This project is intended for the cultural institutions
in Macedonia. Its main aims are to connect the contemporary art institutions as
well as to standardize the art institution working.
The project includes 4 institutions:
The idea of the project existed since 1998. At the beginning, the Center
worked on the already made database, which, during the time, turned out to be
backward (data could not be transferred to the Internet, and the implementation
of visual documentation was impossible). That was the main motivation for
building another (new) database for contemporary arts, which, as an idea and to a certain extent got started in 1998. After defining
certain starting points and after the idea was proposed to and accepted by the
four largest Macedonian institutions in the field of contemporary arts, the Contemporary Art Center begun with the project in the beginning of
The Center, according to already established three-year
plan, started the realization of the project in 2000, trough analysis of the
activities and the departments of the largest museum – Skopje Museum of Contemporary Art. The
meetings were held in the offices of the Center, because of the Center’s
equipment, the Internet connection, and possibilities for examination of the
appearance and the scheme of the old database. Also, during this period, there were meetings held
with assigned cooperatives from the other three institutions.
The primary idea was to start developing the Database
in Microsoft SQL
Server 7.0. At the moment, only the local database (located in the
institutions) is completed. While creating the database, strong attention was
paid on the data security, although the local servers are not directly connected
on the Internet, i.e. they are part of the Intranet, consisted by the involved
The client application is created in Inprise Delphi 5.0 by using
ODBC for connection in the SQL database. In the process of designing of the
client application, specific attention was paid on as less as possible inclusion
of АctiveX components, and to the smallest possible size of the forms, so they
could be used on the present equipment at the institutions.
This software allows
input of data in the database, use of data trough filters and reports, updating
of data about the artist, the art work, the exhibition, the exhibition venue;
input of whole documentation about the specific data (trough scanning of slides,
photographs, drafts, audio recordings, paper clips, library records, etc.). This
documentation will allow data input in original languages, which will consent to
one of the main ways of institutional expertise (input of the original name of
the: artist, institution, art work, etc.).
As an important element, it is worth noting that the operating standards of ICOM (International Council of Museums) are implemented in all of the steps.
Since January 2000, there have been approximately forty
meetings with the cooperators assigned by the institutions. In this basic phase,
the types of fields and the procedure of input have been agreed. In the second
phase, from October 2000, we have started with the process of revision and in
that order we held some thirty meetings where organization and input procedure
of the database were discussed, as well as the procedure of data sharing among
institution departments and among institutions.
The next phase of the revision is working on the filters,
criteria, and reports, as one of the most important segments of the database.
This process is to be completed by March 2001.
test phase, which is conditioned by the hardware, will follow this process.
The software includes local databases placed on the local servers; client
applications located on the workstations out of which the data will be entered,
software for distribution of data from local to main server, as well as Internet
applications which export data to the Internet users. The software will enable
search of the information as well as printing of reports.
The next phase will start with technical equipping of the four mentioned
each institution there will be provided two workstations, one server, network
equipment, and equipment for Internet connection.
After the installment of the equipment, the software installation will
follow, as well as the training of the personnel, which would work on the client
applications for data input.
In addition, these four institutions will be connected among themselves
in order to exchange data and to place that data on the Internet.
The project is not restrictive, but due to the difficulties with funding, it encompasses these four institutions only, with
a possibility to implement other cultural institutions from Macedonia.
Participants (Institutions and Individual
Each of these institutions has
assigned personnel for
the analysis and revision:
Skopje Museum of Contemporary Art
Museum of the City of Skopje
Art Gallery "Skopje" - Daut Pasha Hamam
Museum, Institute and Gallery - Bitola
Steps of the Project
Analysis, January - July, 2000
Software Production, July 2000 - March 2001
Testing of Software, March - May, 2001
Hardware infrastructure including connectivity
1.03.2000 – 1.03.2003
Council of Switzerland - Pro Helvetia, East-West Program, has granted CAC Skopje for the development
of the software.
