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Past Perfect Matrix

Page history last edited by Lisa Spiro 15 years, 5 months ago


Home Page


Developed by

PastPerfect Software, Inc (US company)

Developer’s Description

 “PastPerfect sets the standard for collection management software. It is affordable, flexible and easy to use for both small organizations and large collections.


PastPerfect is the leader in collection management with over 5500 museum clients.


PastPerfect conforms to the latest standards for cataloging archive, library, historic object, art object, natural history, archaeology, and photograph collections. It encompasses every aspect of collection and membership management. Automate accessions, cataloging, loans in, loans out, exhibits, condition reporting, and repatriation. Use Research and Reports for full access to your data.


PastPerfect now has over 6200 clients.”



Purchasing Cost

  • $870 for PastPerfect Basic Program Version 4.0 (full price) 
  • Prices for add-on features such as Digital Imaging/Multi-Media, Network Upgrades, Barcode Printing, Virtual Exhibit, PastPerfect-Online, etc. are at our website http://www.museumsoftware.com/
  • AASLH institutional members receive a 20% discount

Maintenance Cost

There are no required annual fees with PastPerfect. Recommended Annual Support contracts range from $330-$720. AASLH institutional members receive a 20% discount.

Without an Annual Support contract, clients pay $85 per incident.

User Support

  • User’s Guide
  • FAQs, Video Tech Tips, field descriptions, and other free downloads available at website
  • Free email newsletter has tips on using PastPerfect
  • Technical and software operations support teams (help desk)



  • PastPerfect Software started offering online training for collections management. The introductory rate is $59/person.
  • Regional training sessions cover collections management, reports, Virtual Exhibit and contacts management. It is a three-day class series. The cost is $119 per person per day.
  • Onsite Training is available for a flat fee of $750 per day plus travel expenses. A 2-day minimum is required.

System Requirements

Minimum Hardware: Windows XP, Vista, Server 2003 operating systems, 1 GHz processor, 512 MB RAM for XP, 2 GB RAM for Vista, 1024x768 resolution color monitor, CD-ROM drive, laser or inkjet printer

Preferred Hardware: Intel Pentium 4, 2 GHz+ processor, 2 GB RAM for XP, 3 GB RAM for Vista, 19” color monitor, CD/DVD recordable drive, high speed internet access

Technical Architecture

PastPerfect Version 4.0 is based in Microsoft Visual FoxPro 8. It is a relational database.


With a Network Upgrade, users may install the program on multiple networked computers that share a single dataset.

Backup/ restore utility



Past Perfect Version 4.0 was released in October 2004

Hosting Available?

PastPerfect is not web based. The PastPerfect-Online Upgrade enables PastPerfect users to select the PastPerfect catalog records, images and data fields you want to publish, and PastPerfect-Online will build a fully searchable, collections-based web site. Features include Google search indexing, visitor search statistics, visitor feedback forms and design customization tools.

Demo/ Sandbox Available?

Yes, available as a free download from our website.


Large client base.  Support for old versions of software.

Example Users

 6200 museum clients.  See http://www.museumsoftware.com/client_list.htm

Unique Features

PastPerfect encompasses both collections and contacts management. It is an affordable and comprehensive software package that is easy to install, maintain and use.

Support for Importing/ Exporting Metadata

Exports MARC

ezMARC Upgrade provides a customizable data map to import MARC records into PastPerfect catalogs.

Exports EAD

No. It is something being considered for a future version.

Exports Dublin Core

Yes, Dublin Core XML

Exports MODS

No. PastPerfect enables you to export PastPerfect fields to XML.

Exports METS


Exports MADS


Batch Exports EAD


Batch Exports MARC


Batch Export Tab Delimited Files


Imports EAD

Not directly

Imports MARC

ezMARC Upgrade (see above)

Imports Tab Delimited Files/ CSV


Imports Digital Image Files

The Multi-Media Upgrade enables users to attach digital images and link multi-media files to records.

Import Accession Data

PastPerfect users may import Accession, Objects, Archives, Photos, Library and Contacts data from Excel, ASCII, dBase and FoxPro.  Conversions team can help transfer data from other sources.

Batch Import EAD


Batch Import MARC


Batch Import CSV


Collection Management Features





Create Deeds of Gift


Prioritize Processing Order

Status field

Track Donors


Project Management

Yes. To-do list.

Record Condition


Manage Locations


Manage Restricted Materials


Manage Rights


Manage Loans & Exhibits




Reference support

With new version of PastPerfect online, can see web stats.

Generate Reports


Track Repository Statistics


Resource Description

Authority Control


Controlled vocabulary

Lexicon -- The Revised Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging (Chenhall’s Nomenclature)

Authority files

Compliance to Archival Standards

Yes: “Fields conform to international standard ISAD(G)”

Data Validation

Partial: for authority control, numeric fields, etc. 

Templating/ Default Fields

You can add records using “Fill with current data” or with default data.

Support for Digital Media

Can purchase Multi-Media/Digital Imaging Upgrade, “which has been enhanced to include not only digital imaging, but multi-media capabilities that allow you to attach and display audio, video, MS-Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PDF's, and URL web links to each catalog record.”


Dates formats may be set in General Information. UK clients can set PP for currency and other terminology changes.

Flexibility of Data Model

Partial: 22 custom fields in each catalog.  Can use different authority files for different catalogs. (Archives, Photos, Objects, Library)

Item-level Description


Support for hierarchical description

Yes -- multi-level linking in Archives

Dynamically generate EAD finding aids


Publish finding aids online

You can create a finding aid report that may be created in HTML (as with all reports). Reports may be “printed” to MS Word, PDF, and Plain Text as well as to a printer.

Administrative Functions

User Permissions


Support for Harvesting/ Syndication


Customization/ Configuration

A number of functions are customizable including all reports, browse screens, function keys. There are 22 custom fields per catalog.

Spell Check


Bug Reporting

Not built-in, but generally people email or call with problems.

Interoperability with Digital Repository Systems


User Interface

Web Publishing

With Virtual Exhibit, PastPerfect users may create keyword searchable HTML web pages that highlight collections through virtual exhibits. http://www.museumsoftware.com/virtual_exhibit.htm

Using PastPerfect-Online, PastPerfect users may create a searchable online catalog from PastPerfect records.


To see examples of PastPerfect-Online sites, please visit www.pastperfect-online.com.




Yes, PastPerfect enables you to search by indexed fields or any field in each catalog. Plus, you can search all four catalogs by keywords, common fields, people, search terms or the lexicon.

Yes: “Fully searchable container list for each record”

Advanced Search

Yes: search by any of the fields.


There are 22 user-defined fields in each catalog. Browse screens, function keys, all reports, etc. are customizable.

Built-in Help

Yes, there is a help button that explains each field

Link to Images & Other Files

Yes, with purchase of Digital Imaging Module

Easy Data Entry


Other Features

  • Provides customized screens for different types of materials (maps, photos, etc)
  • Provides support for fund-raising, contacts, and the generation of letters
  • Over 300 built-in reports and a Report Maker feature

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