M3, M3_Online and MINT by MINISIS Inc. - Profile


This profile was completed by the software vendor at CHIN's request and does not reflect the views or opinions of CHIN. It is presented for information only and does not indicate approval or accreditation by CHIN. Inclusion of specific products does not mean that CHIN recommends the software, but that members of the community expressed interest in learning about these products.

This information was accurate as of January 2018. For more information or to request updated information, please contact the vendor directly.

Product name

M3 (MINISIS Management for Museums) and MINT (MINISIS Integrated Archives, Library, and Museum System). MINISIS produces a client-server desktop version (on premise or hosted), MINT (MINISIS Integrator) which is designed for cross cultural integrated application for Archives, Libraries (ILS) and Museums (CMS). As well M3_Online is a completely web-based SaaS solution that can be run on premise or hosted in the Microsoft and IBM clouds. For this evaluation the focus was on the M3 desktop solution.

Vendor name


Vendor overview

Website URL


Head office

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Year founded: 2000
Telephone number: 1-604-255-4366, 1-877-255-4399 (toll free)
Fax number: 1-604-255-4367
Email: minisis@minisisinc.com
Contact person: Christopher Burcsik, Christopher@minisisinc.com

Canadian/North American offices

MINISIS Inc. regional North American offices

Vancouver, Woodstock, Toronto and Michigan.
Year opened: 2000
Telephone number: 1-604-255-4366, 1-877-255-4399 (toll free)
Fax number: 1-604-255-4367
Email: minisis@minisisinc.com
Contact person: Christopher Burcsik, Christopher@minisisinc.com

Product overview

MINISIS currently produces several products for the museum, archive, and library domains. The current product suite contains M3 (MINISIS Management for Museums) and its online SaaS version called M3 ONLINE. M3_ONLINE is hosted in the IBM or Microsoft Tier 1 Clouds. MINT contains M3, along with M2A (Archives) and M2L (Library), which are integrated via a common registration module. Again, for this evaluation - the CHIN team only looked at M3 desktop/client-server version.

100% Canadian owned and operated, supporting Canada and its culture from our own backyard!

Product description

Officially released in 1994, M3 was developed with the participation of experts from the museum and gallery community to meet the needs of small, medium-sized, and large cultural institutions. M3 is an ideal tool for users to enter, import/export, and manage collections data in an organized, easily manipulated, and flexible fashion.

The M3 application was built to meet the general requirements of most cultural institutions. Its initial design was based on information received from strategic partners during the development process and it is continually updated with every new installation. Given more than 5000 pre-defined fields dealing with all aspects of collection and exhibition management, only slight customization of the system is required to fulfill the most particular of needs. Customization can be facilitated with the help of MINISIS Inc. professionals or, thanks to the simplicity of the system, done by the client alone, thus avoiding both the initial premium attached to a fully tailored system, and further costs for outside technical staff.

General information

  • Available as both a desktop-based and an online application customizable to individual needs.
  • 6000+ predefined fields.
  • Pre-defined report formats and a complete report generator to build on-demand reports.
  • Over 50 pre-defined data entry worksheets.
  • Pre-defined query forms.
  • Template for an internet interface.
  • SMA (Standard MINISIS Application) for easy customization.
  • User-friendly with context-sensitive help.
  • Fully multimedia compliant.
  • Fields exist for any type of cultural institution or field of specialty.

M3 core system functions

  • Acquisitions, accessioning, and appraisals.
  • Cataloging for art, human history, natural history, and specialties.
  • Reproduction and publication services.
  • Museum education and promotion.
  • Object location, movement, and control.
  • Exhibition and loan management.
  • Loans in and out.
  • Conservation and preservation.
  • Risk management and valuation.
  • Covers the management of: archaeology, philately, numismatics, natural history, taxonomies, oral history, human history, ethnology, science and technology, and archives.
  • Spectrum Compliant
  • AODA Compliant/Compliant with most other accessibility standards

Disciplines supported

  • Archaeology
  • Art
  • Buildings and property management
  • Philately
  • Numismatics
  • Natural history (eg: Mammalogy, Paleontology, Ichthyology, et al).
  • Taxonomy
  • Oral history
  • Social/human history
  • Ethnology
  • Science and technology
  • Bibliographic
  • Archives
  • Reference Room and Online request management.

Product launch date


Product history

MINISIS has been used for museum collections management systems (CMS) since the 1970s. M3 was specifically created to help users that were left stranded by another CMS vendor in the mid-1990s and has been updated yearly ever since. Product underwent development across platforms from HP 3000, DOS and Unix to Windows and now web/SaaS online platforms. The software has been distributed on a social entrepreneurial basis to ensure access to technology to support organisational holdings since 2000. No one gets rich off of MINISIS as all dividends stay in the company. Therefore, we are able to help those with software needs regardless of their background or resourcing levels. The company like our software should continue to live ongoing through the next several decades.

Future development

The focus of all future development will be the migration of all software and features from the client-server of M3 ported to work on the web via an internet-based browser. MINISIS already has the most complete CMS application with the modules mentioned above. As a result, our focus is constantly updating the software for fields and screens and new functionalities. However, there are not a lot of features to add in that are not present, already. So again, most future development is to keep the SaaS models expanding and include everything that the current desktop/client-server versions can do. Unfortunately, the web world in general, is not able to perform or handle all of the loads/processing that current desktop/client-server configurations can process. MINISIS is currently developing the iSMA which will enable end users to change and adapt their own screens without knowing HTML via an online browser. Taking the techie out of technology.

