CMPT 355

Assignments and Project

There are four assignments and one project to be completed in this course:

  Due: Topic:
 A# 0 ASAP before Sept 19

Claim a museum to use as the basis for your assignments and start collecting data to populate your database.

Each student is required to find a different museum and receive permission from the instructor to use the items from the museum as a basis for the data to be used in that student's assignments. Museums can be claimed on a first come first served basis.


  • museum claims must be approved before a student can use the museum's data for assignment # 1.
  • you should start accumulating data for assignment 1 based on an approved museum claim as soon as possible.
 A# 1  Oct 5
Create, populate, and query an initial museum database for the museum that was approved in assignment # 0.
 A# 2  Oct 19
Modify structure and contents of your database from assignment #1
 A# 3  Nov 2
Modify database from assignment #2 to include selected temporal aspects
Proj:  part 1
 Nov 21
Create a combined architecture and use it to merge databases
Proj: part 2
 Dec 5
Add processing(including triggers) to your databases
Proj: demo
 Dec 5
Demonstrate that your database works

Each assignment and the project will be explained in its own Web page. Explanations will include the basic expectations for submission and the marking structure.

A Theme for the Assignments and Project

We will use a common theme for our set of assignments and its project. You should start researching this theme immediately to better prepare yourself.

This year's theme is: Museums

According to the National Gallery of London, "there is no consistent, up-to-date, easily accessible survey of European paintings 1200 - 1900 in public ownership. Few museums are able to publish detailed catalogues or even checklists of their holdings. As a result it can be hard to discover exactly what is in public collections, and where."

This problem statement can be expanded to note that there is no consistent, up-to-date, easily accessible database or set of databases that provide access to information on the museum holdings of the world. Whereas businesses usually want to keep their organizational data confidential for competitive reasons, it is the job of museums to publicize their data as widely as possible.

Some Initial Terminology

NOTE: The following definitions are for the use of CMPT 355 and are not necessarily ideal definitions as would be used by museum experts.

Museum: an organization that acquires, studies, and exhibits various items usually within some general mandate (e.g. The Mendel focuses on art while the Western Development Museum focuses on pioneer artifacts). Art galleries are often termed art museums. For our purposes there is no distinction between a museum and a major art gallery (that owns rather than sells art).

Mandate: a general statement of purpose that provides some basis for the curators of the museum to decide what to acquire, study, and exhibit. There is no generally agreed upon set of categories of works that can be used to define a museum's mandate. The curators of each museum often create their own set of categories for recording the works that they have.

Curators: a museum employee with some kind of expert knowledge about works that fall within the mandate of the museum.

Work: any item that may be acquired / studied / exhibited by a museum, whether the item is owned by the museum or on loan to the museum from its owner.

Collection: the set of works owned by a museum.

Exhibition: a set of works, selected by a curator, that relate to one another and are displayed together in one or more galleries.

Gallery: a display space, typically based on an individual room.

Exhibit: a set of works, selected by a curator, that relate to one another and are displayed together in a display.

Display: a display space that is part of a gallery and that is typically physically separated in some manner from another displays in a gallery.

Some Web Links

There are a variety of Web sites that can start you on your exploration of the museums and art galleries of the world.

Museums Around the World

Museum Computer Network

For your assignments, you may only use museums that have information on at least 100 works available on-line.