CI 2023

Introducing: 2023 TMS Speakers

Deputy Director of Document Management, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

Panelist: A Tale of Two Archives: Different Approaches to Recording Archival Data in TMS

Assistant Registrar, Collections and Collections Information, Brooklyn Museum

Speaker: FlexFields as the Backbone of Interdepartmental Workflows

Collections Information Manager,
Saint Louis Art Museum

Panelist: Digging Deep: DEI & Demographic Data at the Saint Louis Art Museum

Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University

Panelist: Professional Development for Better TMS-based Collaboration

Director of Collections Technologies,
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University

Panelist: A Tale of Two Archives: Different Approaches to Recording Archival Data in TMS

Collections Information Associate,
J. Paul Getty Museum

Panelist: Envisioning a TMS Provenance Module

Collections Information Specialist,
Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

Speaker: From Inventory to Cataloging: Developing a Collections Database During COVID-19

Latinx Cataloger,
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African American History and Culture

Speaker: Latinx Cataloging at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Media Cataloger,
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African American History and Culture

Speaker: Cataloging Time-Based Media (TBM) in TMS: the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s (NMAAHC) Approach

IT Specialist of Data Management and Systems Administration,
Smithsonian Institution OCIO

Panelist: Reimagining Barcodes: Improved XML Based Barcode Scanning at NASM

Database Administrator,
Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Speaker: Using the TMS Events Module for Grouping Objects, Women’s History, and Surfacing Records for the Public

Registration Specialist,
Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Panelist: Reimagining Barcodes: Improved XML Based Barcode Scanning at NASM

Brenda Podemski headshot

Head of Collection Information & Access,
J. Paul Getty Museum

Panelist: How can you make the most of your institution’s collections data?

Chief Registrar,
Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Panelist: Reimagining Barcodes: Improved XML Based Barcode Scanning at NASM

Registrar for Collections Information,
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Asian Art

Keynote Speaker: Change and Growth in a Connected World

Panelist: Envisioning a TMS Provenance Module

Museum Database Administrator,
New-York Historical Society

Panelist: How can you make the most of your institution’s collections data?

Manager of Museum Technology,
Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University

Panelist: Professional Development for Better TMS-based Collaboration

Data and Database Administrator,  Yale University Art Gallery

Panelist: How can you make the most of your institution’s collections data?

Director of Document Management, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

Panelist: A Tale of Two Archives: Different Approaches to Recording Archival Data in TMS

TMS and TMS Collections Sessions

CI 2023 Keynote

Nearly a quarter century into the 21st century, we are experiencing profound change. Global disruptions wrought by commerce and the double-edged sword of technology have altered and accelerated trends in all aspects of human life and the Biosphere.

In their role as custodians and collectors of material culture and natural histories, museums were for many years naturally conservative. But today, having been shaped Western perspectives and now gone global thanks to the Internet and world travel, museums are experiencing—and responding to, a changing world Not long after March of 2020, 90% of the world’s museums closed due to COVID-19 and became suddenly disconnected from their communities. The need to adapt fell heavily upon the entire community.

Now reopened, museums have emerged from the pandemic to a changed landscape. There is an increased social awareness of the values of diversity, audience engagement, and accessibility. On the legal and political front, many museums must now pay heed to potential provenance and cultural heritage issues. And perhaps most impactfully, there is an increased understanding of the critical role of digital technology in fulfilling and extending their missions.

What role can collections databases play in helping museums respond to such change, and how might the databases themselves need to change?

Keynote presented by: Jeffrey Smith, Registrar for Collections Information, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Asian Art

There are many kinds of archives, and TMS supports many approaches to archive management.

At the Harvard Property Information Resource Center (PIRC), we use TMS to manage the archival collections somewhat atypically, more akin to a museum with individual object-level descriptive cataloging than traditional archival arrangement.