Demo version

Can be downloaded at https://minisisinc.com/pages/demos.html or contact MINISIS. Live demonstrations can be provided or even a sandbox test environment in the MINISIS cloud upon request.


Support methods

On premises or remote via Skype, GoToMeeting and other online tools, telephone, email and online ticketing system.

Support language(s)

MINISIS is fully UTF8 and Unicode compliant. It can support most languages and can handle most indigenous languages. Interfaces for the application are available in the following languages:

  • English
  • French
  • Arabic
  • Mandarin
  • Cantonese
  • Hindi
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

Support availability and hours

Monday to Friday for clients with Basic/Bronze Technical Support and Maintenance 7 a.m. EST to 7 p.m. PST. 24/6 for Premium/Silver and VIP/Gold Technical Support and Maintenance.

Support fees

Support fees are charged as portion of the purchase price (Basic = 13%, Premium = 19%, VIP = 29%) and includes both technical support and maintenance (TS&M). This combined support and maintenance program provides everything from free software updates and upgrades, to over the shoulder or on-site help. The annual TS&M is optional and can be opted in/out in any given year without penalty.

The details of the support options are:

  • The Basic/Bronze Support services program includes:
    • Direct access to help center consultants with how-to and troubleshooting questions
    • Ability to contact or leave messages and have 21 hours/5 day a week support
    • Guaranteed response to any issue between immediate to 24 business hours between the hours to 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (PST), Monday to Friday, excluding local and national holidays
    • Access to and automatic notification of software updates, upgrades, and enhancements including access to the active product work plan and its feature enhancements via MIN.NET
    • Free software updates to MINISIS or any application in use by the organisation
    • Beta releases and the ability to be part of any product trial groups
    • First right of refusal to available spots at the International User Group Meetings
    • Access to all new documentation when released
    • Input into the yearly prescribed product work plan
    • Newsletters
    • Web site access to knowledge database, the work plan and other company specific details
    • Ability to use Tracker for online, real-time tracking of issues/enhancement requests
    • Maximum of: 48 hours of support per year
  • The Premium/Silver Support services program includes:
    • Direct access to help center consultants with how-to and troubleshooting questions
    • Ability to contact or leave messages and have 21 hours/5 day a week support
    • Guaranteed response to any issue between immediate to 8 business hours between the hours to 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (PST), Monday to Friday, excluding local and national holidays
    • Ability to pre-determine or identify the key support resource(s) of choice
    • Ability to book time for assistance over the phone or for on-site visits
    • Access to and automatic notification of software updates, upgrades, and enhancements including access to the active product work plan and its feature enhancements
    • Beta releases and the ability to be part of any product trial groups
    • First right of refusal to available spots at the International User Group Meetings
    • Access to all new documentation when released
    • Input into the yearly prescribed product work plan
    • Newsletters
    • Web site access to knowledge database, the work plan and other company specific details
    • Ability to serve in the MINISIS Focus Group which provides feedback and direction on the products throughout the year
    • Free software updates to MINISIS or any application in use by the organisation.
    • 6 days of consulting/support/service to aid with your usage of the software
    • Maximum of: 96 hours of support per year.
  • The VIP/Gold Support services program includes:
    • Direct access to help center consultants with how-to and troubleshooting questions
    • Ability to contact or leave messages and have 21 hours/5 days a week support
    • Guaranteed response to any issue between immediate to 3 hours between the hours to 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (PST), Monday to Friday, excluding local and national holidays
    • Ability to pre-determine or identify the key support resource(s) of choice
    • Ability to book time for assistance over the phone or for on-site visits
    • Access to and automatic notification of software updates, upgrades, and enhancements including access to the active product work plan and its feature enhancements
    • Beta releases and the ability to be part of any product trial groups
    • First right of refusal to available spots at the International User Group Meetings
    • Access to all new documentation when released
    • Input into the yearly prescribed product work plan
    • Newsletters
    • Web site access to knowledge database, the work plan and other company specific details
    • Ability to serve in the MINISIS Focus Group which provides feedback and direction on the products throughout the year
    • Free software updates to MINISIS or any application in use by the organisation.
    • 12 days of consulting/support/service to aid with your usage of the software
    • Maximum of: 144 hours of support per year

Client support network

  • MIN.NET private website, webinars, and online collaboration tools like Skype, GoToMeeting, and WebEx.


  • Training is available via training courses (on premises), remote webinars, documentation, and instructional videos. Training is often a process of working with the client to determine the best way to tackle knowledge transfer immediately and long term. Training solutions often include unlimited access to electronic manuals, online databases and videos, and of course on-site/remote training sessions with qualified trainers.

System updates and maintenance

  • System updates are performed continuously to incorporate new fixes, features, and functionalities. Every year there is one major update to the M3 application and MINISIS core software.



Pricing is based on the number of concurrent users and the products and services requested. There are three separate products: M3, M3_Online and MINT and all have various pricing with M3_ONLINE being the most inexpensive model given it prices by space and usage.

Maintenance costs

Are optional and can be renewed or cancelled every year. The costs are combined with the technical support and maintenance (TS&M) which is based on the portion of the purchase price.

Additional fees

The only additional fees are for anything with copyright protection (e.g. Chenhall Nomenclature), and then for any additional services required on a per diem basis. Other products (ex. web OPACs, data conversion, APIs, customisations, hosting services) the client wishes to add on may have differing costs based on client expectations/requirements.

System specifications

Operating systems supported

Windows and internet browsers. As MINISIS has both desktop- and browser-based solutions, the user must have Windows for the desktop version, or any modern browser to use the online/browser-based software.

