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  • 1. eHive: The Software as a Service revolution reaches the museum sector
    • Jennifer Taylor Moore, Systems Consultant, Vernon Systems Ltd
    • Hove, England, March 25th, 2009
  • 2. What is Software as a Service (SaaS)?
    • A vendor licenses an application to customers for use as a service, usually through a periodic subscription
    • Usually hosted by the vendor on their own servers
    • Reduces traditional software updates
    • Reduces up-front costs in comparison to traditional licensing
  • 3. eHive: an overview
    • Aimed at small museums and communities of cultural sites
    • Provides web based cataloguing screens and image uploading and sizing
    • Includes public web access to selected collection items and information
  • 4. Vernon Systems
    • Focused on developing Collection Management Software
    • Started in 1985
    • 100s of existing clients around the world
    • In 2006 we began looking for a new niche to allow the company to continue growing
  • 5. The evolution of eHive
    • Most of our existing customers are medium to large museums
    • Small museums have their own needs
    • We used focus groups, questionnaires and conferences to research these needs
    • From these, we determined our key goals for a new product
  • 6. Focus Groups
    • Three regional focus groups organised in 2006
      • Volunteers are key - museums depend on them and volunteers often change
      • Time and resources are often in short supply
      • 300 small museums in New Zealand alone
      • Most do not have their own IT staff
  • 7. Software problems for small museums
    • Find it difficult to buy & maintain servers & apply updates
    • Sometimes keep insufficient data backups
    • Existing software too complex and expensive
    • Publishing content to the web is too difficult
  • 8. Key Goals
    • Use eHive with little or no training
    • Public access built into core product
    • Built in screens for common collection types:
      • Art, Archives, History, Library, Natural Sciences, Photography
  • 9. Software as a Service
    • No need to buy a server for the system
    • Backups, software upgrades and hardware upgrades taken care of
    • Better server infrastructure than could be afforded by individual museums
    • Each museum has their own private account with secure login
  • 10. Build Communities
    • All data is stored in one underlying system, allowing people to create subsets of collection items outside of the boundaries of individual museums
      • Communities to represent particular geographic areas or themes
      • Virtual Exhibitions
    • Provide functions for displaying public content on separately branded websites
  • 11. New Zealand Museums Website -
    • Built in 1997, it is the focal point for all New Zealand Museums
    • Administered by National Services Te Paerangi (NSTP), a division of New Zealand’s national museum Te Papa
  • 12. Redevelopment plans
    • Redevelopment proposed in 2003
    • Needed a more dynamic, visually appealing website
    • Wanted to include collection information
    • Wanted to involve the public through tagging and comments features
  • 13. The Original NZMuseums Website
    • The existing website was built in 1997 and was looking tired ...
  • 14. Museum page on old website
  • 15. Redevelopment
    • Vernon Systems was the successful tender for the redevelopment project
    • eHive forms the heart of the new NZMuseums website
    • The new site went live on 17 September 2008
    • Every museum has their own profile page
    • Museums can include highlights of their collections
  • 16. What did museums want out of the new site?
    • Processes needed to be simple for new people to pick up
    • Costs needed to be kept down
    • Collection information needed to cover the basics of:
      • What it is
      • Where it is
      • Where it came from
  • 17. National Services and Vernon Systems promoted the project
    • e-alerts and e-newsletters as promotional tools
      • Regular updates and info for contributors
    • National Services promoted the redevelopment face-to-face
    • Encouraged the preparation of a minimum of 20 items for placement on the site
    • An on-line forum was established to answer the more technical questions
  • 18. Explain the benefits, including:
    • Reduce the barriers to achieving a web presence
    • Unified approach across New Zealand
    • Entry point into simple collections management
    • Minimal cost and expertise required
    • Greater visibility for museums and their collections (“unlocking the treasures”)
    • Website allows self-service of information requests and therefore results in more focused research requests
  • 19. Develop procedures for museums to contribute
    • Excel documentation spreadsheet was created
    • Stepping stone between the existing systems and the project’s collection management system
    • A way for sites without existing electronic data to catalogue their records
    • A tool checked the spreadsheet data, imported it and created several sizes of images from the originals
  • 20. Subscription Model
    • Priced to cover operating and development costs
    • Free account for up to 200 images
      • Allows any museum to be a part of a larger project
      • Pricing scale for larger volumes
      • NSTP provided grants for smaller museums who wanted to make a larger contribution
  • 21. Addressing institutional fears
    • Cited examples of public tagging (search keywords) improving access to content
    • An online presence helps museums reach a wider, more diverse, audience
    • Contributors had the option of watermarking images
  • 22. Website Overview
    • Five minute overview of NZMuseums
      • Home page
      • Find Museum
      • Museum profile page, including Museums Highlights and Object Tag Cloud
      • Click on an object from the profile page
      • Search for an object and show summary and Lightbox views
      • Add tags and comments
      • News page
  • 23. Content Sharing
    • Museum and collection item information is entered and updated through the eHive website
    • NZMuseums is a community within eHive comprising of just museums within New Zealand
    • NZMuseums also has its own website with its own branding
  • 24. eHive content marked as being in the NZMuseums community shows up on
  • 25. eHive Collection Management System
    • 5 minute overview on live site
    • Sign in through a test account
    • Select one of My Latest Items
    • Edit the record, showing the various cataloguing screens
    • Save a record -> get options to publish the record
    • On Home page, Edit My Profile -> Public Profile
  • 26. Technology
    • Open Source products, including:
      • Linux operating system
      • PHP web pages
      • MySQL database
      • Joomla content management system
    • Joomla provides the web based tools for news articles and text pages such as About us.
  • 27. Usage of the redeveloped site
    • 386 museums are represented on the site
    • 56 museums have added highlights of their collection
    • 90% of these collection items not previously available on the Internet
    • 99% of collections have images
    • Google Analytics used to track site visitors
  • 28. Future Plans
    • Virtual exhibitions created by museums and public
    • Google Maps for museum locations
    • Write stories which link to specific museums or collection items
    • More management functions, including a wider range of pre-built reports
  • 29. Conclusion
    • eHive is a revolutionary new collections management system
    • The world’s first CMS built specifically to be software as a service
    • A global repository for collection information allowing selections of content across museum collections in ways not seen before
    • Public involvement adds value – the data gets enriched helping others to discover it