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Hi Tom,

I never realized there wasn't a prompt when clicking on the Save button or using Ctrl+S. However, there IS a prompt when prior to saving, the user creates a new record or if already in a group, go to the Next record. I believe that such a prompt is exactly what you asked for and should pop up. I also wonder whether this should be controlled via the Registry to have it turned off (similar to how lookup list validation, with or without prompts) so that different museums can opt in or out.

Ducky (NMAI)

03-Feb-10 11:00:00
Category: Using EMu

I had an interesting experience using Record Recall yesterday. We had to restore Catalog data from backup of 1/30/10. Because we only restored Catalog data, all other data files remain intact. Now, the Audit table showed changes in the Catalog made on 1/31/10. When I used Record Recall to restore data from that date, nothing happened.

Is it because from a system standpoint, I'm restoring data from the future? (and wouldn't that be a fabulous feature? Forecast data for this record 2 years from now!)

And if so, should the audit trails dating after the Last Modified Date of the record be active (instead of grayed out)?

I'm curious as to what should be the logical behavior here.

Thanks,
Ducky (NMAI)

There is better management within the Groups module for sure. In my opinion it's an issue of usability for the average end user. The Groups module is designed for the more advanced user who knows the real names of the module, writing texql statement, etc. Most of our users have been trained to use the Groups tool from the file menu and have learned to manage their EMu resources (lists, sorts, reports, etc) this way. It makes sense to improve the functionality at the common interface level.

Re. the extra wish list item for Group IRNS... one workaround is to query for your records in say Catalogue, switch your list view to display only IRN, then copy and paste the results into the Group IRNS field in Groups, and run the search. But yes, making it an attachment field would be fab.

Ducky Nguyen
NMAI

Re. Groups, yes we have that too but it's a bit cumbersome to run multiple searches to pull up the right groups and delete them (I for one cannot remember the titles of my groups!) I prefer to do my groups cleanup within the module that I'm currently in :-)

Ducky Nguyen
NMAI

For #1, I agree that this feature would be most desirable. I'm tired of having to recreate the replacements each time. Of course, for this to work, one would need to be able to select specific replacements and apply only those.

For #2, you can select the records needing replacement and hit the Replace button (not Replace All). This will appy your replacement against the selected records. This is a similar behavior to when you run reports, Report will generate a report against selected records.

For #3, this would be nice and great if it exists in other types of EMu resources, i.e. Groups. My Groups build up and I would like to delete many at once.

Ducky Nguyen
NMAI

Hi John,

I've had to deal with this scenario before with a variety of collections. Although your question is about storage locations, I've seen the same issue applied to other types of attributed data including exhibit history, conservation treatments, bibliographic citation, etc. How to know which part was in that particular exhibit?

Like Dave has mentioned, it really comes down to how detailed do you want to manage this information. In my experience, the units almost always went with having separate records for each part. Specific to storage location, having multiple locations does mean losing the movement history. With the Audit module, you could reconstruct a movement history (assuming those location fields are audited) but that could be (will be?) nightmarish.

Some thoughts to mull over with the part-records approach:
- Define what's a part.
- Define how you might want to count the parts.
- Assign a unique value to the item. It does not have to be part of the accession number (which means no re-numbering)
- Associate this new value to the physical item (generate a new label)
- Re-purpose an unused field in EMu or creation of a new field to store the value. You can then add other functionalities, i.e. auto-generated values.
- To maintain uniqueness, you can either change the unique setting to point to this new value or it can be combination of the accession number and the new value.
- Associate the parts, i.e. via parent-child, the accession number, etc.
- How to implement this (retroactively or on an as-needed basis)
- What to do going forward (assign unique accession number to each item or not)

Let me know if you want specifics on how NMAI deals with parts.

Cheers,
Ducky Nguyen
National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian

Hi JP,

We've run into the same problem. If EMu date input format (which is a system setting) is set to recognize dd/mm/yy, it won't recognize date that's in other formats. Our photographers have been entering date data into the Writer/Editor field in Bridge (IPTC 122) in order for it to map properly into the Date field in MM. If there's a proper way to do this, I would love to know.

Ducky
NMAI

Thank you for all the positive feedback. We will proceed with the redesign to the base module.

Ducky
(NMAI)

NMAI is proposing a redesign of the Notes tab in the Conservation module. The redesign will remove the current Bibliographic Reference field from the Notes tab and will introduce a new tab called References.

