Sorry for the late post this week.  I actually had this puppy written out on Friday, very proud of myself because I was ahead of the game for once.  What’s that they say about best laid plans???  Turns out I hit the “save” button instead of the “publish” button….probably because I was trying to multi-task, giving six people simultaneous instructions (interns can be a lot of work) and blog away.  Guess I learned my lesson.  Anywho…this is what I initially wrote for this week.

We have an awful collections management database at the Naval Historical Center.  It’s not online, which is its major problem, its software is not supported by the Evil Empire that runs the Navy’s intranet system, and it sucks in the user friendly department.  Therefore, the whole three people that can access KEMU right now have “legacy computers” sitting on their desks, along with their NMCI(the Evil Empire) computer.  There are twelve museums that rely on KEMU to keep track of their collections, inventory, and bascialy fill their museums.  Needless to say we are receiving calls all the time from someone at one of our other museums who is trying to find something and request an artifact. 

Recently we’ve begun looking at the collections management system being used by the Center for Military History, called AHCAS, or Army Historical Collection AccountabilitySystem (after years of struggle with KEMU, I think we’ve decided it’s a sinking ship-no pun intended.)  The system can be supported by NMCI, its online and best yet, it’s not only user friendly for the data-inputers, but should the agency running the software chose to, the public can be allowed to view the collection, or certain parts of the collection.

The reading on interoperability triggered my thought on AHCAS.  One of the things that I want to explore future with the company that designed AHCAS is if it would allow the curatorial staff at both the Navy Museums and the Army Museum to view each others collections from the comfort of their respective offices.  If the collections were interoperable, it would create a whole new level of sharing between museums, just in the realm of art, uniforms, medals, artifacts, etc. 

The public is always asking about our collections, especially what we have “behind closed doors.”  A combined collections management database that can be viewed by the public would be an amazing resource.  Along the same lines as access to the collections of a museum, it would be awesome if the educational program for all twelve navy museums could be combined onto one datebase, a cookie swap of programming ideas for the education specialist, and access to standards of learning, fun classroom projects and pre and post visit field trip activities for teachers to use.  It would be one-stop shooing for those of trying to modify and reuse info from other museums.     

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