The purpose of the Peabody Museum’s electronic collections databases is
to streamline the management of the Museum’s rich and expansive
collections, and thereby advance scientific research and our
understanding of the natural world by maximizing the utility and
accessibility of information about the specimens/objects. An electronic
collections database is defined here as an organized collation of
information about museum specimens/objects stored in electronic format,
with elements usually assembled and visualized in a multidimensional
manner (e.g., horizontally as records and vertically as fields).
The Museum’s electronic collections databases are structured to reflect closely the history of specimens/objects and the transactions in which they have been involved. The electronic collections databases consist of derivative data and are proxies for the specimens/objects and their physical documentation, and do not replace these. Use of the contents of the electronic collections databases is governed by this document and the Museum’s Policy on Usage Rights and Reproductions.
collections databases represent logical extensions of the Museum’s
collections and their physical documentation, and are the property of
the museum, along with all rights in such property.
The Museum supports a centralized software model/system for electronic collections databasing that is administered through the Systems Office, in contrast to separate divisional systems. Responsibility for this software model/system rests with the Systems Office, which coordinates with collections staff and curators to insure electronic database implementations that address both museum-wide and divisional needs.
All curatorial Divisions at the Museum share a core history and philosophy, which is reflected in a core data model applicable to all Divisions. The Museum’s electronic collections databases are maintained in a manner that preserves this shared data model while also allowing latitude to implement division-specific requirements. The Museum’s data model maintains consistency with discipline-wide standards (e.g., the Association of Systematic Collections), with appropriate modification for the Museum’s common agenda.
Where appropriate, the following core data elements that arise from the institutional data model are recorded for each specimen/object:
Authority files and other methods of controlled vocabulary are implemented for specific electronic collections database elements whenever feasible, in order to minimize data transcription errors and inconsistencies and maintain compliance with the underlying data model. The Systems Office coordinates regularly with divisional staff to assess the accuracy of information in the electronic collections databases.
Access to the hardware, operating systems, and underlying source/executable code that support the electronic collections databases is restricted to staff in the Systems Office. The ability to access and manipulate the content of the electronic collections databases is limited to users authorized by the Systems Office. Access to output from the electronic collections databases (e.g., printed reports, derivative electronic data made available to the scientific community through networking technology) is authorized by the collection managers and curators, in consultation with the Systems Office. The Systems Office insures appropriate physical and electronic access to the electronic collections databases and the integrity of the electronic collections database management system.
staff will use only legally obtained computing software and hardware.
All users of the Museum’s electronic collections databases are expected
to be familiar with and follow University-wide policies governing use
of institutional computing resources, protocols established by the
Museum’s Systems Office, as well as division-specific procedures.
Approved, Board of Curators, September 14, 1998