Underlying database

Data can be stored in MINISIS or SQL. Note there is an additional charge for SQL licensing.


Client server and web/SaaS.

Hardware requirements

Any modern Windows-based server(s) using IIS.

Staff requirements

Minimal. However, it depends on the usage by the client. Nonetheless MINISIS software tools were designed to allow non-technical end users to build, modify, and manage applications without having to be programmers. The goal is to allow users to make the most of the tools they purchase and encourage them to enhance the software with or without MINISIS Inc.’s assistance. Total IM/IT freedom, in our perspective. Let the client decide the processes, tasks, and workflows that work for their institution and make the software adjust accordingly. No extensive programming is ever required. The goal is to enable non-programming resources that have solid business knowledge to update, manage and create new screens, databases, reports as needed.

Plug-ins and/or modules available

SOAP, restAPI and other APIs are available and added to the core software.

Third-party requirements



MINISIS can exchange data (import/export) in virtually any format required. Via SOAP, REST and other APIs, MINISIS can interoperate with other tools and data sources (ex. OAI).


MINISIS web and desktop solutions are compliant with W3C standards and specific standards like AODA.


100% customization. The complete development toolkit is provided with the software to allow the client to change the system as they desire.

Web integration capabilities

Cloud functionality

Server location
Hosted or on-premises solutions available. MINISIS hosts using the Microsoft Azure and IBM Softlayer Cloud infrastructure. Tier 1 architecture for our hosted clients to ensure congruence with different country laws and regulations. Clients can choose to install locally on premises with their own Windows servers, or purchase hosted servers and services in our cloud. The servers are swamped yearly to ensure the best hardware and connections are available in the cloud.
Security protocols
All modern security protocols are employed, they are updated as required in a modern age.
Typical or average uptime
97.9% or higher are the guaranteed rates for hosted solutions. Clients can achieve up to 99% but some time is required for software updates and maintenance. (Sometimes server restarts are needed to engage new software updates from Windows and MINISIS.)
Back-end maintenance procedures and downtime
Again, typically 1-3% downtime overall is required or should be considered a possibility, regardless. Over a year, most clients will update the software for new enhancements and fixes as well as for updates to the operating systems, hardware renewals, other software updates, and maintenance (ex. media players, et al).

Browsers supported

Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer/Edge, Safari and most web browsers that comply with the standards of the contemporary internet.

Web-based access for data entry

Yes, via the M3 ONLINE SaaS solution.

Web publishing platform

Clients typically have their own established web publishing platforms and use MINISIS Web Interface (MWI) to publish the content to the web in an integrated and consistent web style sheet. Clients can use MWI or their own and call the data via XML, JSON, and similar objects.

Linked open data functionality

Well, that depends on the definition and implementation level of linked open data (LOD). MINISIS can link and access content via numerous protocols from Z39.50 to OAI to various other standards. As universality of LOD is not fully implemented yet worldwide, MINISIS can state it is keeping current with the developments and research to date to stay current with open and transparent online content development and linking. However, the LOD standard is just coming into its prime (2018) and tools like MINISIS are being responsive to this web ideal. Being a database and application software house, MINISIS Inc is able to take advantage of advances in other fields to extrapolate to the CMS, ILS and other applications.

User groups and security

User profiles

The system comes with a complete administrative tool and script compiler tool to allow the client to add/remove defaults and change existing default profiles delivered with the system. The client can add/change all aspects of the menu, fields, and/or data that is to be restricted to various users.

User groups

Different profiles and access can be set up for users to allow various user groups to set their own needs and security. The system has different user profiles and security protocols for all types of installations (ex. cloud or desktop).

There is virtually no limit to the number of work groups (it can be 1 work group for 1 user or multiple work groups for multiple users as well). We have 10 generic roles or groups in M3 (more in MINT). Some clients even add more user groups, where every user is its own “user group”. For instance, one client has over 100 different user groups. The variations can be as simple as a field or several fields, differences between the user types to process blocking, to notifications/approvals, to the basic read/write details.

Visitor profiles

M3 has a patron module that can capture visitor profiles and manage visitors, researchers, and online visitors.


There is no limit to the number of user profiles nor concurrent users. However, the network/connectivity and server performance may be impacted, and the client may need to increase RAM/CPUs etc.

Audit trails and/or edit history

Yes. MINISIS has two audit trail processes. One is for logging simply what records were added, changed, deleted, or viewed, by which user, and at what time of transaction. The second audit trail capability is to keep and report the actual data added/changed/removed in a record.

Offline access

MINISIS has a cloud solution (web-based entry known as M3 ONLINE). It requires web access and can only be accessible online as it is hosted in Azure (Microsoft) or SoftLayer (IBM) clouds, whereas the M3 client-server/desktop version runs on any PC. The system can be configured on the PC to use the “transactional logging” capability where a user can take a copy of the database from the server and go into the field, perform data entry/update, and then the user can return to the office/network environs and when the network connection is re-established, the user can “roll forward” the transactions that were made to the records offline.

Privacy features

Yes. Users can be blocked by process, transaction, or record. Workgroups can be established, or single, on-off individual user profiles can be created. This way, the client has the ability to block (process), ex. blocking the movement of objects from some users, and (transaction) the ability to add data by some users and not others, and (record) blocking records from ever being seen by a particular user or workgroup. So, there are numerous ways to control access rights in the system. As well, with the audit capabilities and profile management, the organisation can create multiple views of the CMS to ensure privacy and protection of the assets, people, and content related to the collections.

