Museum Collections Sharing Working Group

This group will investigate a new mechanism for sharing digital images and descriptions of collection items in the museum community.

Participants will identify and mitigate roadblocks to sharing collections—be they technological or social—by moving towards an implementation of CDWA Lite XML and Open Archives Initiative (OAI) harvesting, as recently pioneered by the J. Paul Getty Trust.

As a result of this work, participating museums will be empowered to share their collections with any trusted partner in a standard format.

To learn about the overarching vision, see the RLG TopShelf article, "The Getty Says to Cultural Institutions: 'Lite'-En Up!" (February 2006).


The group will do its work via e-mail, conference calls, and document sharing.


  • Museum Data Exchange, a project generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon foundation to create tools supporting data sharing in the art museum community, and analyze the extent to which current museum data allows for meaningful search and retrieval in an aggregate environment.
  • OAICatMuseumBETA, open-source software which allows museums to disclose descriptions of collection items as well as pointers to digital surrogates. It can be used to efficiently share digital images with trusted partners who have requested access to museum content, or with the networked world at large.


Jana Hill, Amon Carter Museum
Tony Gill, Center for Jewish History
Doug Hiwiller, Cleveland Museum of Art
Barbara Thompson, Courtauld Institute of Art
Erin Coburn, J. Paul Getty Museum
Michael Jenkins, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Jeff Steward, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Peter Dueker, National Gallery of Art
Cathryn Goodwin, Princeton University Art Museum
Alan Seal, Victoria and Albert Museum
Thomas Raich, Yale University Art Gallery

RLG Programs staff liaison: Günter Waibel

RLG Programs staff liaison

Günter Waibel
Program Officer