digitalcraft - concepts of long-term storage and conservation of data
The digital artefacts archived on our servers are managed by means of a database. We have been making an inventory of the Museum of Applied Arts Frankfurt's catalogued collection since early 2000, and will gradually make the collection accessible online. The traditional collection is now being enlarged by the addition of original digital objects. At the moment we are developing specific description formats for the inventory of virtual objects, appropriate to the digital medium. The research project consists of building up, examining, testing and refining a complex system of parameters. Standards that already exist (for instance in libraries and for traditional museum objects) have to be urgently enlarged to accommodate the special characteristics of digital objects. For instance, it is already clear that games and web design will need different formats.
The index to the growing collection of digital artefacts will be stored in the database, and will be visible on local workstations as well as on the web. A database that will now contain secondary information, but not the entire data of the digital artefacts, will be accessible on www.digitalcraft.org. The entire data will be visible in the Museum of Applied Arts Frankfurt, which will function as a reference library, where collected games and websites can be used on the spot.
The digitalcraft project also encompasses the use of digital media throughout the museum to support the user in her exploration of the museum's collections. In addition to the existing facilities (which include computer workstations on every floor and wireless internet throughout the museum) so-called "mobile museum guides" are planned: visitors of the museum can borrow a PDA, which provides supplementing and commenting information about the collection. With this the museum's users are offered diverse contexts and multi-lingual background information about the collected objects, thus overcoming language barriers.