Data migration and stability

Import formats

MINISIS has never found a data format it could not import. MINISIS has performed numerous imports in data conversion projects and has numerous data maps available for importing from numerous competing products, in formats from content-driven to technological standards. For instance: MARC, Dublin Core, and EAD to technical standards like CSV, comma delimited, or XML. Data can be migrated by the client or by MINISIS. If MINISIS performs data conversion/migration activities, it is considered a service and typically estimated upfront, so the client can determine who should or what the value of the existing data is worth to the client to migrate. Data conversion by MINISIS can be fixed-price or charged on a per diem basis. It should be noted that when MINISIS performs conversions, typically the data files are ingested into our trusted digital repository (TDR) for long-term preservation, and when conversions are done, MINISIS migrates all of the data into the new system. Although the user may never see the field on a screen, the old data is still copied forward so that the data is never lost. The user can perform searches on the new and old non-migrated data. MINISIS also has one-touch Excel loading maps to take data from CSV/Excel format files and load into M3 by the touch of a button.

Export formats

MINISIS has never found a format it could not export. MINISIS has performed numerous exports in data conversion projects and has numerous data maps available for exporting to numerous competing products, in formats from content-driven to technological standards. For instance: MARC, Dublin Core, EAD to technical standards like CSV, comma delimited, or XML. If MINISIS performs data conversion/migration activities, it is considered a service and typically estimated upfront so the client can determine who should or what the value of the existing data is worth to the client to migrate. Data conversion by MINISIS can be fixed-price or charged on a per diem basis. The user can often easily perform their own export files from the system by themselves. You own your data, so you should be able to export when, where, and how you want. MINISIS can export, as mentioned, in nearly any format (we have exported data in over 45 different formats and content standards from CSV/Excel formats to data in standardized content like EAD in XML format).


MINISIS permits the usage of an organisation’s existing network and backup tools and processes for on-premise solutions. There is nothing extraordinary or different required to back up MINISIS solutions. Therefore, a user has the ability if they want to do backups hourly, nightly, or whatever time frame they wish. Typically, most users have backups performed nightly in an automated Windows service. For cloud or hosted M3 or M3_Online users, the backups and redundancy of the data and platform are automatically included in the system management by MINISIS Cloud staff.

Standards and schemas

Metadata schemas

MINISIS can be utilized to create any map for nearly any metadata schema. By default, MINISIS has the standard metadata schemas for most common media files and content/contextual-based schemas like EAD, MARC, Dublin Core, and so on.

Data content standards (cataloguing rules)

MINISIS supports many standards. M3 is specifically designed to respect Spectrum (UK Spectrum Compliant) and any common standard like Dublin Core, CCO, or even the old CHIN standards. It should be noted that MINISIS Inc.’s integrated MINT application however can support everything from Z39.50 to RDA and MARC for instance in our library software, and EAD/DACS/RAD for archives as well.

Vocabulary standards

M3 has Chenhall, AAT, TGN. ULAN, ITIS standards are supported, and a user can use the existing validation and authority tables to create your own validated and common vocabularies. The formats are included in the software for free. However, if the data is proprietary (e.g. Chenhall 4.0), then a royalty fee has to be paid to release the content in the formatted fields of M3 to the copyright holder.

Local terminology lists

There are hundreds of fields in the M3 and MINT software for validated/local authority terminology lists (ex. role, people authority, materials, technique, object name, etc.). MINISIS also provides an add-on tool called STEMMA that enables users to create their own thesaurus/nomenclature. STEMMA is a multilingual thesauri management tool that can be used to allow the adoption of: AAT/TGN/ITIS/Chenhall to creating one’s own unique thesaurus. The tool allows the user to create a thesaurus and use it as a source for validation of content like materials or naming, and ensuring users are provided “preferred terms”, “used for” and “related terms”.


M3 and MINT passed Spectrum compliancy with the Heritage Trust in the UK in 2017.

Data entry and content

Media upload/linking

Media can be attached directly to a record using file path (ex. C:\Images\239493.jpg) or via a URI/URL (ex. www.minisisinc.com\tdr\23943.jpg). MINISIS can allow users to attach via Windows Explorer or navigate via a URL button. MINISIS also produces an add-on product known as a Trusted Digital Repository/DAMS application. The TDR has a complete web interface that has an automated drag and drop loading dock feature.

Media formats supported

MINISIS natively will allow users to attach nearly any media file type (e.g. Word document, PDF, JPG, TIFF, GIF, MP3, MP4, .AVI, .txt, et al) to a database record. The Titan TDR can ingest any format and it can also process the most common file types as listed without issue. The de facto rule is that, if a generic player can run the file, MINISIS can play the media. The TDR is concerned with the saving, preservation, management of the media and its derivatives, rights, reproduction and usability.

The use of normalization maps in the TDR. The user can see the preservation formats, and access formats and thumbnail formats. Via the “Add new conversion mapping +” icon, the TDR specialists add new maps as warranted for new or formats that have not been developed (typically older obscurer formats).

