CHIN Collection Management System review: our summary

Back in 2017 the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) embarked on a vendor survey of Collection Management System software capabilities and vendor software packages. In 2018, CHIN received the demonstrations, and in late 2018 all the results were published online:

https://www.canada.ca/en/heritage-information-network/services/collections-management-systems/collections-management-software-vendor-profiles.html

The review was not meant to be an endorsement of particular packages, more an appraisal of what’s on offer so that museums could take a look at what works best for their needs.

Considering Gaia Resources does quite a lot of work in this space, I decided to take a look at this significant review and see what it might mean for our existing and future customers in the museums space.

First up, this review included the following vendors and packages:

  • Axiell (Adlib)
  • Gallery Systems (TMS and eMuseum)*
  • Keepthinking (Qi)
  • Lucidea (Argus)
  • Lyrasis (CollectionSpace)
  • MINISIS Inc. (MINISIS)
  • PastPerfect (PastPerfect 5.0)
  • Re:discovery (Proficio)
  • SKINsoft (S-Museum)
  • Vernon System (Vernon CMS and eHive)
  • Whirl-i-Gig (CollectiveAccess)

* Note, only a survey was done for TMS and eMuseum, no product review was performed.

You can read all the detailed reviews and vendors response on the site, but as there is no executive summary (well, none that I could find), I thought I could add something to produce a summary of each vendor evaluation done by CHIN.

From my reading of the review, this was my take home for each of the packages:

Axiell (Adlib)

Area Description
Review performed 15 Feb 2018
Strengths ·       Data entry

·       Browsing / Searching

·       Online creation

Weaknesses ·       Batch editing

·       Customisation

·       Audit trails

Overall Comments Reviewers appeared to say it’s a solid system, but a bit old in design and system architecture.

 

Keepthinking (Qi)

Area Description
Review performed 25 January 2018
Strengths ·       Web integration

·       Media integration

·       Publishing

Weaknesses ·       Reporting

·       Search

·       Exhibitions

Overall Comments Web based system seems highly configurable with good publishing features and online access. Easily navigable, with modules logically available. Some concerns over search and loading data. Most reviewers appeared quite positive about the system.

 

Lucidea (Argus)

Area Description
Review performed 26 January 2018
Strengths ·       Search

·       Exhibition

·       Media management

Weaknesses ·       Multi-lingual support

·       Local terminology lists

·       Templated records

Overall Comments Overall positive reviews, about the potential for content and metadata management and configuration. Some concerns on the UI and it being a bit cluttered to navigate through. Most reviewers appeared quite positive about the system.

 

Lyrasis (CollectionSpace)

Area Description
Review performed 26 January 2018
Strengths ·       User permissions

·       Cataloguing

·       Exhibitions

Weaknesses ·       Audit trail

·       Batch editing

·       Reporting

Overall Comments This product review was a bit unusual in that the individual scores for components were quite low, but the overall comments were less negative. There were some written concerns about relating new content types and the amount of work needed to implement a package like this, but the comments were overall reasonably complimentary. The numerical scores against categories were quite low though, particularly in key areas like audit trails and reporting.

 

MINISIS Inc. (MINISIS)

Area Description
Review performed 31 January 2018
Strengths ·       Audit trails

·       Media management

·       Multilingual capabilities

Weaknesses ·       Web publishing

·       Batch editing

·       Browsing

Overall Comments This had mixed reviews, with several reviewers believing the UI was quite dated and the system focused on developers and power users, but some others enjoyed the flexibility and power tools

 

PastPerfect (PastPerfect 5.0)

Area Description
Review performed 2 March 2018
Strengths ·       Search

·       Batch editing

·       Multilingual capabilities

Weaknesses ·       Online data entry

·       Audit trail

·       Browsing

Overall Comments Reviewers saw this as an ideal solution for a smaller institution with limited audit requirement and smaller budget, but probably not as suitable for a larger instuition

 

 

Re:discovery (Proficio)

Area Description
Review performed 23 January 2018
Strengths ·       Audit trails

·       Permissions

·       Batch editing

Weaknesses ·       Multilingual capabilities

·       Exhibitions

·       Condition reporting

Overall Comments The reviewers seem to think it is a “good traditional CMS” was the overall sentiment, is a Windows application with good database and search, but not always intuitive into how it functions.

 

SKINsoft (S-Museum)

Area Description
Review performed 21 February 2018
Strengths ·       Web publishing

·       Media management

·       Reporting

Weaknesses ·       Import data

·       Customise data catalogue pages

·       Local terminology lists

Overall Comments Overall contained some of the most positive reviews and scores and was positively viewed by the reviewers.

 

Vernon System (Vernon CMS)

Area Description
Review performed 14 February 2018
Strengths ·       Audit trails

·       Import data

·       Local terminology lists

Weaknesses ·       Online data entry

·       Customisation

·       Multilingual capabilities

Overall Comments The reviewers seemed to think it was a powerful system, but the interface and layout was a bit dated and based on Windows. Might be hard for smaller institutions to embrace, with some complexity, but offers a lot of power.

 

Vernon System (eHive)

Area Description
Review performed 14 February 2018
Strengths ·       Media management

·       Online data entry

·       Template records

Weaknesses ·       Multilingual capabilities

·       Customisation

·       Exhibitions

Overall Comments Ideal for small museums as it offers a web interface and basic collection management, but more built around presenting collections than managing them.

 

Whirl-i-Gig (CollectiveAccess)

Area Description
Review performed 9 February 2018
Strengths ·       Online data entry

·       Media management

·       Audit trails

Weaknesses ·       Exhibitions

·       Condition reports

·       Generating reports

Overall Comments Reviewers saw the system as highly configurable, flexible and open source, main drawback seen in the effort required to set up for a collection.

It is clear a lot of work has gone into this review, and I highly recommend checking it out for yourself. Overall, the reviewers seemed to give S-Museum and CollectiveAccess the most positive reviews, but for smaller institutions something else might be more appropriate.

I can only recommend reading all the reviews for yourself and seeing what is the best fit your institution via the link at the start or contact us via email.

Morgan

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