Rapid creation of Digital Collections with full-text search using open source and building block modules

Rich Roth, welovemuseums.com, USA

This is a how-to session about presenting a museum collection digitally. This refers to both the active part of a web site, and a presentation for a serious collection curation.

There are a number of products, projects and tools for a larger museum to curate and archive their collections – but what is a small (or even mid-sized) museum to do, without a internal tech staff or serious development budget ? The approach presented here is structured using a ‘Technology Stack’ similar to that used by most servers on the Internet. A stack is a set of layered technologies built upon each other, each layer enhancing the features, and simplifying the use of each lower layer. Most layers of the stack are standard components developed by professional developers and made available over the internet for little or no charge. Since these are standard modules used by millions of websites, competitively priced professional support is available. One of the most common Internet stack is ‘LAMP’ – Linux/Apache/Mysql/PHP” , which is available at most ISPs or cloud providers for standard museum web sites or internal intranet use.

This presentation will explore how a museum can leverage this kind of stack and add the needed museum specific layers, esp. search using the Lucerne based systems: Solr and Elasticsearch. It will explore alternatives for tying all this together to be effective for a museum, and present a number of building blocks that can be directly used. To be realistic, using these parts will still take some technical skills. However, having a proper stack definition and detailed tool kit will allow a skilled staffer or an external web developer to tie it all together with only a minimum of added programming. How the CMS systems, wordpress, joomla, and drupal, fit into this approach will also be discussed.

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