The TDR can ingest any format for a digital file. That said, the life of a TDR is to keep expanding, creating new normalization maps for every increasing number of varying formats. As a result, the file formats stated here are just a subset of the entire list of file formats that the TDR continually expands to host. Again, with every new client there is usually some new format that has to have a new normalization map created for. Some of the existing formats (today) that can be saved and manipulated for long term preservation are:

  • 3GP MEDIA Extension: .3gp
  • Audio Video Interleave (AVI) Extension: .avi
  • Blu-Ray Disc Audio-Video (BDAV) MPEG-2 Transport Stream (M2TS) Container / AVCHD (MTS)
  • BMP Extension: .bmp
  • Digital Negative Image File / Raw Image (DNG) Extension: .dng
  • DVD Video Movie File (VOB) Extension: .vob
  • Email Message (EML) Extension: .eml
  • Encapsulated Postscript (EPS) Extension: .eps
  • FLV Extension: .flv
  • Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) Extension: .gif
  • Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) Extension: .html
  • Joint Photographic Expert Group (JPG) Extension: .jpg
  • MP3 (MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III) Extension: .mp3
  • MPEG-4 Video (MP4) Extension: .mp4
  • PowerPoint (PPTX) Extension: .pptx
  • PowerPoint (PPT) Extension: .ppt

And, all of the Windows Office Suite and so on. In addition to the above common formats, there are approximately 40 other main formats available. Nearly every month there is a new format found or added to the repository.

Data entry features

Copy and paste
Yes. There is a full global change module to allow a user to not only copy/paste data to new fields but to paste new data into new fields, remove data from fields, insert default values to fields and so on. Also, a user can simply use the copy and paste controls via a mouse or standard Windows keyboard.
Search and replace
Yes. Again, the global change module is utilized to search and replace, overwrite, or change any values in any record or record set in the databases.
Spell check is supported in the web-based/SaaS solutions.
Bulk cataloguing
Yes. Records can be duplicated, bulk loaded, or created via global change as well.
Batch edit
Yes. Users can use the global change module to edit a record, a series of records, an entire record set, or even all records in the database/application.
Batch location change
Yes. The software has a “move single object” or “move multiple objects” scripted menu process so that clients can edit location details in one or multiple records via a single transaction, ex. move all objects in record set A from the depot to the vault.
Duplicate record search
Yes. Users can search for duplicates or the user can also ensure duplicate check is turned on so that no duplicate could ever be entered in the first place.
Template record
Yes, MINISIS has the ability to create templates or different screens for different users. MINISIS also has the ability to set defaults so that when a new record is created numerous fields can have default values, ex. location detail for 100 records just acquired that will be set to a default of “processing room” for example.
Date selection and formats
Yes. As a multilingual and international software solution, MINISIS can have dates in a variety of formats. For instance, July 31st, 2017 could be stored in numerous formats including: 2017-07-31, 17-07-31, 07-31-17, circa 2017, ca.2017, 07-31-?? and so on.
Mandatory fields
Yes. MINISIS can support both conditional and unconditional mandatory field conditions. The database administrator has the ability to set mandatory conditions or change them as needed by the organisation in a 2 minute process.
MINISIS is a complete HDBMS. That means users can take advantage of the core toolkit MINISIS Inc. uses to create its predefined applications, like M3 (MINISIS Management for Museums). This toolkit, called the SMA (Standard MINISIS Application), will allow the power user or database administrator to change any aspect of the system, from adding, changing, or removing fields, setting default values in records, to mandatory or conditional fields, to adding over 100 user exits, to read data like different date formats, to allowing users to engage new search/indexing parameters to building new screens, changing existing screens to reports and so on. The SMA enables virtually any condition, format, or content to be defined for a field in the databases.

Spreadsheet editing view

Yes. The user can create any view to enter, update, or view data in the system.

Geographic mapping

MINISIS has numerous longitude and latitude fields (ex. digital, UTM, etc.) so that users can have data plotted on maps in online interfaces, for instance. These fields, with formatting codes from mapping tools found online in Google and other GIS tools, can take the data and transpose to give any view of one’s data geographically.

Multilingual fields

Yes. MINISIS was the first multilingual database management system (HDBMS) in the world. This claim to fame came from MINISIS’ inception at the International Development Research Centre before MINISIS was privatized from the Crown in 2000. As a result, MINISIS and its applications can house multilingual data and have special features for multilingual thesauri, having fields store data in almost any language, to have a bilingual application (screens and menus), for example.


Yes. MINISIS has barcode capability. It should be noted that as an Integrated Library System (ILS) vendor, barcoding has been engaged years ago and the system can be expanded to handle RFID labels, QR Codes and traditional barcodes.


Yes. The system has numerous reports that can be printed on labels. These include bar codes to text/content and media from database records.

Search and reporting

Types of search supported

Boolean queries
Yes. No limits. AND, OR, NOT is supported, amongst a host of additional search techniques like: proximity, adjacency, any, thesaurus, pattern, Soundex; and various indexing like whole, word, whole and word, and so on.
Query any field
Yes. No limits. Any field in MINISIS can be searched at any time.
Sort query results
Yes. No limits. The user can take search results and set almost any logical sort sequencing to a record set. That could be sorting by date, by alphabetic letter, by location, or so on.
Saving search results
Yes. No limits. We call it a “Hit File”. The user can also save their search strategy for reuse with or without the records found.
Filter search results
Yes. No limits.
SQL-based search
Yes, MINISIS web tools can interpret structured SQL-based searches. As well internally in the system, the user has full line mode or command mode search capabilities, where the user can type the “field name” (ex. Title, maker, etc.), the value, and link long query syntax to search the databases.
Export search results
Yes. No limits. Typically, results are output in a standard format (as MINISIS allows users to view on-screen, print, or save to disk any data found upon searching) but the output can be a .txt, .csv, or structured XML format, for instance.
Free-text (Google) searches
Yes. No limits.
Search result views
Yes. No limits. Via the MINISIS report generator, output can be presented in as many different formats as the user desires. The output can be a predefined report, ad hoc report format, in list/grid views, or even simple summary lists/spreadsheet-like views.

