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Inside the Museum Archive Software Project: The database design and code snippets that make this free software application work Paperback – January 30, 2010
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About the Author
Jim Halpin is a software developer and accountant. He is the co-author of several books in the nonprofit accounting field, and he has been developing custom software for clients and for industry for more than 30 years.
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While the book is really only targeted at techies, it is a necessary purchase to unlock the full features of his software.
The Musarch software program, while designed as a 'One Size Fits All', had enough configurable settings to suit our museum. Without the purchase of the book, you only have a limited set of options in the basic program. Considering Jim would only be getting a small part of the purchase fee as Royalties, he has shown how he puts people before profit.
Including postage to Australia, this enabled us to buy a database package for our museum for around AU$50.00 compared to the AU$1200.00 the museum was originally facing using a commercial program.
We have found the software very easy to understand and use. The program can be copied to a thumbdrive and different staff can work on a particular part of the museum collection at home, then bring it to the museum and import it into the master database.
One of the best features is records cannot be accidentally deleted. To delete a record, you have to go to a separate menu and deliberately delete it. Also, records are not updated 'On the Fly' but only when you click Save. If you decide your entry is not correct half way through entering it, your data is discarded if you click Cancel. With a lot of database programs, the data is updated permanently as you type and that can quickly result in chaos and frustration, often meaning you have to restore from your last backup - losing all the entries you have made during your current session.
I highly recommend this program and encourage you to see buying this book as a 'Means to an End' and not a book you would actually need to read. The only reason I did not give it 5 stars is because of the software's generic nature. But for the price, that is not a major issue and can be worked around with a bit of planning before you enter any data.