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A Publication Featuring The Information Services Technology of Maine State Government
|Volume VII, Issue 11||November/December 2004|
By Anne Witty
Maine boasts an unusual resource center for use by everyone working in museums, historical societies, libraries and archives. Its called the Cultural Resources Information Center (CRIC). With part-time headquarters in Augusta, CRIC provides technical assistance in very specific enterprises: the work of preserving our cultural heritage. This work is often undertaken by volunteers.
Designed to assist all of Maine's cultural and heritage organizations, CRIC was initially established in 1992. It serves as a clearinghouse and a technical information service, providing information on many topics, including collections care and conservation, how to start a museum, physical and intellectual accessibility issues, and being a good trustee. The Center, along with its partners, offers occasional preservation training workshops and provides access to professional consultants. Sometimes CRIC serves to put people in touch with larger networks for example, state, regional and national museum or history organizations.
While it is a small operation, CRIC takes advantage of information technology both to gather and disperse information to organizations that need it. The majority of requests for technical assistance come in by e-mail and are answered that way. Often our answers include links to websites that offer professional guidance on museum issues, preservation techniques, or ideas for programs. The web is a critical research tool for gathering information on museum issues and solutions. We manage information on who uses our services and what materials we offer by using basic office software such as databases, spreadsheets, and word processing packages. Of course, we also offer answers and resources in the traditional ways: through the mail and over the telephone, too!
Expanding into the world of electronic information is a significant part of CRICs current outreach initiative, funded in part by the Davis Family Foundation and the Department of Economic and Community Development. CRIC now has its own website, hosted by the Maine State Archives. Youll find us at http://www.maine.gov/sos/arc/cric/. Exploring the wild world of web-page creation using html software is yet another way in which CRIC uses modern information technology.
CRIC is a collaborative project of The Maine State Museum, The Maine State Archives, and Maine Archives & Museums (MAM), the statewide museum membership organization.
Questions? Comments? Contact Anne Witty, Project Director, by e-mailing Maine.email@example.com.