Multilingual searching

Yes. No limits.

  • MINISIS was the first multilingual HDBMS in the world.
  • Most M3/MINT users will have a field like the City of Ottawa does for Material_ENG and Material_FRE. So that when a client picks “os” in the MATERIAL_FRE it will put the word “Bone” in the MATERIAL_ENG field. So that when a client searches for “os” they can be presented records with the words/mots, “bone” or “os” in them.
  • Some clients make use of our add-on multilingual thesaurus product called “STEMMA”.
  • Some clients make use of our add-on dictionaries (English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese) where they pull or attached to the term in the dictionary.
  • The client can choose the level of linguistic inclusiveness they desire/can afford.
  • Our core system can look for any work or term in any language and search the database regardless. It is the user that must determine which of the above options works best for them (e.g. dual fields for materials, thesauri, dictionary, et al).
  • Our system interfaces come in French, English, Chinese and Arabic.

Report styles included

Yes. No limits. Every user creates reports and often MINISIS creates reports for clients. As a result, these reports are left into the system so all users can take advantage of reports created from the generic tool as well as client-specified report outputs. There are over 100 report formats in MINT/M3, and even more when you consider our archival and library modules. Reports vary from the traditional accessions register, intake receipts, collections and catalogue-based reports, enquiry and specific reports for processes like conservation, rights and reproduction, movement, and so on.

Report customization

Yes. No limits. Two report generators come with the software so users can add, change, or remove any report they wish.

Report program

MINISIS includes two report generators inside the system. Data can be exported via the Exchange or Report Modules to any other report generator as well.

Museum functions

Collections management function overview

MINISIS supports all major and Spectrum-related collection management functions and processes. MINISIS M3 can be used to manage any cultural, historical, social, documentary, archival, art, or bibliographic collections. These collections can be physical or virtual. The collections supported (screens, menu and processes for) are: archaeology, art gallery, public art, numismatic, philately, social, natural science, industry and tech, oral history, zoological, and historical property management.


Yes. Registration is fully supported. Again, MINISIS has MINT, M3, and M3 ONLINE solutions for typical cultural institutions. Each product has a different level and degree of registration. The most sophisticated registration database in the MINISIS suite of products is MINT where there are over 1000 fields available to register an object into the institution. The institution can enter any possible acquisition, and prepare and store initial documentation on the proposed acquisitions, loans, and related holdings. There are fields for basic acquisition details (ex. source, method, dates, et al), the ability to add any amount of catalogue details for the potential acquisition (or new accession), loan and exhibition details in case it is not part of the permanent collection, to fields for acquisition justification and managing all related documentation, like loan agreements, receipts and deeds of gifts, accession registers, and other reports.


Yes, acquisitions and registration are fully supported. Acquisitions and registration are often the same process to many institutions. At MINISIS the institution has the ability to decide whether it engages separate or the same process for new collections and objects potentially entering the institution. The Acquisitions module supports all of the Spectrum collections management standards.

Inventory management

Yes, inventory management is fully supported. Inventory management is part of the movement and tracking process of M3. Inventory management, in particular, is focussed on validating and verifying the location data that is in any record. The users can perform and capture information on a spot check or full inventory verification basis. The system can track all aspects of inventory, and the repeating group fields allow the user to see all past inventory management activities and when, how, and who performed the inventory checks.

Internal tracking

Yes, internal tracking is fully supported. The M3 applications come with a robust movement and tracking process and workflow to aid the institution in the location tracking of its objects, its loans (in and out) and related holdings. The system is configured by default with the ability to store a permanent location, planned moves, and current location details for any objects/items in the collection. The system enables the clients to perform inventory checks, global update (ex. move everything from conservation lab to the new preservation office, or move from Building 1, Floor 1, Room 2 to Building 4, Floor 1, Room 3 on December 1st), and schedule moves according to the movement/tracking activities being undertaken. M3 Location and Tracking is integrated for the movement of any part of the collection (or entire collections, as need be). Whether the movement is internal or external, on an object from the permanent collection or a loaned travelling exhibition, the default system will support (via workflow and a “location authority”) the location and tracking of any object.

External shipments

Yes, external shipment information is fully supported. External and internal tracking are the same regardless of whether the object is moving inside or outside. The same processes and location authorities are used, and for external moving objects, the system allows the user to enter the place of shipment, log the shipping details from costs, to tracking ID, to the physical delivery location. Loan and catalogue details are attached to the record and the system enables the institutions to be able to store and track all relevant data with the shipment.


Yes, all aspects of museum, art gallery and historical centres are fully supported. M3 is able to be used for any type of collection. Whether the institution has art and monkeys, photographs and masks, or whether it is just a collection of social history objects – M3 can allow the users to use the documentation standards and related rules to catalogue objects in the database. Whether the objects are in the same domain, identical, or totally unrelated, the software can be configured to allow the user to enter diverse objects with diverse standards for documentation. M3 has all of the major standards supported (ex. the old CHIN dictionary, the new Spectrum standard, CCO, etc.). In the product overview, MINISIS included information on the main modules and components of M3.


