Atlantech's MUSE Search Engine gives the Public web-based access to 150 years of objects and information
After more than 150 years of capturing information about its objects and archives, the Auckland Museum has opened the doors to the online public, now proudly boasting one of the best online collection databases in the world.
|The MUSE system allows customised templates to be designed for any environment|
Atlantech have recently developed and deployed MUSE, the Museum Universal Search Engine, which allows sets of data to be imported from the Museum's Vernon, dbTextWorks and other database platforms to be viewed by public, staff and researchers through a friendly web-based interface.
Click here to search the Auckland Museum's online databases
Click here to browse the Auckland Museum's pictorial collections
Click here to browse the Auckland Museum's pictorial web exhibitions
The MUSE Search Engine is developed in the Microsoft .Net Framework and Microsoft SQL Server and is hosted on an IBM Server behind a Watchguard firewall onsite at the Museum.
What data is currently "live" and searchable?
||65000 Books, Manuscripts, Paintings/Drawings, Photographs, Maps, Oral History, Publications, Reference Files, Serials and Ephemera. Includes more than 12000 images of Paintings, Drawings and Photographs.
||11000 Auckland Streets
||33000 Deceased Military Personnel
||Library and Armoury Only|
||Maori Land Court Index
||91000 References to Maori Land Court Rulings
||Library and Armoury Only|
||860 Tapa items (Bark cloth) from around New Zealand and the Pacific
||210 Kete (Flax bags) from around New Zealand and the Pacific
||More than 250 taonga from the collection of Captain Gilbert Mair
||More than 1500 records
||More than 290 records
||More than 1700 records
||More than 700 records
||More than 90 records
The Museum's Natural History and Human History teams continue to prepare records in Entomology, Marine, Botany and Pacific Canoes for future release.
Features of MUSE
- High Speed Search Engine; providing basic and advanced search, on-screen help, images and enlargements. Long, complex lists of searchable terms are easily distilled through pop-up "look-up" term filters.
- Web Exhibitions; a set of objects linked together on a theme. Each object can have its own descriptive text that ties the object to the theme. Current examples include City Scenes and 150 Years of the Auckland Museum. Object records shown in a Web Exhibition can come from any dataset spanning multiple curatorial areas or gallery topics.
- Web Collections; a small sample of objects from a collection are displayed and further access to the object records is provided by predefined searches. The Collection can be narrated with introductory information and can have links to other resources, websites and multimedia. Current examples are the various pictorial collections; including the Museum's Robin Morrison Collection and the Paintings and Drawings Collection.
- Data from any datasource; Data is imported into the SQL Server from CSV files that can be exported from just about any database platform. This allows the Museum to provide a single, consistently designed portal to all their collection databases.
- Automated image resampling; Digital images on the Museum's database may be too large for online access and require resampling for display. Because of the sheer quantity of data that is potentially available, MUSE automates image resampling. The first time a digital image is requested, the original image is retrieved from the Museum's secure database and resampled on the MUSE server. On the fly resampling allows images to be adjusted to the image and thumbnail size specifications of individual design templates. The resampled image is then cached on the MUSE server to reduce access times in the future.
- Template-based look and feel; The MUSE system displays the data through "templates" that allows custom design themes to be specified in different situations. Examples are on the Library and Armoury public workstations which have library and military themes. The public website and staff intranet use a generic design based on the Museum website. Additional templates can be designed for other gallery or collection themes as required.
- Security and access control; Access to the data is controlled by location through the concept of "Audiences"; External users through the internet/website do not have access to all data whereas Internal users within the Museum have greater access. This concept could be extended to provide special dataset search or exhibition or collection facilities to audiences of researchers, students or staff.
The Museum has commissioned Atlantech to continue with future releases of MUSE. Features currently in development include the MUSE Administration system, allowing authorised staff to upload data, manage the web-based exhibitions and collections and update the public-facing descriptions and narrative text and providing Dublin Core compliant meta-data to the National Digital Forum/National Library's Matapihi project.