In contrast, our colleagues at the Harvard University Peabody Museum of Archelogy & Ethnology have developed an archival processing approach for their paper-based archives for TMS that more closely follows traditional archive cataloging.

Our presentation will compare/contrast these approaches and other possible approaches to archives cataloging in TMS.

Presented by: Sylvia Welsh, Director of Document Management, Alison Anderson, Deputy Director of Document Management, and David DeBono Schafer, Director of Collections Technologies

At the Brooklyn Museum, FlexFields have become the backbone for integrated, interdepartmental workflows centered on DEIA initiatives.

Routing information through FlexFields allows for greater flexibility in project documentation, tracking, and transparency in our work on provenance and culturally sensitive information.

While some of these projects aim for wider transparency, such as using TMS to format and share provenance information to the public, others focus on sharing information to internal stakeholders on cultural and religious restrictions for certain works in our care.

Through greater use of FlexFields, we have increased data transparency for both internal and external audiences.

Presented by: Alison Baldassano, Assistant Registrar, Collection Information

In this presentation, we will cover how the Saint Louis Art Museum is addressing the growing need to better understand the artists represented in our collection.

We will cover the launching of a project to greatly increase the demographic information we record about artists represented in our collection and our process for creating ethical, inclusive standards that allow staff to find the information they need.

The challenges of creating standards that work the range of artists represented in a historical, encyclopedic collection will also be addressed.

Presented by: Sarah Biggs, Collections Cataloguer, and Elizabeth Casner, Collections Information Manager

TMS is the cornerstone of all successful collections work at the Eskenazi Museum of Art, but we found that many of our users weren’t using the software to its fullest extent.

In 2021, we were awarded an IMLS grant for staff professional development and digital literacy, and we incorporated multiple sessions on TMS to increase or staff’s confidence and efficiency with the TMS program, as well as to introduce new workflows that would support the Museum’s initiatives. We also used the series to transition our staff from TMS for Windows to TMS Collections in 2023.

In this presentation, we will explore some of the successful—and not so successful—techniques used to increase staff confidence in using TMS to augment their existing workflows.

Presented by: Emma Fulce, Registrar, and Cassi Tucker, Manager of Museum Technology

Utilizing a collection inventory and TMS, the collections team at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art was able to virtually catalog part of its collection during COVID-19.

This system required minimal follow up in person with objects and permitted the team to continue building out the collections database and cataloging objects while shared spaces were locked down. This was achievable using batch functions in TMS, as well as the copy record functions.

The data management team has continued to expedite cataloging processes using this method developed during the pandemic, allowing staff to continue working in a hybrid format.

Presented by: Karissa Hurzeler, Collections Information Specialist

As a new digital first museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) took a transformative approach to cataloging in building a practice that centers communities and justice, supports intersectional identities, and generates interdisciplinary connections across the Museum’s collections.

The approach became the groundwork for Latinx cataloging at NMAAHC.

My presentation will discuss how Geography and Custom Attributes within TMS are used to ensure Latinx-related objects and constituents are identifiable in the collection information system and online via NMMAHC’s award-winning Latinx Collection Search Portal.

Presented by: Daisy Jaime, Latinx Cataloger

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) opened its doors to the public in 2016. Since then, its Cataloging and Digitization team has created extensive documentation on cataloging a variety of objects using TMS.

However, cataloging time-based media (TBM) objects using TMS presented a unique and exciting set of challenges for a variety of reasons.

Catalogers must account for both physical objects and their contents in the catalog record, differentiate between objects that have been digitized and those that have not, as well as catalog and track the location of accessioned objects and their associated, non-accessioned preservation elements.

Amidst all of this, TMS is largely optimized for non-TBM taxonomies, and lacks a media player that supports audio and audiovisual playback.

This presentation will describe NMAAHC’s process of devising new, TBM-specific cataloging guidelines that complement the museum’s existing standards while addressing the unique requirements of TBM objects, as well as discuss some of the other challenges we are currently exploring solutions to.

