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Interwoven Powers Virtual Renovation at Amsterdam’s World-Renowned Rijksmuseum


(Image above: Hansken, the female elephant, was born on Ceylon in 1630 before being brought to Holland where she was displayed in Amsterdam as a fairground attraction. She could hold out her front feet, pinch money from pockets, put on a hat, carry a bucket of water and pick up coins from the ground. Commercial performances were presented for paying audiences in Amsterdam, as well as in various European cities. Spectators could buy this engraving. Engraving is the earliest form of print making. 1642, Unkown artist. Rijksmuseum)

As art lovers, researchers, and other members of the art community explore new ways to connect with works of art, no world-class museum can limit its thinking to physical buildings, exhibitions, and in-person visits. For the Rijksmuseum, a sweeping renovation project of its Amsterdam location provided the impetus to build a new, virtual online museum that makes its collections and related resources readily available to museum staff, the 1.1 million annual visitors to its facilities, and to the entire global art community.

While the actual pieces in its collections are some of the most valuable assets of any museum in the world, digital images of these works of art play an equally vital role in the institution’s work. "Images touch everything we do in our organization including planning exhibitions and curating our collections, developing publications, new media, research, marketing, and retail shop merchandise, " explained Rob Hendriks, IT manager at Rijksmuseum.

Until recently, though, the museum’s staff had to grapple with manual processes that made it difficult to effectively access and manage the high-quality, color-corrected images needed for both traditional media and new channels such as printing-on-demand, video and audio podcasting, and rich Web 2.0 content. "It took a lot of people and a lot of work to create and deliver even a single approved image, " said Hendriks.

To make more efficient use of the richness and diversity of its collections, the Rijksmuseum set out to create a digital archive of high-quality images, complemented by complete capabilities for digital asset management, collaboration, and integration with other museum systems. For the public, the archive will form the basis for an online virtual museum worthy of one of Europe’s great art institutions. Said Hendriks, "People will be able to enjoy a more personalized experience of our collections, whether by creating their own tours prior to a visit or exploring our collections from home via the Web."

Howard Goldstein, vice president of the Center for Digital Imaging, a leading provider of digital imaging and information systems for the arts, worked with the Rijksmuseum to implement Interwoven MediaBin, an industry-leading digital asset management (DAM) solution. Said Goldstein, "The works currently on display represent only a small fraction of any museum’s resources. Interwoven MediaBin will make it simple for staff members anywhere in the museum to quickly find, use, and publish both images of the museum’s collections as well as any related content, including papers and artist interviews, historical images and records, event listings, and other visitor information."

An online virtual museum worthy of one of Europe’s great art institutions

With the Rijksmuseum’s digital archive nearing completion, the formerly cumbersome, paperwork-intensive process for obtaining an image from the museum’s collection will become a simple matter of point-and-click. An official, color-corrected master image will be rendered by Interwoven MediaBin in the appropriate resolution and format for the situation, whether to accompany an article in a print publication, aid a scholar’s research, or grace a coffee mug in the Rijksmuseum gift shop. Said Hendriks, "The quality of our images is very important for the way we represent our collection. In the past, we’ve had too many substandard images see the light of day. Now, Interwoven MediaBin will ensure the best possible results."

Faster workflows will also help the Rijksmuseum speed its marketing programs, which play an important role in generating revenue through increased attendance as well as raising the museum’s profile in the art community to attract contributions of both funds and artworks.

"Museums understand that their digital capabilities are just as important as their physical facilities for managing their collections, reaching a global audience, and serving their many constituencies throughout the arts community, " said Seth Rosenblatt, vice president of Web Solutions product marketing at Interwoven. "The Rijksmuseum’s digital archive will help them make more of their collections available, in more ways, to a wider audience, and help redefine the way museums and their visitors interact in the digital age."

The implementation of the Rijksmuseum’s digital archive is being managed by Panoptic, an Interwoven partner based in Antwerp. Panoptic has used technology from speakTECH to integrate Interwoven MediaBin with the Microsoft SharePoint portal, making it possible for staff members to use SharePoint forms to request images and track the fulfillment of their requests.

