DAC Digital Standards and Specifications

The Davison Art Collection’s digital projects and programs are based on the best current practices in museum work. This involves a wide range of guidelines, standards, specifications, and related documents, some of which are noted below. For a more general introduction to digital work at the DAC, please see the Digital Initiatives page.

DAC Digital Image Technical Specifications and Rights

The DAC currently has four key, public-facing documents on digital image technical specifications and rights. Please note that the DAC Open Access Images policy at the link below applies to images of specified objects determined to be eligible for it, as stated in that policy; some images of DAC objects are subject to copyright.

DAC Image File Specifications (PDF)

DAC Image File Naming (PDF)

DAC Open Access Images Policy (PDF)

DAC Open Access Images Technical ReadMe (PDF)

Published Guidelines on Digital Collections and Digitization

The Davison Art Collection selects collections objects for digitization based on strategic factors including their educational value and projected use, rarity, and physical attributes, and on the efficiencies realized by systematically digitizing entire parts of the collection in rapid sequence. More broadly, the DAC’s digital collections work is based on underlying principles expressed in the Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections. Now in its third edition, that Framework was originally developed with the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and is now maintained by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO).

A Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections

Davison Art Collection photography uses two technical guidelines for objective quality assurance. Known as FADGI and Metamorfoze, these guidelines help cultural heritage institutions benchmark the quality of rapidly digitized images in empirically assessed, non-subjective ways. This approach can enable collections digitization to be both very accurate and very fast.

Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative

Metamorfoze Preservation Imaging Guidelines

Davison Art Collection Metadata Sharing

The DAC provides metadata for its collection objects in structured form via those objects’ pages in Davison Art Collection Search, from which anyone can download metadata in a standard format called LIDO, as well as simply copying a basic, pre-made caption for general use. LIDO (Lightweight Information Describing Objects), an XML-based data standard from the International Committee for Documentation (CIDOC) of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), is the emerging standard for museum metadata contribution.

Davison Art Collection Search

LIDO (Lightweight Information Describing Objects)

To legally enable content aggregation in ways that support searching across content from multiple institutions, the collections object metadata the DAC provides is shared under the Creative Commons CC0 ("no copyright reserved") license. CC0 is becoming the standard rights license for sharing collections metadata from museums and other cultural heritage institutions in ways that enable that collections information to be readily usable in aggregate.

Creative Commons CC0 License

Data Standards in DAC Object Cataloging

References (authorities) used in cataloging the Davison Art Collection include the published standards below. Using standards such as these enables collections information—that is, the actual content shared within a standard structure and format such as LIDO—from the DAC and from other museums to fit together more seamlessly and usefully when it’s combined.

The Union List of Artist Names (ULAN)

The Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)

The Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)

Frits Lugt: Les Marques de Collections de Dessins & d'Estampes

Cataloging Cultural Objects (CCO)

Descriptive Terminology for Works of Art on Paper

In addition to the standards and guidelines above, the DAC uses other published and internal cataloging standards in supplemental ways. We also keep a close eye on emerging standards for art collection data, such as the CMOA Digital Provenance Standard.