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Home News 2004-07-30: New version of Cornucopia available for review

2004-07-30: New version of Cornucopia available for review

Version 3 of Cornucopia, MLA’s national database of museum, library and archive collections, is now available to review at http://www.cornucopia.org.uk.

Participating organisations are asked to check the website and make additions or corrections using the online editing tools, in advance of a public launch this autumn. Details of how to sign up for edit access are given on the Cornucopia website.

Cornucopia is a fully searchable online database of some 6000 collections held by almost 2000 cultural heritage institutions. It allows those institutions to record and maintain collections descriptions and details in a unique shared national resource.

Cornucopia means members of the public can browse, collect and compare information on different objects and collections held cross the country, using a fast, efficient system of categorisation and retrieval. They can save descriptions in a personalised collections repository and print, save or email information to friends and colleagues. A web services search option also allows concurrent search of Cornucopia with Cecilia (an innovative database of music collections) and Google, giving users as comprehensive insight as possible into the collections held across museums, libraries and archives.

The collections in Cornucopia are structured using the RSLP Collections Description Schema. Records from a previous version of the site have been transferred into the new system and added to from various sources.

The database can be remotely updated by more than one person, using only a common web browser such as Netscape or Internet Explorer and no extra software to install. In addition there is an OAI-PMH interface to the database, so that data may be harvested from Cornucopia for use in other systems. The latest addition to the system is Web Service search and access. A Web Services Description Language (WSDL) file is available which will enable third party application developers to incorporate searches of the Cornucopia database within their own applications.

The development is based on simple tools: Linux, Apache web server, MySQL database and PHP scripting language. Instructions on how to obtain editing access are available on the Cornucopia site and the system designers Orangeleaf Systems Ltd. http://www.orangeleaf.com are available to provide support.

A full account of the Cornucopia project is given by Chris Turner, ICT Adviser at MLA in Ariadne Issue 40 http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue40/turner/.

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