What is EmbARK?

EmbARK is a user-friendly suite of software tools designed to catalog and manage collections. Whether you use Cataloguer or Collections Manager, you'll find that EmbARK’s solutions are the optimal way to document your collection. And with Web Kiosk and the Authoring Tool, the virtual world can enjoy your collection too.

EmbARK operates natively on both Windows and Macintosh workstations and/or servers. It can operate as a stand-alone desktop application or provide access to multiple concurrent users with a client/server implementation.

EmbARK Cataloguer

Educational organizations, visual resource libraries and private collectors across the globe use Cataloguer to effectively manage images, and record scholarly and technical information about objects. Cataloguer supports multiple digital media files per record and automatically generates reference thumbnails. Group records into thematic portfolios, or locate them through comprehensive search options. Import/export tools allow you to easily migrate data in or out of Cataloguer, and the report writer lets you design elegant reports and labels.

EmbARK Collections Manager

While incorporating the standard features of Cataloguer, Collections Manager also tracks all aspects of an object’s history and use. Manage such activities as acquisitions, conservation, exhibitions, loans, shipping, valuations and more. Customize default EmbARK reports to create wall labels, incoming and outgoing receipts, checklists and letters.

If you start out with EmbARK Cataloguer, you can always upgrade to EmbARK Collections Manager in the future by simply paying the difference in price. We'll send a new serial numbers and you'll instantly have access to the additional functionality.

Use authority lists to control terms, making data entry faster and more accurate.


You can include choice lists, which are the means for controlling the vocabulary in EmbARK, in over 400 fields in the data entry and modification screens. In order to keep control over authorities, only users who are granted permission by the System Administrator can modify choice lists.

Manage your collections using histories of Surrogates, Copies and Circulation

EmbARK provides a tool for visual resource librarians to manage and track their collections, using histories of Surrogates, Copies and Circulation. EmbARK is bar code compatible, making it possible to check materials in and out as easily as if they were books in a library. A touch of a button presents a list of materials that are in circulation or overdue.

Highly configurable, EmbARK meets the needs of all collection types and users.

The EmbARK structure consists of more than 80 related tables and over 1700 fields. More than forty files, 1000 fields and most of the program menu items can be renamed and redefined to suit your standard vocabulary. You can also include field definitions for access by on-line users.

Create customized, task-specific data entry & modification layouts for Object, Artist & Agent records.

You can create customized, task-specific data entry and modification layouts for Object, Artist and Agent records. EmbARK also allows you to specify the fields that you want to use, and arrange them in a single list, which you can place in any order you like.

Historical Dates: Historic date fields accept a vocabulary of more than twenty words (e.g., “circa,” “started,” “finished,” and “between”), allowing you to enter ranges and eras in natural language. You can also set exact ranges for the term “circa,” which is used for searches and sorts throughout EmbARK.
Dimensions Conversion: EmbARK gives you control over how dimensions (including distance, weight, area, volume and duration) are displayed. Enter measurements in any format, and EmbARK automatically converts the data to the specified display format.
Choice Lists: Choice lists are standardized terms accessible either through pop-up menus or EmbARK’s “look ahead” feature, which allows you to enter just a few letters then press the tab key — EmbARK fills in the rest. Some choice lists allow you to specify more than one level of information (e.g., locations — United States, New York State, New York City, Manhattan, Central Park, the Ice Rink), in just a few keystrokes.
Global Search and Replace: Global Search and Replace allows you to find all instances of a particular value in a field and to substitute a different value with only one command. The function also lets you perform batch data entry by selecting a group of records, and then filling in the designated field with a new value.
Duplicate Objects: When many objects need to be catalogued with the same field data, you can enter the details for a single record, then create as many duplicates as you need in a single click of your mouse.

Adding an image to an object record makes retrieval faster and easier.

Images serve as visual references throughout EmbARK, allowing you to identify objects immediately, without having to search through pages of text. Images can be linked to display a reproduction or preparatory study of the object, its components or its maker. EmbARK can handle any image file format supported by QuickTime. Just drag-and-drop to link the file(s) and automatically create reference thumbnails. EmbARK includes a Source Management module which can be used to perform digital asset management functionality such as moving, copying or renaming images that are linked to EmbARK records, or even to open images in your favorite editing program.

Import and export data easily, to and from EmbARK with easy-to-use utilities.

