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This page provides details on functionality of the software and the progress of implementing improvements to ConservationSpace.  See the Technical Information page for related material.

Functionality Prior to Phase 3 of Development

ConservationSpace software can be described simply as a document management system built on the Alfresco open source platform that contains a custom interface designed for the conservation community.  Input for creating the interface came from a partnership of 6 institutions (Courtauld Institute of Art, Denver Museum, Indianapolis Art Museum, SMK - Denmark, Yale University and the National Gallery of Art, with the National Gallery as the project leader and contractor for the development of the platform.

The basic concept for the software is that it will allow users to (1) write conservation documents that contain both the text of the reports and (2) to add metadata to enhance the reports and the cultural objects stored in the system. These two requirements provides the means to store important information about the care of cultural objects and to assist the user in searching for information.  The software also has to assure that documents are stored safely and provide users with an interface containing simple and complex search tools to extract reports and related information from the system.

Detail of a Cultural Object Landing Page

In May 2017, the system entering Phase 3 development had already been used for several months for genuine records management as well as test data that users entered to learn about the system. Users found a number of issues that could be improved to make the system better for conservators. 

ConservationSpace Functionality Defined

  • Here are the basic functions that provide the tools to define Conservation Space as a document management system.


  • The ability to control access to the system and identify registered users of the system

  • Access to an institution's Collection Management System (CMS) or a self-contained, configurable CMS  within ConservationSpace

  • Tools in an open source context that emulated popular document writing features 

  • Templates to create pre-defined documents ready for end user entry of report information

  • An interface that merges CMS information within documents to avoid repetitive entry of data stored in the CMS 

  • The means to add metadata to any system object (documents, the cultural object, a file folder, task, project or workflow

  • A user interface that is clear and understandable

  • A uniform way to organize system in the user interface so that data can be easily located for any record

  • A method of searching the data that is logical and easy to navigate

  • Search methods that employ advanced filtering to eliminate the display of unwanted information

  • The ability to save searches to recall them at a later time

  • A means to upload information to add cultural objects, legacy data or proprietary file formats into the system

  • Basic user defined personal data in the system

  • Provide a "folder" system to organize system objects if needed

  • Create a Task that is assigned and completed by named users

  • Provide a Workflow system for tracking actions required by users to accomplish

  • Upload a primary image of a cultural object created by an institutional authority 

  • Ability to upload user created images

  • A set of annotation tools to enable users to note physical locations on a cultural object

  • Linking cultural objects to other cultural objects or documents to other documents

  • A system of alerts to provide cues that an object in the system has been opened and changed or that new activity has started that is of interest to another user

  • The means to output via electronic document or hardcopy of information in the system

  • An export protocol to download any information from the system as well as to migrate records should the host institution choose to withdraw from the use of ConservationSpace 



Phase 3 Goals

The focus on the third phase of the development of ConservationSpace is to improve the functionality of several features in the system.  The impetus for this is to address features that were not able to be refined in Phase 2 and to add the component of user feedback to made fine adjustments to the functions that need help to clarify or enhance i the system.  The project investigators stressed that the system as it currently has been configured is fully functional.  These changes are to focus on the user experience and make adjustments to the software based on actual use of the program rather than a technical analysis that has no reliance on real work experience.

List of Software Releases in ConservationSpace

(Note that latest releases are at the top of this page)

Release 2.19

Pending - In the test server.



Release 2.15, 2.16



  • Changed styles:

    • Main menu

    • Create/Upload button

    • Sidebar

    • Loading component

    • Standardized system colors

  • View user profile image in the user section

  • Object properties:

    • Change style

    • Show/ Hide object properties in widgets

Documents support

  • Migrated CKEditor to version 4.8.0

  • Integrated basic open source fonts in the platform

  • Added Line Spacing in editor

  • Added arrow up and down feature to table in the editor


  • Search result displayed in the system breadcrumb

  • Browser back button navigates to the search result


Release 2.14


  • Sort option in Data Table Widget

  • Display widget name and title during configuration

  • Action "Create/Upload" in Data Table Widget

  • Tab Basket in the Object picker displays the list of the related objects

Search Improvements:

  • Advanced search options icon in the search toolbar is changed

  • Auto-suggest for object properties in advanced search

  • Select context from recently used objects


  • Page Break option in the editor


  • Improved OCR

Release 2.13


  • Filter option in DTW

  • Changed icon of the Export to Excel action in the Data Table Widget

  • Changed icon of the Export to Excel action in the Data Table Widget

  • Hide the icons of the objects in the Data Table Widget

Search improvements

  • Basic search functionality is fully replaced by search bar

  • Search by "current object" in the search bar

  • Keyword search toolbar in the object picker

  • Search by keywords in the advanced search

Template Management

  •  Update Template


  •  OCR is performed on upload scanned pdf-documents and images in the system. This allows searching in the content of the uploaded pdf-documents and images

  •  OCR-ed content can be presented in the Content widget



Release 2.12

(release 2.11 is included)

Date: 12.04.2017



  • Dashboards in the system are updated. Different color schemes are added to the different types of cultural objects

  • Display the result number in the header of the data table widget

  • Groping of actions performed on an object

  • Preview images in Content widget

  • Improvements in visualization, print and export to PDF of the object data widget

Search improvements


  • User management

  • Audit log

Registering issues

  • registering issues is available in the main menu

User Guide

  • User guide content is updated

  • User guide structure is updated

Details Displaying Use of the Circle and Rectangle Drawing Tools in Mirador for Image Annotation

Release 2.10

Date: 10.01.2017


  • Play audio and video files in the Content widget

  • Display/ hide side borders and header of widget in preview mode

  • Configure data table style: Row stripe

  • Side bar tree styles are improved

  • Template management

  • Clone template

  • Search improvements

  • Search by object type & context in the keyword search field in the main menu

  • Performance optimizations

  • Removed No Permission option

Release 2.9

Date: 10.01.2017


Document creation

  • New property Related cultural object type is available.

