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Case Study IV CIMI Consortium: the Development of a Museum Standard
Taking into account the developments and expected applications of Smart Labels, the
CIMI Consortium
initiated work on a standard to serve museum needs. A proposal is
available on its Web site
.The standard was to be made public by mid-2001, but was
awaiting publication as we prepared this case study (November 2002).
As Smart Labels become increasing affordable their use by the museum sector should
become more widespread. As more museums begin using them institutions will require
guidance about how to make best use of the limited storage space on the chip. A CIMI
Consortium group worked on standards proposal to establish a solution which would
help museums of different types and sizes to the best and most compatible use of the
limited chip storage capabilities. A basic principle was formulated: `...the standard should
be device independent: it just answers the question how to use the limited storage capa-
city on smart devices in a flexible and interoperable way.'
The development team found the following requirements critical: flexibility allowing
storing of different types of information in the same chip, dependent on specific applica-
tion requirements; interoperability between different software applications used within
the museum and between different collection management systems; and extensibility
with a view to the inevitability of future technology development.
Museum data poses unique types of problems.This is especially true when the infor-
mation management needs of museums are compared to those of libraries.The structure
of data to be stored is also more complicated, taking into account that the Spectrum II
standard consists of more than 400 individual fields.
The group working on the pro-
posal took into account the fact that current smart labels technology has limited memory
capacity, varying between 40 and several hundred bytes.This is one of the rapidly chang-
ing characteristics of the technology, but under these memory capacity restrictions it was
considered that XML is not currently an appropriate standard for data encoding.
For memory limitation reasons it was considered that a single byte tag, combined with
a single byte length, is the best applicable solution. Suggestions for field repeatability were
also made.
The proposal includes a set of tags, with the presumption that not all of these tags
need to be defined up front with possible later additions.Tags for the following elements
are anticipated:
- Inventory number;
- Current location;
- Home location;
- Date location change;
- Time location change;
- Userid location change;
- Insured value;
- Date insurance;
- Insurance policy number;
Smart Labels
and Smart Tags
This case study is based upon the content of the CIMI webiste (,
visited on 28/10/02 and 29/10/02.
date of original document: 16 October 2000, Revised: 27 February 2001
SPECTRUM,The UK Museum Documentation Standard'. 1997-2002.
Brief presentation at