Yes, all aspects of conservation, examination, proposed treatment, and treatments are supported. Conservation in M3 is a fully integrated activity with the catalogue record. The conservation module was based on all of the previous Spectrum versions, and for the current object condition checking and technical assessments, along with conservation and collections care. Also, the conservation module has a link to the Incident Tracking Module (ITM). ITM allows others (ex. the security desk) to request immediate action/work order on an object that is on display. All MINT applications contain the conservation data elements required to fully annotate and store all examinations, proposed treatments, and actual treatments made to any of the books, rare books, maps, textual/paper documents, and three-dimensional objects. Via a repeating group field containing over 90 individual fields exist to capture all conservation details, plus notes and history of all conservation processes and assessments made on the object. In addition, images and documents concerned with conservation activities can be linked to the description records. The conservation components as shown from MINT/M3 are focused around the main assessment page, which asks the user if the data/work to be entered is an examination, proposed treatment, or actual treatment. Information for any of these three default conservation activities are supported with fields to track the history of all conservation processes throughout the object’s life.

Curatorial research

Yes, there are numerous fields to capture local or your own research and localised curatorial/research details. The software has numerous fields available to capture related materials and research performed on the object. M3 also has a research module exclusively designed to capture details found researching the object. The system allows theses, reports, bibliographic materials, and electronic files to be attached to the object‘s record to store endless sources of research performed on or related to the object. The system also has links to projects and publication databases to ensure all aspects of collection management can come together to provide and house internal research details.

Publications and printed material

Yes, publication and bibliographic data are fully supported. M3 has a complete publications database which enables the user to link and store data from online and printed publications. The software captures all standard bibliographic details (MARC or non-MARC formats) and enables the user to attach everything from the publication, to information about the publication, or publishers.

Rights management and reproduction

Yes, rights management and reproduction are fully supported. The separate rights and reproductions module will enable the institution to store all copyright details (on the object, on the digital producer, etc.), who is responsible for the copyright management, the costs (licensing and reproduction of the objects), and usage restrictions. There is a complete ordering module included and requesting capability included in the system. It should be noted that MINISIS Inc. also provides one of the few totally complete and integrated Trusted Digital Repositories (TDR) that will house both content from M3 (ex. catalogue details, copyright, et al) and merge it with the digital assets to create a total TDR/DAM that will ingest, preserve, and track usage of the digital assets in the museum or from those attached to the object records.

Risk management and valuation

Risk management, like conservation, movement, and valuation is a universal process across the MINT applications. Risk management keeps track of everything from packing and handling perspectives, as well as light exposure limits, to temperature monitoring, and so on. Risk is assessable at the registration level to ensure the institution knows and understands the risk and potential cost (time, money, resources) to maintain and manage the item. The risk screen is linked to the object record via the conservation module.


An exhibition is put through the process of a loan out. The philosophy that while on exhibition, the records are indeed “loaned out” to the exhibition and cannot be easily removed without some consequence (ex. getting the object back, finding a replacement and so on). The user selects “Type” and selects either “Internal Exhibition” or “Outgoing Exhibition”. Other details should be entered, including fields for external or in-house contact, location, and expected dates of the exhibition in step two of the process. Then the user can enter details relevant from costs, shipping details, insurance, documentation, and exhibition details.

Loan management

Again, in M3, loans and all movement activities are universal so objects, items, and titles can be attached to loans individually or in bulk. M3’s fields and loan procedures allow the institution to have a fully documented loan management process respecting standard requirements for any items loaned. Again, MINISIS believes that by seeing the screens, the reader can procure a clear idea that it exists and all aspects for managing loans in and loans out are available in the software.


Yes, the deaccessioning of an object is fully supported in the system. Clients have two options when setting up their system with respect to deaccession:

  • The user can deaccession in the registration or acquisitions module or
  • Deaccession the record as part of the catalogue details of the object.

For instance, in M3 the user can perform option 1 or via option 2. There is a separate screen to capture all the aspects of deaccession including: the type of deaccession (via auction, sold, transferred/exchanged, or destroyed); along with large text fields to capture details on how the object was deaccessioned; along with details to whom, by whom, and when; along with costs associated with the deaccessioning of the object.

Digital asset management

MINISIS for Windows (SMA) allows images, documents, audio, and video file references to be attached to database records for display on worksheets, reports, and the OPAC. The file reference can be in the form of a UNC name, file share name, drive path, MINISIS virtual directory (which represents a UNC, file share name, or drive path), or in some cases a URL.

The user could use our Trusted Digital Repository (TDR) as well to store images and have content imported to the digital product to ensure that when a digital asset is used, it has both the technical details of how it was created (ex. formats, resolution, typical OAIS fields) and content from the CMS to ensure everyone knows this is your asset and trusted. Remember the issue about whether or not emails were stolen? My questions from the outside would have been to ask if someone could actually verify those emails were authentic. Only a TDR would have helped with that assessment, as you could prove whether or not the emails had been tampered with. Again, images or any media file (video, audio, text, office suite products, PDF) can be attached to a MINISIS record. The OPAC or Portal would simply call the record and its file path to show the media file with the text on the web.

Attaching image files via a File Reference button

In the MINISIS database, a field is designated to hold the path and filename of an image file. The path can be a standard X:\images\23q5.jpg window pathing or a URL (eg: https:\\minisisinc.com). There can be none, just one or repeating to allow 1 to 12000 media files attached to a database record. A “File Reference” button will appear next to or beneath the image file field on the application worksheet. This button may be labeled “Find Image” but more frequently it can be identified by the image of a paperclip.

The path of the image can be a URL, UNC name, share name, network drive, or a MINISIS virtual directory which can represent any one of these paths. The path of the image in this example is represented as a virtual directory, i.e. [M3IMAGES]. While MINISIS will write the full path to the field if no virtual directory is defined for the folder that holds the image files, we strongly recommend that you define a virtual directory for this folder in the MINAdmin utility. This ensures that if the image files are moved to a different folder and/or drive, the path does not have to be changed in all database records. Instead, the virtual directory is redefined in MINAdmin.

