There is the Specify software for natural history collections:

The source code has apparently just recently been deposited on  


On Apr 14, 2009, at 3:12 PM, Ethan Gruber wrote:

> Hi all,
> I've been a software developer in a research library for several  
> years, and
> I have worked with objects typically viewed as museum collections to  
> a large
> degree (particularly ancient coins and eighteenth century European  
> sheet
> music).  Since I'm from a library and am familiar with library  
> technological
> standards as far as metadata practices and software applications go,  
> I tend
> to apply library standards toward the museum collections I have been  
> in
> contact with--which involves Encoded Archival Description for  
> metadata,
> opensource applications like tomcat, cocoon, and lucene/solr.  My  
> knowledge
> of museum practices is fairly limited, but I have noticed that many  
> museums
> have tended to adopt proprietary databases to describe their  
> collections.  I
> feel museums tend to lag behind their library counterparts with  
> respect to
> the adoption of opensource frameworks and open standards, but if you  
> think
> about it, museums are scarcely different than many archives/special
> collections libraries in content and organization.  I'm thinking of
> PastPerfect in particular.  It's quite common in the museum world  
> and costs
> almost $1000 per license.
> I'm wondering if anyone else on code4lib actually works for a museum  
> or has
> first-hand experience in providing access to museum collections and  
> has
> noticed the same general differences between libraries and museums  
> that I
> have.
> Ethan Gruber
> University of Virginia Library

: Hilmar Lapp  -:-  Durham, NC  -:- hlapp at duke dot edu :