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Created: February 15, 2001.
News: Cover Stories

CIMI Project Launches XML Testbed for SPECTRUM DTD.

Alice Grant (CIMI Project Manager) recently announced a test bed program designed to test the consortium's XML DTD and to encourage its use in the museum community for a variety of purposes. CIMI, a consortium of cultural heritage institutions and organizations. is working with the Museum Documentation Association to develop a Document Type Description (DTD) for describing objects in SPECTRUM, a well-known standard widely used in the museum world. CIMI's testing project will explore the utility of the SPECTRUM XML-DTD, as well as its interoperability with other XML DTDs originating from related cultural and heritage domains.

From the overview: "On behalf of the international museum community, CIMI has been contributing to the Museum Documentation Association's (mda) development of a Document Type Description (DTD) for SPECTRUM, mda's international museum standard for describing objects, a well-known standard widely used in the museum world. CIMI aims to ensure that the resulting XML standard is tested within the international user community and proposes to lead an XML-DTD Testbed within our membership.

"Parallel to this work, CIMI also aims to ensure that the museum community's XML products can work with related XML applications from the archive and research communities. With the CIMI Institute, we are planning a series of events aimed at increasing our community's understanding of how museums can make best use of XML.

"CIMI, with its international status, experience in developing, testing and implementing standards, and its expertise in developing community skills and awareness for those projects is well positioned to establish and support the coordination of XML work in the museum community. However, we know that no matter how much leadership CIMI provides in building XML applications and providing guidelines for doing so, not everybody in the sector will want to use a museum-specific format. Another aspect of our planned work will be to investigate how different formats can be made to work together. For example, how will a museum XML standard work the XML products of other communities, like the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) DTD, or the XML version planned for TEI?

Summary of Goals for XML Work:

  • continue to participate in the project to develop an XML DTD for museum content based on SPECTRUM
  • initiate and manage a testing program for this emerging XML standard for museum use, specifically in the areas of data migration and the sharing of digital content by different applications.
  • ensure that museum-specific applications of XML fit with related XML applications from other sectors (e.g. NEWS-ML), as well as with related standards initiatives such as the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) and the Encoded Archival Descriptions (EAD).
  • investigate the potential for using the TEI DTD as a means of updating the CIMI SGML DTD; test it as part of the SPECTRUM DTD testbed.
  • host a CIMI XML Summit Meeting to which key players in the use of XML would be invited.
  • hold a series of workshops on XML to provide users with an improved understanding of XML and its application in museums.

From the 2001-02-15 announcement:

Date:      Thu, 15 Feb 2001 11:04:30 -0000
From:      Alice Grant <agrant@ALICEGRANT.COM>
Subject:   CMI XML Test Bed

14th February 2001

Call For Participation. Spectrum XML-DTD Test Bed


CIMI has been participating in MDA's [Museum Documentation Association] ongoing project to develop an XML-DTD for the established museum standard, SPECTRUM. With the first working version of the DTD now complete, CIMI plans to lead a test bed designed to test the DTD and encourage its use in the museum community for a variety of purposes.

CIMI would like to invite all interested organizations to join us for the XML Test Bed. Participants will be asked to contribute a minimum of 100 records in one or more of the following areas:

  • Object description/catalogue information in any subject area
  • Inventory control (e.g., basic description, location control, auditing)
  • Exhibition management
  • Collections management (e.g., loans management acquisition & disposal management)
  • Existing data sets subject to exchange (e.g., data regularly published to public information services)

There are several goals for the test bed:

1. To successfully mark up records using the XML-DTD and then to migrate these records across at least two systems. Data will then be validated to ensure that it has retained its integrity throughout the process.

2. To assess the extent to which the XML-DTD can contribute towards the integration of public access and collections management systems by enabling the sharing of data between applications within organisations.

This is part of a wider programme of work involving XML, through which CIMI aims to increase our community's understanding of how museums can make best use of XML, details of which can be found at Further information about the proposed SPECTRUM XML-DTD Project, including timeline, goals, objectives and expected outcomes can be found at

Organisations interested in participating in this project should send an expression of interest via e-mail to Alice Grant at no later than Friday, February 28th, 2001. Expressions of interest should include:

  • Name of organization or institution
  • Physical address of organization or institution
  • URL of organization or institution
  • Personal contact name, job title, telephone number, and email address
  • Short description of the type of contribution envisaged.

CIMI will evaluate responses and contact eligible institutions to answer questions and review project goals, objectives and time lines. Membership in the CIMI Consortium is a pre-requisite.

For further information about CIMI membership, please contact John Perkins at; Angela Spinazze at or Alice Grant at

We encourage you to copy and/or pass this announcement on to appropriate colleagues in your organization or elsewhere.


Alice Grant Consulting
Fengate Farm, Fengate Road, West Pinchbeck
Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE11 3NE  UK
Tel: +44(0)1775-640282
Fax: +44(0)1775-640969

Principal references:

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