Making a Square Peg Fit
The Smithsonian Institution has recently launched a "one-stop" search center that includes 2.3 million Smithsonian collection objects and materials from 20 Libraries, 14 Archives, and 11 museums. Data in 25 databases from across the Smithsonian have been pulled together and transformed into a cohesive research resource. This new search center is powered by open source software which supports faceted searching and relavency ranking. The traditional practice of separate management of Library, Archives and Museums (LAMs) collections at the Smithsonian has posed major challenges. Clean data, messy data, data with little content, data from different systems, and data with different cataloging standards all converged into one place. Did I mention challenges? We found solutions for some of the problems but we still have a long way to go.
search; museum collections; archives; metadata index