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Last modified: October 28, 2002
Consortium for Interchange of Museum Information (CIMI)

CIMI is "a consortium of cultural heritage institutions and organizations working together to remove barriers to sharing our most valuable cultural information." The consortium develops relevant standards and encourages open, standards-based approaches to creating and sharing digital information. The members develop test beds, applying standards to museum information in demonstration projects that invite member participation. Projects current in 2002 include: Collection Level Description, Current Awareness, Handscape -- Handheld Access to the Museum Landscape, Metadata Harvesting, Standards Advocacy, and XML-Spectrum Schema Development.

[October 29, 2002]   CIMI Consortium Releases SPECTRUM XML Schema Version 1.5 for Testing.    The Consortium for Interchange of Museum Information (CIMI) has announced a public release of the Version 1.5 CIMI XML Schema for SPECTRUM, together with an implementation and testing forum. CIMI is a consortium of cultural heritage institutions and organizations that encourages open, standards-based approaches to creating and sharing digital information. The CIMI Schema for SPECTRUM enables the XML encoding of individual items in museum collections, across the full scope of Edition 2 of SPECTRUM: The UK Museum Documentation Standard. The Schema v1.5 release includes CIMI XML Schema for SPECTRUM: Supporting Documentation. Section 5.1 of this document describes the test-bed datasets which demonstrate the potential of the CIMI Schema to encode data from a wide range of museum collections. Examples are provided. Section 5.2 supplies guidance on the use of the XML Schema within specific areas. "The examples illustrate areas of the Schema relating to complex issues in the description of museum objects. Implementers requiring further details are invited to post queries on the XML Discussion List, where CIMI staff and members will be happy to respond." [Full context]

"On behalf of the international museum community, CIMI has developed an XML Schema for the description of museum objects. This is based on mda's international museum standard for describing objects called 'SPECTRUM'; a well-known and widely-used standard in the museum world. The CIMI XML Schema will enable museums to encode rich descriptive information relating to museum objects, including associated information about people, places and events surrounding the history of museum objects, as well as information about their management and use within museums. The CIMI XML Schema will be useful for migrating data, the sharing of information between applications, and as an interchange format of OAI (Open Archives Initiative) metadata harvesting.

The CIMI XML Schema is based on the SPECTRUM standard for managing and recording museum collections. SPECTRUM was developed by mda and has been widely implemented in museums internationally. The CIMI XML Schema has previously undergone testing by CIMI members as part of CIMI's test bed programme. The aim of the test-bed stage of the CIMI XML test bed was to evaluate CIMI's XML Schema for SPECTRUM (v. 1.4) by encoding and decoding real examples of museum data using the Schema, and validating the data at the end of the process. The results of the evaluation are available in the datasets below and the CIMI Schema is now being released publicly for the first time, in order to extend the testing and evaluation process to the wider museum and XML communities.

Members in 2002 included: ADLiB Information Systems BV, Netherlands; Australian Museums & Galleries Online, Australia; The British Museum, UK; CHIN - Canadian Heritage Network Information, Canada; Cleveland Museum of Art, USA; CNI - Coalition for Networked Information, USA; DS Group Holdings Limited, UK; Gallery Systems Inc., USA; J. Paul Getty Trust, USA; JISC - Joint Information Systems Council, UK; KE Software Pty Ltd, Australia; mda, UK; Museum Victoria, Australia; Natural History Museum London, UK; RLG - The Research Libraries Group, Inc., USA; Royal Ontario Museum, Canada; Smithsonian American Art Museum, USA; Smithsonian Institution, USA; Victoria and Albert Museum, UK; Willoughby Associates, Ltd., USA.

Principal References

Earlier References

[Some links may be broken]

[February 15, 2001] For XML: CIMI Project Launches XML Testbed for SPECTRUM DTD

"The CIMI Consortium consists of 16 organizations who have agreed to work cooperatively to solve complex problems relating to the electronic interchange of museum information. CIMI's major focus of effort is project CHIO, a demonstration project on the theme of folkart."

"Because the key to long-term availability and wide access to information lies in the use of standards, CIMI's mission is to promote a standards based approach to the interchange of cultural heritage information. Based on extensive previous research into the creation of a Standards Framework, CIMI is investigating two international standards: SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) for structuring data and Z39.50 for enabling high-quality search and retrieval. To demonstrate the utility of SGML and Z39.50, CIMI is implementing Cultural Heritage Information Online (CHIO). This project represents an opportunity for the cultural heritage community to implement these standards, to advance its knowledge regarding standards applications, and to begin the process of applying such standards within cultural heritage institutions."

"Project CHIO (Cultural Heritage Information Online) is the major project of the CIMI Consortium. . .In CHIO Structure, different databases containing full text, object records, and images on CIMI members' computers were "marked up" using SGML. SGML makes it possible to add markup (extra, non-intrusive information) to existing documentation, database records, full-texts, catalogs, and images, making them available directly for electronic access. The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), a NEH-funded project, endorsed and implemented SGML as a standard for the encoding of electronic texts for use by scholars. During CHIO Structure, CIMI built upon the TEI work by creating an application of SGML specific to museum content. . . Adapting SGML to a given genre requires developing an agreed-upon set of categories and guidelines that will be used when marking up documents. In SGML parlance, this tool for enabling effective mark-up is known as a DTD (Document-Type Definition). The creation of the CIMI-DTD and accompanying Tagging Guide is one of the most significant contributions of Project CHIO to the museum community. Its design reflects a community-endorsed system for encoding museum text using SGML and provides a framework for any future work that CIMI or any cultural heritage organization might do in applying SGML to museum information."


John Perkins, Project Director
CIMI - Consortium for the Computer Interchange of Museum Information
252 Viewmount Dr. RR1 Tantallon, Nova Scotia, B0J 3J0 Canada
voice: 902-826-2824
fax: 902-826-1337
cimi info:

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