Image file paths and names can be pasted or typed directly into the designated image file field without using the “File Reference” button. The “File Reference” button is present to make it easier to locate the image and paste the path and name into the field. When the image file path and name are pasted to the image file field, MINISIS will load a thumbnail of the image into a “Thumbnail Image” box that usually appears next to the image file field and “File Reference” button. This thumbnail image will appear whenever the worksheet is opened at this page, as long as the image file reference is in the image file field and the image can be located by MINISIS, i.e. the path is still valid. “Thumbnail Image” data boxes may appear on any page of a worksheet but cannot be added or deleted, other than by changing the path of the image in the image file field. Any image file name and path can be written to the image file field on the record worksheet. However, the image file must be in a valid location and valid format in order to be displayed in the “Thumbnail Image” data box. If MINISIS can’t locate the image or if the image is not in a valid format (ex. it is .bmp, instead of a JPG, (for example), MINISIS will return an error message indicating that the thumbnail of the image can’t be loaded, i.e. displayed.

Attaching URLs as image file paths

In MINISIS, image file paths in the form of URLs can successfully be displayed as thumbnails. When entering a URL in an image file field:

  • Don’t use the “File Reference” button. Type the URL or copy and paste it into the field.
  • The URL must begin with http:// or https:// and end in an image file format extension that is recognized by MINISIS and the file management system.
  • If you copy and paste the URL into the field, you must press tab or touch another field with your mouse in order to see the thumbnail displayed, until you click the save record button.

Again, whatever image, video, audio, or text/office product is attached on this screen, MINISIS-built OPACs would simply call the media file and display it in the HTML version of the record on the OPAC.

M3 can be fully integrated with the Titan Trusted Digital Repository (TDR) which was constructed off the OAIS standards. That means the Titan TDR, if used, reads media file content and ingests, preserves, and manages several media types (ex. audio, video, image and text/PDF). The TDR reads all technical specifications of any major media file to ensure the media file can be managed and avoids bit rot and obsolescence. The TDR manages ingestion, preservation, and accessibility to the digital assets and their derivatives. With the MINISIS Trusted Digital Repository, you will be able to follow an easy step-by-step approach to digital preservation:

1. Prepare

Preparation activities usually involve discussions about immediate and long-term TDR priorities such as storage restrictions, preservation formats, and public access. Understanding these requirements helps to establish critical management tasks and settings. At this time, it is also helpful to know what additional types of information will be stored alongside the asset as metadata. If the digital collection is to be linked with another cataloguing system, planning for data mapping and customization prior to ingestion ensures a smooth transfer.

2. Ingest

When new files are ready for ingestion, they are sent to a queue in the MINISIS TDR’s loading dock. Related digital assets can be set up as a job, allowing them to be assigned a common job number and job title, as well as descriptive metadata for future discovery and retrieval purposes. Each raw digital asset is processed to identify checksum information, extract technical data, and characterize the asset. Once ingestion is complete, the digital asset is stored with its content, provenance, and preservation metadata — as an Archive Information Package (AIP).

3. Store

Storage mechanisms for a MINISIS TDR are largely client-specific. Public access and reproduction requirements will help determine the TDR’s storage and connectivity specifications. Customers using the MINISIS TDR as a service can store their AIPs in cloud storage, or they can opt for a dedicated storage appliance when safety is of the utmost importance. Standalone systems at a client site are also a storage option.

4. Preserve

Preservation strategies are routinely implemented in a MINISIS TDR and can be managed automatically or manually. Normalization settings identify current file formats that will be converted for preservation, preview, web, and print. As time passes, these settings are updated to convert obsolete file formats to contemporary ones. In addition, obsolescence and fixity help you to effectively manage your long-term asset preservation.

5. Manage

Cataloguing and search fields help to identify and retrieve the assets that are stored in the TDR. Even if digital assets are ingested into the TDR in large batches, information about each asset can be managed individually. These information management features are aligned with Open Archives Initiative (OAI) and Dublin Core standards. By initially using standard cataloguing fields, the assets’ intellectual content can be mapped with data in MINISIS applications and other collection management software. However, the MINISIS TDR can also operate as a standalone cataloguing system.

6. Access

Many museums, libraries, and archives are mandated to make their collections publicly accessible via digital and online platforms. Web-ready formats of preserved digital images can be linked to Online Public Access Catalogues (OPAC). Print-ready formats can also be generated and stored in the MINISIS TDR. Appropriate role-based security procedures and permissions can be set up to provide internal and external TDR users with safe and secure access to your digital collection.

Additional features and functions

MINISIS could list a long list of additional features, functions and capabilities that have not been addressed in the previous points. Additional details can be found on the MINISIS Inc. website (www.minisisinc.com).

MINISIS has a complete development suite to use the same toolkit that was used to create the CMS can be used to create any database.

Yes, you could buy MINISIS and M3 and build your own fundraising database or your own human resources or timesheet database/application. There is no charge if you have a legal license.

There are several predefined/COTS applications available including:

  • MINISIS Management for Libraries (M2L) that is a complete integrated library system.
  • MINISIS Management for Archives (M2A) that is a complete integrated archival system.
  • MINISIS Management for Museums (M3) that is a complete integrated CMS system.
  • STEMMA – A multilingual thesauri building tool that performs over 10 linguistic related checks
  • Standard MINISIS Application (SMA) to build any database and applications you may require
  • And complete services for everything from analysis, design, data conversion, customisation, training and web/OPAC services to build some of the best online search interfaces on the Web.
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