A connector to the museum’s curatorial system will automate the addition of metadata to each image as it is added to the Interwoven MediaBin repository. Links to existing systems for customer relationship management (CRM) and finance will simplify and automate order fulfillment and billing, as well as to aid cross-selling. "A customer who orders images may also be interested in our other offerings, such as events, exhibitions, and courses, " explained Hendriks.

"The solution we’re providing for the Rijksmuseum allows its staff to perform virtually any image-related task through the same SharePoint front- end, " said Wim Putzeys, managing consultant at Panoptic NV. "An overly complicated system wouldn’t be much better than the manual, paper-intensive processes we’re replacing; instead, we’re giving them the simplicity and convenience to get their work done quickly and efficiently."

Following a pilot project involving users from the Rijksmuseum’s curatorial, marketing, commercial, retail, and educational departments, the digital archive is now being rolled out museum-wide. Artwork will be digitized and added to the MediaBin repository at the rate of approximately 40, 000 pieces per year.

Hendriks and his colleagues are eager to put the system to work, including new initiatives from a new glossy magazine, to online video clips, to a widget allowing people to place their favorite artworks on their computer desktop. "There’s a tremendous amount of enthusiasm among the staff, " he said. "And the other large museums in Europe we speak with are paying close attention as well. It has taken time for our field to determine the best ways to harness digital technology, but I believe our project will provide a useful example for others to follow."

About Interwoven MediaBin

Interwoven MediaBin is the market-leading digital asset management product that enables marketing teams to deliver a more consistent customer experience by effectively managing, distributing, and publishing thousands of customer-facing digital assets used to promote products and brands

About the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is one of the most prestigious museums in the world. The collection — which includes major works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Jan Steen, Frans Hals and other masters from the Golden Age — annually attracts more than a million visitors from all over the world. Now that the main building is closed until 2012/13 while it undergoes a radical renovation, the Rijksmuseum is concentrated on the completely new layout of the Philips Wing.

About the Center for Digital Imaging

The Center for Digital Imaging, Inc. (CDI) is a leading resource for digital imaging solutions. The firm focuses on traditional image quality and productivity. A unique background in all aspects of digital imaging and information systems allows CDI’s clients to take full advantage of strategies for capture, viewing, organization, manipulation, and distribution of digital assets without sacrificing quality or creativity. For more information, please visit

About Panoptic

Panoptic develops content management solutions for private and public sector organizations. We improve their operational efficiency and regulatory compliance by optimizing the content flow across enterprise applications to employees, partners and customers. A talented team of developers and consultants combines technical expertise and a strong end-user focus to streamline content-driven business processes across the value chain and develop the IT solutions to support them. Panoptic is an independently owned firm located in Kontich (Antwerp). It offers end-to-end services for the development and support of enterprise content management solutions based on proprietary, open source and custom tools. For more information on how we can help you turn enterprise content overload into a value source, visit

About Interwoven

Interwoven, Inc. (NASDAQ:IWOV) is a global leader in content management solutions. Interwoven’s software and services enable organizations to maximize online business performance and organize, find, and govern business content. Interwoven solutions unlock the value of content by delivering the right content to the right person in the right context at the right time. Nearly 4, 400 of the world’s leading companies, professional services firms, and governments have chosen Interwoven, including adidas, Airbus, Amnesty International USA, Avaya, BT, Cisco, Citi, Delta Air Lines, DLA Piper, FedEx, Grant Thornton, Hilton Hotels, HKMP LLP, Hong Kong Trade and Development Council, HSBC, LexisNexis, MasterCard, Microsoft, Samsung, Shell, Sky Italia, Qantas Airways, Tesco, Virgin Mobile, and White & Case. A community of over 20, 000 developers and over 300 partners enrich and extend Interwoven’s offerings.

Source: Interwoven, Inc.

CONTACT: Randy Cairns, Interwoven, Inc., +1-408-953-7111,; or Miriam Blackwell, WaggenerEdstrom, +1-512-527-7029,

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