Presented by: Bryan Miller, Media Cataloger

In order to support detailed object component location updates within TMS, the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) developed a customized barcode tracking system. NASM worked with Gallery Systems and an outside vendor knowledgeable in handheld scanner technologies.

Our system utilizes TMS Barcode Manager and a custom handheld scanner application to capture location change data including timestamp, handler, and move purpose, in addition to the usual updated location data. NASM has used this system successfully in support of complex move activities with multiple simultaneous users across three facilities since 2019.

This panel will discuss:

  • Planning – background on our project and needs assessment
  • Preparation – identifying TMS data clean-up requirements and the hardware, software, and infrastructure requirements
  • Development – the process of testing and refining our work with Gallery Systems and our hardware and handheld software vendor, RMS Omega
  • Deployment for our system’s successful use and refinement
  • Features, such as interface and functionality

Presented by: Rob Morgan, IT Specialist of Data Management and Systems Administration; Erin Ober, Registration Specialist, and Erik Satrum, Head Registrar

In this presentation, I will look at using the TMS Events module at the National Air and Space Museum to build out a network of linked groups of objects. Focus will be on using Events for thematic material that has a one-to-many relationship.

Additionally, I will talk about using Events to track objects relevant to women’s history or other events and groupings around objects associated with various identity categories. I will share the advantages of using Events over other areas of TMS and how Events solves the problem of showing objects “about women” in collections. Since people relate to objects not just as maker, but as user, or as the subject of what an object is about, creating terminology and cataloging that covers these things is difficult. By being theme-based, Events make this work easier.

Finally, I will cover the possibilities that underly making Events public online, namely as a kind of proto-linked data.

This speaker session is especially useful for smaller museums that may not have deep technical resources, but are capable of publishing online their TMS data from any module.

Presented by: Jeremy Munro, Database Administrator

The team at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen started using TMS Conservation Studio in 2021. Before its implementation, the Museum worked with external conservators that made their reports based on templates exported through Crystal Reports.

As a result, these reports all have different layouts and are difficult to consult quickly.

The main goal for the project was therefore to standardize the different conservation reports, creating a space where the conservators, registrars and other members of the team could work together in one program and where they could have a simple and quick overview of the still required actions.

In this presentation, I will share how the museum approached this project. The main focus will be on the newly developed data entry view for loan advices for works on paper, exploring the use of FlexFields, text fields, and ListViews to improve workflows.

I will discuss how the opening of the new, publicly accessible, Depot helped with the process and how switching to working in Conservation Studio fundamentally changed the way the museum worked on conservation reports.

Presented by: Sara Swart, Data Manager

Tate has been a TMS client since 2001, and in that time, we have adapted many parts of TMS to accommodate our collection information, processes, and collection management activities. So, when our Paper Conservation department expressed their need for a digital job request system, TMS was a prime candidate for meeting their needs.

Utilizing the Events module, FlexFields, and Crystal Reports in partnership with Conservators and Technicians, we have replaced a paper and email-based system with an accountable, integrated workflow. The project explored what is possible within TMS, using the security and configuration settings to streamline the user experience.

If you are interested in developing TMS to host your organization’s workflows, combining with other applications and systems to improve how museum and gallery’s function, then this is the presentation for you.

Presented by: Jacob Weber, Collection Systems Manager

CI 2023 Panel: How can you make the most of your institution's collections data?

Panelists from institutions of different sizes and resources will discuss their successes and challenges implementing API’s and Linked Open Data (LOD) initiatives. Learn how panelists are engaging with the museum community to enhance collection data usability and accessibility through shared understanding of terminology and data standards. Special emphasis will be placed on using TMS thesauri and linking to controlled vocabularies through TMS cataloging.