EmbARK has powerful and flexible modules for importing and exporting data. The import module updates existing records in a datafile and creates links between related files, such as Objects, Agents and Moves. This makes it easy for you to perform your own data conversions, without the need for complicated programming, and provides another way of updating EmbARK records in large batches. The ASCII export module can be used to enhance the integrity of your data or to allow broader access to your collection. Our latest release even allows for the import of CDWA Lite and VRA Core 4 XML data!

EmbARK comes with more than 40 pre-formatted reports, some containing images

With EmbARK, you can create documentation that is both attractive and functional. You can print from all public screens, list views and data entry layouts or create your own reports with the flexible report and label editors. The program comes with more than 40 pre-formatted reports, such as exhibition lists, slide labels, etc. All reports can contain information from linked files, as well as from images attached to records.

Use one of several search interfaces to search accurately, quickly and easily.

EmbARK provides a wide range of options for searching your database — from a simple accession number search to complex cross-table, multiple line Boolean queries. You can use one of several search interfaces to search accurately, quickly and easily. It is also possible to speed up searches by adding indices to those fields queried most frequently. In order to prevent broken, lost or deaccessioned objects turning up in a search, an “inactive” mark excludes it from search results (unless specifically requested).

Easily specify read-write, read-only or restricted access to individual files, fields and object records.

EmbARK maintains the security of your information by providing a comprehensive system of password-protected access levels to your database. You can easily specify read-write, read-only or restricted (invisible) access to individual files, fields and object records. This protects sensitive data from being displayed or modified without authorization. EmbARK also allows you to designate records for Objects and Agents as confidential, which restricts access to specially authorized users. EmbARK’s Public Access mode allows only limited, read-only access to information. This lets you make your data available to the public safely. EmbARK Web Kiosk provides even more flexibility and control over security.

Create your own thesaurus or import existing thesauri to enhance object cataloguing.

You can attach keywords to any object in EmbARK, using a hierarchy of descriptive terms that can be up to 16 levels deep. It is also possible to construct your own hierarchy, or to import existing thesauri such as the Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) or Chenhall’s Nomenclature. Both EmbARK and the EmbARK Web Kiosk have a separate search tool that lets you locate objects using their keywords.

EmbARK Collections Manager Only: Manage exhibitions and loans

The Collections Manager has extensive functionality for exhibition planning. The program helps you to manage the objects, loans, shipments and personnel associated with an exhibition, and to track venues. The Exhibition Venue layout specifies each locale, and creates lists objects organized by venues, traces shipments (including crate lists), coordinates loans and documents all agents involved. A single layout shows data relating to the exhibition. You can enter and modify information easily, and EmbARK updates all related files and views automatically.

Effortlessly and accurately manage your locations and movements.

EmbARK allows you to specify a list of locations in your organization, and you can use this to assign each object a location. This feature makes tracking movements easy and always accurate.

The following recommendations apply to both EmbARK Collections Manager and EmbARK Cataloguer.
Database Software
A copy of 4D Server software is provided with client/server installations of EmbARK.
Hardware and Operating System
Single-user and client computers should be fast computers with monitors suitable for displaying digital media. We
recommend Windows XP(sp3), Vista(sp2), 7 or 8/8.1 as the operating system; for Macintosh systems, we recommend OS 10.6.8 or better.
Single-User or Client workstation configuration
The current optimum workstation configuration is:

  • Intel CoreDuo (Note: PowerPC platform is no longer supported with EmbARK 9.0 or later)
  • 2GB RAM (4GB recommended for Mac OS)
  • 20 GB hard disk space
  • Windows XP (sp3), Vista (sp2), 7 or 8/8.1;  Macintosh operating system (10.6.8 or better)

Server configuration (not necessary for single-user)
 The current optimum server configuration is:

  •  Intel CoreDuo (Note: PowerPC platform is no longer supported with EmbARK 9.0 or later)
  • 4 GB (or higher) RAM
  • Windows 2008/2012 Server or Macintosh operating system (10.7 or newer)
  • Disk storage sufficient to manage and copy the collections database and images, with extra space for growth
  • Mass storage device or tape drive with appropriate backup software


Hardware and Networking Recommendations
The recommendations mentioned above do not include network cabling, network hubs or network consulting. Gallery Systems prefers that all hardware and network cabling and software be installed, tested and fully operational by the client before EmbARK is installed. Gallery Systems does not provide hardware or communication services except consulting for remote users.  If in-house expertise is not available, we recommend that our clients establish a relationship with a hardware vendor and a local system consultant. This recommendation extends to all aspects of the network.
For more detailed information on hardware specifications, please visit the 4D web site at http://www.4d.com