The current design of the Notes tab is flawed in that it gives the appearance that a Bibliographic Reference is recorded only as an attribution of a Note, instead of being its own data entity. This was never the intention of the original Conservation Working Group.

The new References tab will allow users to enter many bibliographic references about the Conservation activity without having to create a supporting note.

Please see attached design proposals (PDF format).

NMAI will be absorbing the customization cost. However, rather than having this sub-classed strictly for NMAI’s use, we would like to bring this to the user community to gauge interest in applying the change to the base product, meaning that if you like it, you will get the redesigned tabs whenever you upgrade.

Caveats:
- Once the changes are in place, some Conservation reports may need to be tweaked to include the new fields.
- Users who do record bibliographic references as sources for their Notes may find that this will not meet their needs.
- Users who have data in the current Bibliographic Reference field may need to move that data to the new References tab (but only if the field is a new one and not the same one on the Notes tab).

Please provide any feedback to the list or if you wish, contact me off-line at nguyend@si.edu.

If possible, please provide comments (yay or nay) no later than April 30, 2009.

Thanks,
Ducky Nguyen
NMAI Collections Information System Manager

Attachment: Conservation Module - Notes and References tabs.pdf

27-Feb-09 11:00:00
Category: EMu Administration
Forum: EMu Admin

Is there a way a notice can be sent to interested users (like an RSS feed perhaps?) whenever there are new release notes for Texpress/EMu/Help files on the KE site?

Thanks,
Ducky
NMAI

26-Dec-08 11:00:00
Category: EMu Administration
Forum: EMu Admin

At our museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, having unidentifiable generic accounts is not allowed per Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). We do have some generic accounts but they are associated with real individuals, i.e. a visitor account is "owned" by the Collections Manager. I suggest that you first discuss with your IT staff regarding their rationale behind wanting to keep generic accounts, i.e. to simplify account management process. I certainly can understand the annoyance of having to reset account passwords for a contractor who comes in once every few months. But my minor annoyance is trumped by institutional policy.

In addition -- although I am by no means an expert in this area, others on the forum will be -- if your institution is AAM accredited, you are required/expected to have proper documentation regarding inventory control. Hopefully you can convince your IT staff how critical it is to have proper identification of each individual who has read/write access to the system.

Good luck,
Ducky (NMAI)

31-Mar-07 09:00:00
Category: Using EMu

I believe that the original KE EMu design for Sites did include Table of Text for various Sites fields in the Continental (Political) group. When I was at NMNH, this was the standard structure until that museum migrated to the new Sites that combines Sites and Collections Events (CES) where these fields then became single-value. The multi-value Sites fields are probably part of any standard EMu implementation. The single-value Sites fields are optional, but I'm sure someone from KE will clarify. If your institution opts to go with the single-value Sites down the road, this could involve a data migration as data from multi-value fields must be moved to single-value fields. And reports referencing these fields will need to be updated. This is what NMAI will probably have to do in the future.

Ducky (NMAI)

A few comments:

1. Regarding the use of Organization along with a Person's summary line, although I can see the merit of it at times, here are some other issues to think about. It can make the summary line long which can be an annoyance for display as well as for reporting. It may lead to misleading information if the individual has changed associations through time, and your organization does not have procedures to deal with this. For example, John A Smith was formerly with The Cheese Institute but is now with the Guyere Trust. He was a donor while he was with the Cheese Institute. If he's listed only once with the organization being the Guyere Trust, then that current association is what would show up in the Sources/Vendors field, which would be misleading.

2. I believe that all fields that reference the Parties module should display the full summary line for searchability, no matter whether the display format is appropriate (Authors in Taxonomy as well as in Bibliography).

3. I never could figure out why a Person record could not be linked to an Organization record instead of using the Organization tab to store the same information. This way, if the Organization record needs to be changed, it can be done once instead of going through all individual Parties records.

4. Regarding Linda's request that a field is restricted to searches by Party Type, this can already be done via a Registry setting. I'm not sure whether this entry would help with the Identified By field as you could have both individuals and collaborators (not sure about organizations) in this field?

5. Managing the summary line configuration via the Registry: from what I understand about building summary lines, there is a lot of overhead in managing this especially if the summary line rules have many parameters, and of course needing each record "touched" to display the refreshed summary line.

