Many western mu-seums have begun those efforts. The Art Museum Image Consortium(AMICO) is one of those consortiums, but its image collections haveonly about 6,000 works from Asian cultures.12 The lack of indexingstandards and tools presents the same challenge for all museums. Mostmuseums either develop their own indexing standards and tools or donot have adequate professional personnel to manage their image collec-tions.3,13 Regarding translation standards, although American librariesstarted using Pinyin as the standard romanization scheme for Chinesecharacters on October 1, 2000,14 many museums may not be aware ofthis change and may still use the Wade-Giles system. These challengesare important to the development of image collections.</p><p>RESEARCH QUESTIONS</p><p>This paper focuses on an initial study on image management at Chi-nese museums and museums with significant Chinese collections in thedigital age. The following research questions were investigated:</p><p> What kind of images do the museums index? How do the museums index their image collections? What kind of indexing tools do the museums use?</p><p>METHODOLOGY</p><p>Participants</p><p>Six museums were selected for this study based on the size and diver-sity of their Chinese collections or their image management. The sixparticipating museums were in the states of California, Illinois, Massa-chusetts, New York, Ohio, and Washington, DC.</p><p>Procedure</p><p>Pre-Visit Questionnaires</p><p>Grahams survey was adopted in this project.3 A set of self-adminis-tered questionnaires was used to collect image managers/slide librari-</p><p>92 Collaborative Access to Virtual Museum Collection Information</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f N</p><p>orth</p><p> Tex</p><p>as] </p><p>at 1</p><p>6:16</p><p> 12 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>ans views on cataloging/indexing practices, the functions of new imagemanagement systems, and the use of images. The questionnaires weredistributed to correspondents before an on-site visit and were collectedbetween January and April 2002. The six museums have different inter-nal administrative structures and their various offices are handling thetransformation of image digitization. Due to the multiple layers of com-plexity, the terms slide librarians and image managers are inter-changeable throughout the entire paper unless otherwise noted.</p><p>Follow-Up Phone Interviews</p><p>After all respondents answered the questionnaires, the investigatorexamined the questionnaires and conducted phone interviews with therespondents for unclear answers and in-depth information. The investi-gator identified several key people for observations and interviewswhen visiting museums.</p><p>On-Site Visits</p><p>Based on the knowledge gained from the questionnaires and phoneinterviews, on-site visits were conducted between June and August2002. The investigator observed librarians and museum practitionersimage-seeking behavior and also interviewed those people for furtherunderstanding of their search behavior. The investigator interviewedmuseum administrators to obtain their expectations for digital imagemanagement in the mission of the museum.</p><p>RESULTS</p><p>The six participating museums are currently establishing a databaseserving areas such as the registrar office, photo studio, curatorial depart-ments, education/outreach programs, and library. The purpose and thescope of the database vary in the six museums. In general, each databaseconsists of information about the museum collections including imag-ery. The investigator reports the results collected from the surveys,on-site visits, and interviews with regard to the three research questions.</p><p>Research Question 1: What kind of images do the museums index?</p><p>Fourteen types of images were surveyed: photographic prints, photo-graphic negatives, transparencies/slides (35-mm), transparencies (5 4),</p><p>Hsin-liang Chen 93</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f N</p><p>orth</p><p> Tex</p><p>as] </p><p>at 1</p><p>6:16</p><p> 12 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>posters, fabrics, film, video, paintings, prints, drawings, art produc-tions, published scrolls, and digital images. The majority of the analogimage collections at the six museums includes photographic prints, pho-tographic negatives, 35-mm slides, and 5 4 transparencies. The sixmuseums have digitized their image collections using different strat-egies and timeframes. One museum has digitized over 5,000 photo-graphic prints, another has digitized over 100,000 photographicnegatives, another has digitized over 5,000 35-mm slides, and one hasdigitized around 10,000 transparencies.</p><p>During the on-site visits, the investigator found that the estimationsof the image collections from the surveys would not be comparablesince the leading offices of the digitization process at the six museumswere very different. Three museums had their information technology(IT) departments manage the digitization process, while the others usedthe registrar office, the photo studio, and the project office (a universitymuseum). Each of the six museums has a slide library; the six slide li-braries house different image collections reflecting the missions andpolicies of the museums. However, the quality of the slide collections isnot good for digitization. Most slide libraries host slides primarily andreceive analog images in different formats from the photo studio, sincethe collaboration between the slide library and the photo studio is notconsistent at the same museum over time. Due to the inconsistencies,the slide libraries do not have complete sets of images of the museumscolle...</p></li></ul>