Vernon CMS by Vernon Systems - Profile


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This information was accurate as of October 2020. For more information or to request updated information, please contact the vendor directly.

Product name

Vernon CMS

Vendor name

Vernon Systems

Vendor overview

Website URL

Head office

Auckland, New Zealand
Year founded: 1985
Telephone number: +64 9 815 5599
Fax number: +64 9 815 5596
Contact person: Charles Tongue

Product overview

Product description

Vernon Systems has more than 30 years' experience in creating software for the museum, gallery and cultural heritage sectors. Vernon CMS is a modular desktop collection management system that handles all types of collections. It manages all common collection processes, including acquisitions, loans, exhibitions, conservation, rights, public access, and deaccessions. Multi-user security and data auditing features make it particularly suited for organisations with a collection management team. Content in Vernon CMS can be shared through the Vernon Browser web module, programming interfaces, and data exports to eHive.

Disciplines supported

Over 60% of our users manage multiple collections within Vernon CMS. The majority of our users have social history and/or art collections, but we have excellent examples of Vernon CMS being used to manage all the collections mentioned. Specialist screens to support archive and library collections were added in 2014.

Product launch date

9 August 1988. Vernon CMS is being constantly developed. A major software upgrade is released annually, with intermittent updates as required. Details of recent updates can be found on our website.

Product history

Bil Vernon founded Vernon Systems in 1985 after developing a custom dealer gallery application. From this initial system he saw the need for a general museum and gallery cataloguing system. This was built to match the Spectrum international museum standard, rather than being designed to suit a specific museum or collection type. Since then the system has expanded to include comprehensive support for natural history, archive and library collections. New modules providing programming interfaces, support for online collections, RFID-based location tracking, and features for managing risks and hazards present in collections.

Future development

  • Extend Application Programming Interface (API) to allow data to be written from web interfaces and 3rd party products.
  • Create topic and event pages in Vernon Browser online access module as another method for providing contextual/grouping information.
  • Provide online courses via a Learning Management System.
  • Improve user interface.

Demo version



Support methods

Vernon CMS has built-in help, down to the field level. The Annual Support Agreement includes support by phone, email or via our Customer Support Portal. We offer onsite and online training.

Support language(s)


Support availability and hours

9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. New Zealand time, Monday to Friday. Agents on call in UK and South African time zones.

Support fees

The optional Annual Support Agreement cost is 20% of the licences held. This includes all software upgrades and access to support by phone, mail or via the Customer Support Portal.

Client support network

Yes. The Vernon CMS Customer Support Portal.


Yes. The minimum length online session is one hour.

System updates and maintenance

System updates and maintenance are included in the annual support agreement.



The foundation of Vernon CMS is the Cataloguing module. This includes all necessary fields and functions to manage a museum collection. Optional add-on modules include Activities module, Browser module, External Tracking System module for RFID location management and Web Messenger module. Additional user licences can be added at any time. The Annual Support Agreement is 20% of licences help and is mandatory for the first year and optional on an ongoing basis.

Pricing outlines can be found on the Vernon Systems website.

Maintenance costs

Software upgrades are included in the Annual Support Agreement.

System specifications

Operating systems supported

Minimum server specification

  • Pentium III or 4 (or AMD Equivalent)
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 50 GB Hard Drive
  • Backup
  • Windows 2008 or 2012 Server

Minimum workstation specification

  • Pentium III
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 10 GB Hard Drive
  • Windows Vista, 7, 8 or 10

Underlying database

Vernon CMS uses Revelation Software's (RevSoft) OpenInsight (Linear Hash DBMS) as its database. Programs and data are stored in a single folder structure, usually referred to as Wincoll. Version 12.3.1 was released in September 2020. No additional fees are associated with the latest software upgrade.


Vernon CMS clients can run on Windows 7 or above workstations, or on other operating systems such as a mobile device or Mac OS via Microsoft Remote Desktop or Citrix on-demand access software.