Open Society Institute – Macedonia, has generally granted CAC Skopje for the project.
Actual addressing of issues
At the present, the Center is concluding the software structure –
creating of the client application in Delphi. The Center is also in the phase of
discussing the implementation of the network: which network equipment should be
used, licenses for data transfer, etc.
After completion of the client application, and corresponding with the
test-phase, creation of the main database will start, where data from the local
databases will be distributed. In this phase, dynamic web pages for data access
for Internet users will be implemented. This data is consisted of artists,
biographies, art works, exhibitions, and publications. The Page design is
executed in Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev by use of ASP (Active Server Pages) technology. A web - graphic designer is being consulted for the
final look of the pages. We are planning to finish This phase till the end of
June 2001, and with that the production of the software components in this
system will be concluded.
In addition, the Center is operating the process
on: analysis of the technical possibilities, such as: ways
of connecting the institutions,
inter-institutional data exchange, priority data,
Difficulties in implementation
So far, there were no misunderstandings or
difficulties in cooperation with the experts. The only problem is the issue of
the complete equipment needed for the project, as the fact that the institutions
do not possess it is more than obvious, but that problem is to be reviewed and
worked on in the next phases.
perhaps not very important problem that can be mentioned is the communication
with the experts from the institution from Bitola. Due to the distance between
the cities, they couldn’t be present at all of the meetings organized in the
Center but only on some.
Anyhow, they were informed
about the progress and current work and consulted about all issues.
Responses to this project
Anticipation that this project will arouse positive
reactions is confirmed. Other institutions expressed their interest in the
project, but, as was already stated, due to the difficulties with the funding,
now it is almost impossible to get other institutions involved. Nevertheless, it
does not mean that in near future, if there would be enough funding, they would
not be connected to the project. In fact, the goal of this project is to connect
all of the cultural institutions in Macedonia.
Regarding the responses of
the press it is worth noting that so far there have been three interviews about the project
of the largest press agencies in Macedonia -
"Makedonija Denes" and "Dnevnik",
which confirms the fact that
the wider audience is also interested.
this project, one of the biggest problems
of these institutions will be solved: this will help eliminate the old-fashioned
way of documenting, archiving, card categorization of the collections, repeating
of the tasks for each exhibition, etc. Same data will be available for the
Internet users as well.
As the next phase, a virtual presentation of exhibition venues of these
institutions is planned. In that way, the custodians would be able to have a
precise insight for each exhibition, as is in the present moment and even before
it is installed. Also, this type of the virtual instalment of an exhibition
would be an opportunity for an educational development for the pupils, students,
artists, which will allow them easier and more acceptable solving of the
problems (the problem of fulfilment of an exhibition venue, compositional
placement of the art works,
etc.) and will bring them closer to the practice.
Аssistance to groups
Assistance to the
Macedonian artistic community trough electronic storing of their portfolios by
the institutions, documentation about their works, placement on the Internet.
Assistance to the
interested target groups with an access to needed information
historians, curators, artists, aestheticians, students, pupils, journalists,
- The project is accepted and the institutions are eager to see it
working as soon as possible, as the necessity of modernization in the working
process is required.
- Almost all ideas proposed by the leaders of the project were accepted
(processing of data should be divided among departments, which helps avoid
duplicate data entries easy upgrading of data by any other department;
possibility of the database user to log into the other three institutions
involved in the project; possibility to use virtually the venue of the
institution on Internet etc.).
As very important, we can single out the information that some of the
institutions in Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, which are geographically closer to the
Center, are interested to be involved in the project. In that way, the Center
started to spread the idea of the Internet Database, not only with-in the
borders of Macedonia, but more widely in the region of the Balkans.
integration of the cultural institutions in this region will be assisted by a
positive outcome of this process.
- Electronic preservation of data.
- Easier and advanced way
for process of work in the institutions.
- Avoiding of the unnecessary repeating of activities in different
- Better transparency during the working process.
- Exchange of data with other institutions.
- Placement of data on the Internet.