FAQs

What is CollectionSpace?

CollectionSpace is a moderns collections management application backed by an internationally recognized non-profit committed to advancing the field of museology. The CollectionSpace team and community is made up of museum professionals, software engineers, and interaction designers.

What are the features and functionality of CollectionSpace?

Highlights of CollectionSpace Features and Functionality

  • Standards-based collections management with support for cataloging, accession and deaccession workflows, loans, exhibitions, and location management
  • Flexible public collections browser, built to integrate with existing content management systems
  • Robust tools to store and describe a wide variety of digital assets, including images, documents, audio, and video files
  • Custom and imported vocabularies to manage people, places, concepts, and more
  • A library of pre-built reports and integration with Jaspersoft, an open source reporting tool for custom forms and reports
  • CSV import tool to streamline data import workflows
  • Full text search and indexing backed by a powerful Elasticsearch engine
  • Web-based, responsive interface with no licenses or limits on user accounts
What does web-based mean? Is it the same as cloud based?

CollectionSpace is a web-based application. It is installed on a server, and accessed over a network connection through a web browser like Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. CollectionSpace users do not need to install any additional software on their computers.

CollectionSpace can be cloud-based, which just means that the server that it's installed on is remote, i.e. not physically located in your museum.

CollectionSpace can be hosted on-premises, in the cloud on a server that your organization manages, or in the cloud on a server that a hosting provider like LYRASIS manages.

Is CollectionSpace user-friendly?

CollectionSpace is committed to the principles of user-centered design. Our environments are developed to match the needs of real users, and our software is accessible and usable. Take the guided tour or try the online demo to see for yourself how easy CollectionSpace is to use.

Who will support us if we try to implement CollectionSpace?

There are a variety of options for CollectionSpace support services.

  1. Ask other CollectionSpace users
  2. Work with the program staff
  3. Work with LYRASIS
  4. All of the above

Start by asking questions, engaging in conversation, and learning from colleagues on the Talk list. The CollectionSpace Talk list is an email list that is specifically focused on the needs of implementers. We want to hear from you and help you with your installation, and we want to encourage anyone who has already implemented to join in the conversation as well to share their experience. We encourage you to join the Talk list, post your questions, and join the conversation!

Implementers use many different solutions for managing CollectionSpace, including in-house staff, developers hired for a specific period to install and configure the software, consultants to manage data mapping and gap analyses, and service providers who manage the entire process. To learn more about hosting and support offerings, you can visit the LYRASIS services page.

Are CollectionSpace data dictionaries available for viewing and download?

Yes, all schema currently in-use, under consideration, and in-progress are available from the program wiki.

Is CollectionSpace available in languages other than English?

Our technology stack was designed to handle Unicode from the outset, ensuring that a full range of languages can be supported from the user interface all the way down to the database. Current versions of the software support an English-language User Interface, but any language can be used for museum information (metadata), and internationalization of many aspects is supported upon configuration. The system separates the labels and other language used to generate the UI into a separate resource, to facilitate translation. Translation projects are an excellent opportunity for those who are not software developers to contribute to the community!

Is CollectionSpace open source?

CollectionSpace is open-source software, licensed for use pursuant to the Educational Community License v. 2.0. Learn more about the ECL. The source code is freely available.

Can I self-host CollectionSpace? What technical skills are required?

Installing CollectionSpace requires someone comfortable with a command line interface and package manager (for Linux and Mac installations), and who has some familiarity with editing text files.

The CollectionSpace platform is built upon Nuxeo, an open-source content management system. The services architecture is based on Apache Tomcat and a relational database such as PostgreSQL or MySQL; the server-side interface layer is built with Java; and the client-side (or user) interface is developed in HTML and Javascript. Schema are defined using XML.

Configuration, or changing the behavior and the look and feel of the system, can be accomplished by making changes on web-based Administration pages and by editing the text files (HTML templates, CSS stylesheets, configuration files, etc.) that control its behavior and appearance. Familiarity with HTML, CSS, command line interfaces, and editing text files is required.

More extensive customizations that extend the system's functionality require familiarity with Java for the service and server-side interface layers. Client-side customizations require knowledge of HTML, CSS, and the React.js JavaScript framework.