Presented by: Katharine Staelin, Museum Database Administrator; Yer Vang-Cohen, Data and Database Administrator; and Brenda Podemski, Head of Collection Information & Access

CI 2023 Panel: Envisioning a provenance module

Brought together by Rupert Shepherd of the National Gallery in London, a group of TMS users has been meeting since June 2020 to envision a module for TMS which would faciliate the creation and management of structured provenance data. This module would enable users to assemble, edit and archive provenance data in support of research, data entry, the creation of human-readable provenance statements with storage and export of machine-readable structured data from behind the TMS user interface. Gallery Systems staff have generously supported this effort by attending meetings to listen, understand the scope and suggest methods by which the group can identify and communicate the high-level needs of such a module. Within this framework the group has been meeting regularly to draft technical requirements with supporting use cases and to identify the tools, authorities and related TMS data which would contribute to the effectiveness and efficiency of such a provenance module. The group has adopted an ontological model where a single provenance comprises multiple time-bound events. Events are in turn characterized by types (e.g. ‘purchase’, ‘inheritance’, ‘exhibition’) with levels of certainty, relationships between actors, places and supporting bibliographic and archival references.

Presented by: Autumn Harrison, Collections & Info Associate; and Jeffrey Smith, Registrar for Collections Information

Introducing: 2023 EmbARK Speakers

Senior Interactive Developer,
Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Speaker: Crowd-sourced Tagging a Collection with Cratylus

Registrar, Collection Information,
Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia

Speaker: An Excel-ent Approach

Collections Manager,
Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University

Speaker: From EmbARK to TMS Collections: Reflections from the Jim Crow Museum’s Experience

EmbARK Sessions

As a teaching museum, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art seeks to make our collections more relevant to our students and faculty. Keywords provide some help but are typically populated with curatorial terms as opposed to subject matter.

We wanted to make it easier for a researcher to enter topical search queries and get back a set of objects that depicted that topic. For example, if a meteorologist searches for clouds, we would like to provide a set of all objects that depict clouds.

The BCMA developed a crowd-sourced tagging system that uses the Getty’s AAT Web service to allow our Web Kiosk viewers to suggest keywords for a displayed object. We then extended this concept by creating a gamified version called Cratylus that retrieves object data from EmbARK’s XML Data Sharing APIs to present a random artwork for a user to analyze and tag.

This presentation will demonstrate the suggestion tool, the Cratylus app, and the search interface that utilizes the crowd-sourced data. The presentation will provide details of how we made use of XML Data Sharing, IIIF to provide detailed image inspection, and how we adopted the Getty’s AAT Web service to provide metadata consistency in tagging.

Presented by: David Francis, Senior Interactive Developer

Ever thought that there should be a better way to standardize or compare data than the tedious repetitive methods you’ve maybe tried to date? Come see some of the tips and tricks the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia used during the wholesale reorganization of our offsite storage space and subsequent data migration into EmbARK.

Using the recent 13,000 object project as an example, we’ll see how basic Excel techniques—pivot tables, V-look up formulas, conditional highlighting—can help you compare two different spreadsheets, isolate outliers in your location hierarchies, identify duplicates, and other helpful tasks.

We’ll look at how these tools can be useful before conducting an import, or to help teams visualize existing information to move cataloging conversations forward.

Presented by: Melanie Anne Pyne, Registrar

The Jim Crow Museum started the migration process from Embark to TMS Collections in late 2021. The switch to TMS Collections was motivated by a need for a more accessible platform, additional features, and to support an upcoming exhibit.

This presentation will provide an overview of the life cycle of the migration, including diving into components of the process such as sales, data preparation, implementation, and post-migration. Topics include the selection of products, estimating service days for migration and training, technical audits to determine hosting ability, data cleanup, test iterations, final migration, and training.

For over twelve months now, the Jim Crow Museum has successfully been using TMS Collections as its primary collection management system. Reflecting on the experience, information and preparation were integral to the success of the project, which was kindly supported by an IMLS grant.

Presented by: Cyndi Tiedt, Collections Manager


Please note that conference and workshop seating is limited.