Hardware requirements

Minimum workstation specification

  • Pentium III
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 10 GB Hard Drive

Staff requirements

Vernon CMS can be maintained by existing museum employees.

Plug-ins and/or modules available

Optional add-on modules include Activities module, Browser module, External Tracking System module for RFID location management and Web Messenger module. Additional user licences can be added at any time. The Annual Support Agreement is 20% of licences help and is mandatory for the first year and optional on an ongoing basis. These are all developed by Vernon Systems. External Tracking System Module is designed to work in conjunction with SmartTrack software and additional software and hardware costs are required.

Third-party requirements

No. There are no third party requirements. Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel integration is included in Cataloguing module and can optionally be used for reporting and data exports.


Vernon CMS includes a variety of API and export options. The list of third party integrations is significant and includes common Digital & Document Management Systems, Digital Asset Management Systems, Content Management Systems, and RFID-based location tracking software. We would be happy to discuss specific integration requirements.


Vernon CMS' web module - Vernon Browser - meets WCAG 1.0 Level-AA accessibility standards.


The user can customise user views (a dedicated viewing screen), add user defined fields, define security settings, save searches, and save reports. More extensive customisation can be applied as a service by Vernon Systems, such as specialised data entry screens.

Web integration capabilities

Cloud functionality

Vernon CMS must be installed locally, and accessed by workstations connected to the local network or remotely via Microsoft Remote Desktop or Citrix on-demand software. The Browser module allows publication of selected collection records in a read-only format. Vernon Systems offers hosting as a service.

Server location
The Vernon CMS server is usually installed on the client's own server. Vernon Systems does offer Windows server hosting. Browser hosting is supported in UK and US data centres.
Security protocols
No response.
Typical or average uptime
99.9% availability.
Back-end maintenance procedures and downtime
The system must be offline for backups and upgrades.

Browsers supported

Browser web module

  • Internet Explorer 10.0 and above
  • Firefox: latest version
  • Chrome: latest version
  • Safari 7.0 and above
  • Edge 38.14393 and above

Web-based access for data entry

No. Vernon CMS does not offer data modification through a browser.

Web publishing platform

Vernon CMS can publish collection data to the web via the Browser module. Records and images can be published to our Browser Templates as a public or private website, or pushed as data to be included in third-party applications. The API is not open source.

Linked open data functionality


User groups and security

User profiles

Yes. There are profiles for each user. You can allocate as many individual user logins as required. The number of concurrent users is defined by the number of user licences. Multiple users can be editing at the same time. They cannot be modifying the same objects simultaneously.

User groups

Vernon CMS allows for administrator accounts, with full access and customisable user accounts. Permissions can be set to view and/or modify fields down to the field level. User accounts can be allocated a class of permissions, and then individually modified.

Visitor profiles

A read-only visitor profile does not come preinstalled, but could be set up by an administrator.


Vernon CMS can run on multiple workstations. The restrictions are access to the local network and a workstation running Vernon Client Software.

Audit trails and/or edit history

Yes. Vernon CMS has a complete audit log showing all modifications that the user login to make those changes. The audit log is searchable and modifications can be rolled back.

Offline access

Yes. Vernon CMS is usually hosted on a client's internal server, although Vernon CMS can provide hosting. It is possible to run Vernon CMS on a single workstation with no external connectivity.

Privacy features

Yes. Access can be secured with individual passwords and there is no facility to modify the database from an external source. Individual images can be tagged as not for publication. The fields that a user can access to view or modify can be limited by the administrator. Any modifications to the database are recorded in an activity log. Data restrictions can be set to depend on data in the record being accessed, e.g. only allow users from the natural sciences security group to edit records where the Department field is set to Natural Sciences.

Data migration and stability

Import formats

There is an XML Import tool to create or update existing records, and users can also cut and paste via the Windows environment. The XML Import tool can convert data from MARC and Excel formats into XML for import.

