Christopher R. HOFFMAN's picture

New Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to support CollectionSpace

CollectionSpace screenshot (Berkeley Art Museum, Calder)

Research IT is pleased to announce that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded funds for ongoing software development and sustainability planning for CollectionSpace, an open source collections management tool for museums.  Research IT's Museum Informatics team manages five instances of CollectionSpace for museum collections at UC Berkeley.  The grant has been awarded to LYRASIS, the organizational home for CollectionSpace; staff in Research IT will contribute significantly to the funded work.  

The Mellon Foundation award will allow LYRASIS and the CollectionSpace community to continue to improve the application, and to advance the evolution of a sustainable open source collections management system for the benefit of museums and other collecting organizations.  David Greenbaum, Director of the Research IT and a member of the CollectionSpace Leadership Working Group, says of the award, "This is a tremendous endorsement of the great work the CollectionSpace community has been doing, and this award will allow us to continue creating an important tool for museums and other collections-holding institutions, and, most importantly, will allow us to share this platform with many other colleges, universities and museums. We are very grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their continued support of this program. We at Berkeley are excited to embark on the next phase of the program with LYRASIS, our members and users."

Another important outcome of this grant will be the development of a new user interface for CollectionSpace that will advance the core software’s usability and performance. In an earlier phase of the project, Ray Lee of Research IT developed a prototype replacement for the current user interface that improved performance and addressed shortcomings of the current UI technology.  Ray’s work included an evaluation of modern JavaScript user interface frameworks, and resulted in the selection of the open source React library.  React was selected for its conceptual simplicity, its active and growing developer community, and its level of adoption by other large-scale projects, including Facebook, Netflix and Airbnb. The prototype demonstrated that a full replacement of the existing user interface could be developed within the timeframe of the new project; Ray will contribute to the Mellon-funded project by continuing the UI development work he prototyped.

More information about the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation award can be found in the full press release posted by LYRASIS.

For more information about CollectionSpace at UC Berkeley, please contact