Ducky, NMAI

John, my apologies for not responding sooner. I'm attaching my responses in a pdf file as there are so many questions ;-)

Our NMAI Conservation staff is very excited about this development. This design supports the documentation requirements that are part of the American Institute of Conservation (AIC)'s Code of Ethics. We look forward to adopting this design and hope that others in the EMu community would join in.


Attachment: 182125767871.pdf

I have a couple proposals to the group.

1) Should we add a Notes tab that supports many notes (nested table) to allow for all institution-specific textual information that do not fit the standard process? For example, at NMAI, we have consultations with native communities prior to doing treatments. These object-specific consultations are recorded in its own field in the current database. Rather than designing our own tab to hold this kind of information, it would seem more practical to include that information in a Notes tab. Attached is a screen shot of the Notes tab in the NMNH Catalog.

2) We would like to add a new field to the Condition tab for storing treatment goals. Again, this is NMAI specific because sometimes treatments need to be done differently based on native communities' recommendations. Our thinking is that the field could be hidden (via the Registry) for other museums who do not use this.

Feedback is most welcomed!

Ducky
NMAI

Attachment: Notes tab.pdf

08-Oct-05 09:00:00
Category: EMu Administration

Christine,

First, a caveat: I'm not a professional project manager. My recommendations are based on personal experience. Apologies if much of this is old hat to you.

It's not possible to give you true estimation because each project is different. It's not clear to me what is your project scope and what resources you have for this project.

All projects are governed by Time, Resources, and Scope. Each aspect is influenced by the other. If you don't have enough Resources but the Scope is fixed, you'll need to expand the Time. If your Resources and Time are fixed, your Scope may need to be changed.

1. Define the scope of your project
You wrote "implementation". How do you define that? Is it EMu "being used as a production database by everyone" or "get all records into EMu".

2. Identify the resources available
Who do you need? Are they usually the same people for most of the tasks? Your resources may include people outside of your core working group.

3. Identify total time allocated to the project
- Is this pre-determined, i.e. the Museum Governing Board had already set a deadline for delivery?
- If it's fluid and at your disposal, then you'll have more leeway in making this work.

Let's say your Scope = Implementation of EMu for USHMM.
- Make a list of tasks. You can refer to KE's Project Management document to get some ideas of what these tasks may be. Your list should also include tasks that are related to the project but outside of the purview of KE. Ex: network infrastructure, funding acquisition, internal reviews, etc.
- Figure out the details of each task. Details may include dependencies, duration, and resources. You may want to identify milestones, concrete products at certain juncture, such as final design requirements sent to KE. To me (and my senior managers), milestones help break a project into phases and show progress.
- Sum up the tasks duration and that's your time line.

Re. your question of how to begin estimating task duration:
- Go to the experts in each discrete task. Ex: task = development, go to KE and ask how long it may take. This is dependent on your requirements but they can tell you an approximation. If tasks are performed by your IT staff (ex: set up a server, set up an account, etc.), they can tell you how long that takes.
- Don't be optimistic about your scheduling. Always add additional time to account for potential slippage. Ex: if critical tasks fall within the holiday season, shift the tasks around those days.

My experience shows that more time is always needed for the following tasks:
- data analysis and mapping. I've spent up to 3 months doing data analysis; some dataset takes a day, some much more. I recommend working on this and then put it aside, returning to it later. You'll catch mistakes that way.
- preparation for training if you're providing in-house training. When I was at Natural History, I would spend at least one day to prep for a 1-day course.
- testing. Note: testing won't take as long if KE delivers a usable product. If your client spits out more errors faster than you can clear them, stop testing and inform KE.
- report design. Note: much time is usually spent deciphering your user's changing requirements. If you put in place a clear process on requesting report, time will be saved.

Finally, make sure you always have time to listen and respond to your users. User buy-in is critical to the success of any project. To me, this task has a duration = infinity.

Good luck!
Ducky
NMAI

I agree with Will on the issue of conditional text strings. Many of our summary lines have a lot of suppression rules.

One other consideration to keep in mind: summary lines are often built with local copies of fields from other modules. Having a tool to create your own summary line probably means that you are restricted to the existing set of fields. So if the current summary line is inadequate because it's not showing certain data fields, if these don't exist as local copies, having a tool is not going to be helpful if you can't add these fields to the backend.

Also, the process of republishing summary lines is time consuming. It basically requires an update texload to touch every record in order for the summary line field to be regenerated on a record by record basis. Not something you want to do frequently.

Ducky Nguyen
Informatics Office
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution

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