Data migration services are usually provided offered by Vernon Systems, but clients can use the XML Import tool directly. There is a fee per day for data migration services. An analysis of legacy data import is a free and confidential service towards a quote for new clients.

Export formats

Users can export to XML, comma and tab separated text files (CSV), and PDF formats.


Vernon CMS does not require any special backup software. The recommended backup unit is any standard tape or disk backup as part of a daily backup routine.

Standards and schemas

Metadata schemas

  • Dublin Core
  • Darwin Core
  • Spectrum
  • CDWA Lite
  • CIDOC CRM Core
  • MARC
  • KML
  • EXIF

Data content standards (cataloguing rules)

  • CCO
  • RDA
  • EAD
  • Spectrum

Vocabulary standards

  • The Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)
  • Linnaean classification system (subsets of terms imported on request)
  • New Zealand Geographic Places
  • Chenhall's Revised Nomenclature
  • The Social History and Industrial Classification (SHIC)
  • Taonga Māori Thesaurus

Local terminology lists

You can create your own authority term lists (and will need to do so for terms that are specific to your organisation, such as Location terms). Terms can be imported into your system in bulk, using the XML Import tool, or terms can be added manually. New terms can be created at any stage by those with the security rights. Authority terms can be multi-lingual with linked translation terms.


  • Spectrum
  • CIDOC CRM Core

Data entry and content

Media upload/linking

Yes. Media can be uploaded to the database. Vernon CMS stores a file path to the media location on the network, and automatically creates a working derivative for onscreen display and reporting. On a double-click your media file will be opened in your preferred software. Vernon CMS has tools for bulk uploading of linking images based on matching parts of the image filename with the identifying numbers on the object record.

Media formats supported

  • BMP
  • PCX
  • TIFF
  • DXF
  • EPSF
  • FlashPix
  • WMF
  • Targa
  • IMG
  • JPEG
  • WPG
  • PCD
  • PNG
  • GIF
  • AVI
  • MPEG
  • WAV
  • MID

Data entry features

Copy and paste
Yes, including copying the whole previous record, a set of fields from the previous record, or an individual field from the previous record.
Search and replace
Yes. You can find and replace in a single record or selection of records.
Yes, with an English dictionary. Words can be added to a custom dictionary in bulk by editing the custom word list, or a single word at a time during a spell process.
Bulk cataloguing
Batch edit
Batch location change
Duplicate record search
Yes. Duplicate accession number search. Similar record warnings for people records with similar names.
Template record
Date selection and formats
Yes. Supports common precise date formats (month-day-year, day-month-year, various month and year formats) and imprecise date formats (month & year, year, decade, century, plus imprecision keywords such as circa, early, mid, late, pre, post).
Mandatory fields
No response.

Spreadsheet editing view

No, spreadsheet function allows for viewing records and editing which records are included in the list, but not the fields within each record.

Geographic mapping

Yes. Objects, sites and places can be marked with a map reference or latitude/longitude point or rectangle. Map data can be exported in KML map data format for presentation in software such as Google Maps or ESRI.

Multilingual fields

No. Vernon CMS supports Unicode but is not multi-lingual.


Yes. Support for barcode printing is built into the Cataloguing module (no additional cost). A barcode reader can be used anywhere in the system where object records, locations or packing units are selected.


Yes. The built in reporting includes integration with Microsoft Word. Templates can be created in Word and they can be automatically populated with collection data via micros.

Search and reporting

Types of search supported

Boolean queries
Query any field
Sort query results
Saving search results
Filter search results
SQL-based search
No, but native database queries (Select statements) can be performed on the underlying OpenInsight database structure.
Export search results
Yes. Users can export search results to XML, comma and tab separated text files, and PDF formats.
Free-text (Google) searches
Search result views
Browsing in a custom view screen or data entry screen, list mode, thumbnail image mode.

