How to join ?

How Can Other Museums Add Their Collections ?
  • Step 1 in the process is to review the information contained on these pages and consider whether your museum has the resources and technical expertise to offer digital content.
  • Step 2 is to download and complete the Content Checklist and submit this to MIMO for consideration. We will then contact you with follow up questions.
  • Step 3 is for your submission to be considered by the MIMO selection panel who will advise on whether we can add your content, if any additional work is required and a likely timescale. This panel meets annually.
  • Step 4 – if your request is accepted we will then issue a formal contract which will have to be completed before any content is uploaded.
What does it cost?
The cost of hosting MIMO content will be covered by the existing MIMO partners from 1st September 2011 for a five year period, until 31st August 2016, so there will be no hosting charge for new members during that period. Hosting costs after that will be split between the museums contributing at that point. Charges will be reviewed in Year 4 of the period covered by the initial agreement.

The only cost to new members to the consortium will be for technical support (i.e. advising, consultancy and testing) from the existing consortium, principally via the Cité de la musique in Paris. This will also include the cost of travel and subsistence should a member of the MIMO team be required to visit a new partner. The precise amount of work involved will depend on the technical expertise of the new contributing museum. ( see FAQ below)

Through the support of CIMCIM, we have already been able to bring four new collections into MIMO – two from Europe and two from Africa and are also in negotiation with a major Asian collection. We are currently waiving the cost of technical support for the first North American to add its collection in 2014.

Frequently Asked Question
  • What is MIMO?
    MIMO is the acronym for Musical Instrument Museums Online. The name was originally applied to the project run by a consortium of eleven museums which sought to create a single online access point to their collections.
  • We already have digital photographs but not necessarily to the MIMO standard. Can we use these?
    Yes, existing digital images can be used but any new images must meet the MIMO standard.
  • Our language is not represented - can we add a new language to the system?
    If a museum wishes to add an additional language it will be their responsibility to do so. It means that the museums will have to translate MIMO's Instrument keywords into the new language. They will be able to work with the MIMO vocabulary tool in order to do so.
  • Is it possible to add keywords?
    Yes, the same applies to the addition of new keywords and instrument makers.
  • What happens if we add instruments to our collection?
    Any metadata on new instruments that is added to museum databases will automatically be harvested by MIMO using OAI-PMH. The museum will have to corresponding transfer image, sound or video to files to MIMO-DB via FTP.
  • If data is mapped to standard LIDO can it be mapped to MIMO LIDO?
    Yes, with minor adjustments. MIMO LIDO adds a few contraints to standard LIDO. For instance, it is mandatory to use one of MIMO’s Instrument keyword as a classification term. Advice will be given as required.
  • What is the long term future for MIMO?
    The members of the original MIMO partnership have signed a formal agreement committing themselves to the ongoing maintenance of MIMO-DB for an initial period of 5 years.
    In the longer term we now see the need for a specific MIMO portal which we intend will become the single access point for information on public collections of musical instruments for the entire world. It is envisaged that this portal will offer a greater amount of information that is currently visible via Europeana.
  • Is membership of MIMO only open to European museums?
    No, any public museum may contribute content. However, only European museum content will be visible via Europeana. Non-European museum content will, in the short term, only be accessible via the MIMO website. European museums' content will be visible via both.
  • Can private museums contribute content?
    No, only public museums can join the consortium at this stage.
  • Why should my museum contribute?
    The aim of the MIMO consortium is to create a single online access point to the world’s publicly held collections of musical instruments. The benefits of aggregation are already becoming apparent and as this resource develops these will become eve more obvious. One access point to significant amounts of high quality information about musical instruments, with images and sound or video files, will greatly ease the work of anyone searching for information on, for example:
    • particular kinds of instrument
    • particular makers
    • instrument making in particular places
    • instruments of a particular period
    • collectors and collecting
    • identification of instruments

    As the volume of material grows we will also be in a position, in a virtual sense, to rebuild collections which have previously been dispersed in the real world, e.g. by bringing together information on all the violins built by members of the Stradivari family held in public collections, thus simplifying the work of the researcher.
  • Can private museums contribute content?
    No, only public museums can join the consortium at this stage.
The MIMO Digitisation Standard is now publicly available and it is our hope that it will be adopted as the worldwide standard by the global musical instrument community. The document offers guidelines in the following areas:
  • General considerations on standards
  • Scope – i.e. whether views of instruments are mandatory, recommended or optional
  • Quality control – not only to ensure consistently high standards but also in order to facilitate repeat processes with a minimum amount of work and time
  • A definition of master files, derivatives and digital preservation
  • Web output formats (formats for derivatives) – images, audio and video
  • Parameters for scanning existing images
  • Parameters for digitising analogue audio documents
  • Parameters for digitising analogue video documents
  • Guidelines on photography, including : Technical quality – file sizes and formats; Colour management; Lighting, background and mounting; Distortion; Post production tips and techniques
  • The section on photographing musical instruments includes detailed guidelines for specific instruments and instrument groups, with definitions of positions and views and example images for each type
The Harvesting Process
MIMO aggregates the content of its partner museums databases on a technical platform called MIMO-DB. Using OAI-PMH protocol, MIMO-DB harvests musical instruments descriptive metadata, which conforms to the LIDO standard. Sounds, videos and images are uploaded to MIMO-DB using FTP.

MIMO-DB stores the records into an XML database and provides a web interface to search and retrieve musical instruments. In addition, MIMO-DB provides authorities management functionalities. Metadata enrichment processes are applied to the records just before ingestion into MIMO-DB. This enrichment consists of a matching between specific record fields and terms of MIMO vocabulary and authorities. These authorities are hosted both by MIMO-DB and external sources, such as

Vocabulary and Thesaurus
A critical element of the MIMO Project was the work done on the classification and thesaurus, the tools which allow users to search the database.

Within the musical community, the standard most widely used classification scheme for musical instruments is the one developed by Erich Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs in 1914. This identifies instruments through a numbering system, i.e. equivalent of a library classification for books. The revised version of the Hornbostel Sachs scheme, published by Jeremy Montagu in 2009 just before the launch of the project, was adopted as the base on which the MIMO model would be adapted.
In addition to further modifying the Montagu version, we enhanced it through the inclusion of a new section that covers electronic instruments, a category which obviously didn’t exist at the time the system was originally devised. The MIMO Revision of the Hornbostel-Sachs Classification of Musical Instruments is now publicly available.

Alongside this, and of perhaps greater importance to the general user, was the development of a keyword search through which it is possible to search by general and specific instrument names, as commonly used by non specialists. The keyword search works in the six languages of the MIMO partners - English, French, German, Italian. Dutch and Swedish.

A common list of all the musical instruments makers linked to the museums' items has also been built, with their alternative names and the references used to list them.

To facilitate this, a web tool for the management, editing and translation of the MIMO vocabularies was developed by the Cité de la musique, in Paris. Where a keyword can be matched with a Hornbostel Sachs number, the tool simultaneously manages the Hornbostel & Sachs classification, the dictionary of musical instrument keywords and the links between them. It also allows each museum to make an online translation of instruments’ keywords into its own language

Technical Guidelines - Outcomes from the MIMO Project