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ICOM Network facilities

This text is provided in general response to representatives of ICOM Committees and affiliated bodies who have requested assistance in setting up Internet facilities. If you feel the following material to be inadequate you are welcome to submit suggestions for enhancing the scope of future versions.

ICOM Internet Host and Registry Services

ICOM maintains an Internet host computer that presently serves three purposes.

  1. to provide a network-based repository for ICOM's core documents, allowing their automated location and retrieval. Channels for such access are maintained via e-mail and the World Wide Web.

  2. to place e-mail facilities at the disposal of the ICOM Secretariat staff.

  3. the Virtual Library Museums Pages, about which more is said below, are hosted by ICOM.

 Network facilities for Committees

ICOM encourages its National and International Committees to establish similar facilities but has neither the technical nor the administrative resources necessary to provide a host platform for the Committees.

The computer departments of larger museums and universities are often willing to provide host facilities on a courtesy basis. A useful first line of approach is to see if any committee member has contacts with such an organization. It may also be worth using ICOM's e-mail distribution list, ICOM-L (described below), to establish contacts.

Commercial "Internet Service Providers (ISP's)" commonly offer so-called Web hotel facilities at low cost. Detailed general advice about selecting an ISP can, unfortunately, not be provided. Commercial practice and relevant legislation differ from country to country in a manner that ICOM cannot track centrally. Useful sources of information about ISP are found in popular Internet magazines and by word of mouth from computer suppliers and enthusiasts.

The most important things to keep in mind when selecting a host service are:

  • the need for easy access to the committee's material ,when it needs to be altered,

  • the ability to register facilities in an Internet domain designation of the committee's choice and under its control even if the ISP should be changed,

  • adequately dimensioned modem and network capacity at the ISP's site.

ICOM does provide domain registration facilities for individual committee resources. Any committee wishing to operate a sub-domain of ICOM.MUSEUM may be provided with one.

  • Examples of committees utilizing this service are:

- the Swedish National Committee operating SWEDEN.ICOM.MUSEUM

- CIDOC Committee, operating CIDOC.ICOM.MUSEUM.

The ability to operate a sub-domain depends on the facilities offered by the host service that a committee uses. For committees unable to obtain local host services that will permit operating an ICOM sub-domain, the URL assigned to any committee Web site will be provided with an alias in the form http://committee.icom.museum. It should be noted that a host site may be registered in several domains and that a URL can have any number of alias designations. Registration under the ICOM heading does not in any way conflict with the maintainance of a committee resource under another designation.

Similar services are available to committee officers who have e-mail addresses that may be difficult to determine or remember. These, as well as all other officers, may register aliases for their e-mail addresses in the form: CHAIR@COMMITTEE.ICOM.MUSEUM, TREASURER@COMMITTEE.ICOM.MUSEUM, etc.

This facility can also be used to ensure the delivery of mail to the holders of committee offices without the need for the sender to know the personal identity of the officer in question. This may be particularly useful in providing continuity after board elections. The provision of e-mail aliases is not dependent on local ISP facilities. Please note, however, that ICOM cannot provide e-mail boxes. An alias can only be assigned to a pre-existing e-mail address.

 Virtual Library Museum Pages (Vlmp)

In addition to registration facilities within its Internet domain, ICOM also provides host services for the Virtual Library Museums Pages (VLmp). These provide the most extensive single listing of addresses of museum Web sites. It is hoped that ICOM's National Committees will assume responsibility for the authoritative contribution of information about museum facilities in individual countries. In so doing, a committee will both be calling attention to itself and helping to ensure the quality of the registry.

ICOM E-mail Distribution List

ICOM-L is the e-mail distribution list maintained by ICOM that may be used for inquiries relevant to the establishment of committee resources. This list has a widespread international membership and it is quite likely that someone will be able to provide assistance with local issues.

To join ICOM-L, send a message to LISTSERV@HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM containing the following command on a single line in the body of the message:

SUBSCRIBE ICOM-L Yourfirstname Yourlastname (Do not include any other text in the message)

You may obtain further information about ICOM-L by sending the command INFO ICOM-L to the same address.

Requests for registration in any of the other contexts listed above should be sent to REGISTRY@ICOM.ORG. Please do not use this address for correspondence about any other issues. Any such communication will, with all due respect, simply be ignored.

Requests for general information and assistance should be addressed to ICOM-L.

Substantial enhancements are planned to the scope of ICOM's registry services. Information about this will be sent to ICOM-L and posted on the ICOM Web site at http://icom.museum .


Cary Karp <ck@nic.museum>

ICOM Internet Coordinator

Updated: 14 June 2005