Multilingual searching


Report styles included

Column or form listing, Microsoft Word mail merge, banded reports, and raw data exports.

Report customization

Yes. Ad hoc reports can be created within the built-in reporting tool. Integration with Microsoft Word for complex form or label reports.

Report program

Vernon CMS has built-in reporting.

Museum functions

Collections management function overview

Vernon CMS manages all common collection processes, including acquisitions, loans, exhibitions, conservation, rights, public access, and deaccessions. The implementation is based Collection Trust's Spectrum museum standard. A full range of standard media file formats are supported. Web and file links can also be added to catalogue records for other related digital data.


Set up multiple accession number formats and control defaulting of accession number. Accession number duplicate checking. Dozens of registration specific fields including tables for registrarial comments and other identifiers for the objects. Generate forms at the end of the accession process.


Record individual acquisitions or acquisition lots with details about the acquisition (source, method, date, notes, etc.).

Inventory management

Record location at time of inventory. Record details on the completeness of an object. Reconcile lists of objects found at a location with the list of objects that are currently recorded as being in the location.

Internal tracking

Details fields for current location, usual location and location history. Move single objects or move in bulk, move online or offline, integration with 3rd party RFID-based location tracking system (SmartTrack).

External shipments

Catalogue non-accessioned objects (loans, considered items).

Detailed activity file to track planned movements and bulk update the records once the movements has been actioned. Planned movements can be recorded for objects not recorded separately in the system (e.g. objects currently being considered for acquisition).


Dedicated screens for library, archives and general history/arts objects. Custom screens can be developed to support any specialised collection. Extensive natural science fields, including support for classification hierarchies, bulk reclassification of specimens. A separate file for site/collection event details can be linked to multiple objects/specimens.

Create custom hierarchical pick lists, search and sort on imprecise dates, validate accession numbers and measurements, manage objects at part level.

Link external files and web pages.


Record detailed condition, completeness and treatment detail at object level. Track condition report and treatment processes as activities which relate to one or more objects, and link these to other activities such as exhibitions and loans. Link external files such as Word and PDF condition reports. Track light exposure based on the locations an object has been displayed or stored in.

Curatorial research

Retain histories of curatorial comments and research notes. Create topic/narrative records linking to multiple objects, activities or subjects. Topic records can represent wall labels, published articles, and collection summaries.

Publications and printed material

Create records for documents and publications and link these to objects as a bibliography.

Rights management and reproduction

Record current and historic rights information on each object record. Manage rights clearance (inward rights) and rights assignment (outward rights) through detailed activity records. Record the publication status of individual media files.

Risk management and valuation

Record valuation histories. Record insurance policies and link these to individual objects or object groups. Record risk details and significance information.


Record exhibition histories at object level. Manage exhibition planning for single venue and multi venue exhibitions.

Loan management

Manage inward and outward loans for single objects and groups of objects. Track correspondence with lenders and borrowers. Generate loan agreements. Record contact information. Link loans to other activities such as condition reports and exhibitions.


Record deaccession information at object level. Manage planned deaccessions and bulk update groups of objects if a deaccession is approved.

Digital asset management

Link image, audio and video files. Set standard derivative sizes and allow the system to generate these as required. Import EXIF metadata from image files. Set default viewing software by media file type. Record timecode details. Server size is dependent on the volume and type of media files.

Vernon CMS can also be integrated with a third party DAM.

Additional features and functions

  • Supports automated image analysis (detection of colours, image orientation, and subject keywords).
  • Sophisticated built-in reporting tool.
  • Variable length & repeatable fields.
  • Define multiple valid accession number formats.
  • Support for imprecise dates.
  • Advanced searching tools.
  • Manage object groups and parts.
  • Bulk update facilities.
  • Spare user definable fields within the standard system.
  • Create custom procedural for all object workflows.
  • Bulk import new records or Bulk update existing records from external data.
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