background image
ment or even an individual) as to which IT systems
are employed. In some cases it might even make
sense to employ a DAMS alongside a typical muse-
um CMS, and implement interfaces between the two
systems to avoid redundancy of data. But what will
also be decisive in the future regarding using a CMS,
DAMS or both will be the size, the objectives and
the available budget of a museum.
Norbert Kanter, zetcom AG,
collections and all other work related to collection
objects ­ which means almost all departments of a
cultural heritage institution. In many cases, a CMS
maps the complete institutional structure, i.e. sup-
ports executives, curators, registrars, restorators, lib-
rary and educational staff and so forth.
In comparison, the potential application areas of a
DAMS do not include all departments of a heritage
institution, but are restricted to areas like media
management and publishing.The strength of DAMS
clearly lies in the management of digital assets (ima-
ges, graphics, textual elements etc.), providing func-
tions far beyond a classical CMS; worth noting, in
particular, is the powerful workflow management
that DAMS provide in publishing.
Of course, there have been proposals and attempts
to develop CMS that allow for more enhanced work-
flow management in heritage institutions, but so far
these attempts have not been successful in meeting
the requirements of these institutions. It should also
be highlighted that in comparison with, for example,
industrial organisations they tend to be lacking in
their definition and structuring of work processes.
In fact, there are some overlaps between DAMS
and CMS, but nevertheless the differences are consi-
derable. At present, and presumably in the future, if
media management and publishing are key to an
organisation, CMS cannot replace DAMS; but on the
other hand it seems unlikely that DAMS will substi-
tute for having a CMS in place.This is because
DAMS support only some of the necessary functions
of a CMS, and in ways that are not customised for
the specific professional needs of museums.
Might the ideal management system for a museum
be one that is a CMS as well as a DAMS? Will the
ideal Museum Management System result from a
combination of the two approaches? There are alrea-
dy examples in which sub-functions of DAMS have
been integrated into museum systems. One actual
example is the `Museums-Dokumentation-System'
project in which the existing CMS - `MuseumPlus' -
of the State Museums of Berlin is enhanced with
asset management functions that allow for operating
a commercial image archive. Its basis is the Bildarchiv
Preußischer Kulturbesitz, and by integrating such
new functions a high level of synergy is achieved
as the digitised objects and related data sets can be
interlinked with information in other databases (e.g.
about artists) of the Stiftung Preußischer Kultur-
Finally, as always with museums, it rests with their
individual strategies (often that of a single depart-