  •  Document names are generated by rules

  • The template should be selected on the New screen

  • The list with templates is loaded depending on rules (type of cultural object)

  • The document is created when Create action is selected

  • Template management

  • New action Change the template of an object is available

  • New action Update the template of existing objects is available. Only for administrators

  • New action Deactivate template is available. Only for administrators

  • New action Delete template is available. Only for administrators

  • Rules on templates could be added. Only for administrators

  • Actions on objects

  • Most used actions are displayed in header section of the system objects

  • New action is restricted based on business rules

  • New action is renamed to Create/Upload

  • The landing page of an object is refreshed when action is executed

  • Case, Project

  • When creating a case or project the department is transferred from the creator to the case/project

  • Permissions

  • New group "Everyone“ is replacing All other users option.

  • Sort search result by relevance

  • The search results are ordered as follows:

  • 1st, at the top are listed all object that have exact match of the search phrase in the Object number or CMS number or Artists

  • 2nd are listed all objects that have exact match in the name/title or filename of the item

  • 3rd are listed all objects that have exact match in the description or the content of the item

  • 4th are listed all objects that have exact match in the identifier of the item

Example of Assignments in the Tasks Feature

Release 2.8

  • The template of the document is select in the New screen

  • The document is created when the Create button in the New screen is selected

Release 2.7

  •  Compare versions of uploaded documents

  •  Tab Upload in the Object Picker

  • Release 2.6 

  • Date: 5.29.2017

  • (releases 2.4 and 2.5 are included)

  • Action New

    • Multiple file upload

    • Show more/ less on create / upload screen

    • Restrict action New based on the status of the selected context

    • Restrict action New based on the user permissions on the selected context

  • Object Picker

    • Tab Create in object picker

    • Tab Recently used in the object picker

    • Tab Basket

    • Search query is executed automatically when the picker is opened

    • Search query is executed in the current context by default

    • Ability to Select all/ Deselect all

  • New actions on objects

    • Publish document

    • Create Archived Revision of a cultural object

    • Create Document for Cultural Objects,

    • Create Workflow for Cultural Objects, Documents

    • Create Sub-Task for Tasks

    • Create Conservation Activity for Projects

    • Create Task for Project, Conservation Activity

    • Revert to previous version

    • WorkflowsCreate workflow:

    • Review and Approve Conservation Activity Reports (+publish) Workflow

    • Move Cultural Object Workflow

    • Photograph Cultural Object Workflow

    • Take Material Sample From Cultural Object Workflow

    • Documents Review and Approval Workflow

    • Start/Stop workflow

    • View workflow diagram

    • Update status of the related documents

    • Send e-mail notifications on workflows

    • iDoc and WidgеtsNew  tab configurations:

    • Lock tab

    • Revision options

    • Insert link to object from the text editor

    • Chart view widget

    • Process widget

    • Object data widget – ability to configure radio-buttons and check-boxes

    • Search

    • Search by empty value

    • UI redesign of the external search form

    • Manage actions per role

    • Templates:

    • new revision tab for Documents, Cultural objects

    • template management

    • Others

    • Move right divider of the Side bar

Example of the Use of the Advanced Search Selection Option to Find Specific Documents

Release 2.3

Date: 02.22.2017


  • Recent Activities Widget - the widget has been added to the Projects dashboard, Conservation Activity, Cultural Objects dashboard, and to the Task page. The Project and Conservation Activities dashboards and Task page have been updated.

  • Email Notifications - notifications are sent upon the following actions: move, delete all system objects, start, suspend, restart, reopen, stop, complete, reassign project, conservation activity, and task. 

  • Push Notifications - now available on comments

  • Tooltips created for objects

  • Permissions Restrictions - the user can no longer create a system object he/she doesn't have permissions for based on the new library configurations. 

  • "Create Another" option added in the the New popup window

  • Contextual help for permissions and version tabs now available

  • Action "Clone" - the action gives the ability to create a copy of a document and its content.

  • Action "Export to Word"- the action gives the ability to export the system objects to Microsoft Word.

Release 2.2


  • Contextual Help – the ConservationSpace User Guide is available from the user dashboard, and also from different pages of the system i.e. the cultural object dossier, recent documents, the search page etc.

  • Versions of the system objects can be reviewed via the Version tab.

  • Comments Widget - the widget has been added to Projects, Conservation Activities, Cultural Objects dashboards, and to the Task page. The widget presents the comments added to the object itself and for the activities also presents the comments on the content created/uploaded in the activity.

  • Tooltip on Actions – the effect of each action is described in its tooltip.

  • Any data table in the system can be exported to an Excel file.

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