Office of the Chief Information Officer

Building the Digital Smithsonian

The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) equips members of the Smithsonian community with the technology tools, services, and applications they need to carry out their responsibilities effectively. OCIO manages a state-of-the-art data center in Herndon, VA, supporting Smithsonian facilities and staff in Washington, New York, Cambridge, MA, the country Panama, and other locations around the world. Beyond ensuring robust day-to-day operations, OCIO professionals partner with subject matter experts throughout the Institution to deliver leading-edge technology solutions in areas of strategic importance.

OCIO has played a key role in the development and delivery of the “Digital Smithsonian,” making our vast collections, research, and educational resources accessible online to millions of people around the world. Over the past decade, OCIO has dedicated significant resources to the digitization of collections and research data and to making our digital assets accessible to the public via the web, social media, in-museum technologies, etc.

Our Priorities

  • Empower all Smithsonian staff members with the technology solutions they need to do their best work.
  • Deliver enterprise solutions that respond to the organization’s complex and ever-evolving requirements.
  • Safeguard the Smithsonian’s information resources and operations by implementing a robust IT security program.
  • Expand central and unit capability to create and manage digital content from collections.
  • Enable the full, coordinated sharing of Smithsonian cultural, scientific, and information resources with the public.
  • Create a technology environment that supports and strengthens the Institution’s scientific research enterprise.

Our Public Projects

Digitization of Smithsonian Collections

Smithsonian X 3D Website

Smithsonian X 3D

With only 1% of collections on display in Smithsonian museum galleries, digitization affords the opportunity to bring the remaining 99% of the collection into the virtual light. All of these digital assets become the infrastructure which will allow not just the Smithsonian, but the world at large to tell new stories about the familiar, as well as the unfamiliar, treasures in these collections.

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Digitization Program Office Website

Digitization Program Office

The Digitization Program Office was founded to “integrate digitization into the core functions of the Smithsonian,” as the inaugural digitization strategic plan eloquently states. With 138 million objects and specimens, 157 thousand cubic feet of archival materials, and 2 million library volumes, all of which are housed in 41 facilities, 19 museums and 9 research centers, the scale and diversity of Smithsonian collections presents a unique digitization challenge.The Digitization Program Office meets the challenge by establishing metrics which track digitization progress across the Smithsonian; by running pilot and production digitization prototype projects in our museums which enhance the understanding of how fast and cost-efficient digitization can be without compromising quality; by investigating cutting-edge technologies such as 3D digitization in their application to our collections and scientific research; and by investigating additional tools and techniques such as robotic and conveyor belt capture to further increase productivity.

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Sharing Smithsonian Treasures with the World

Collections Search Center Website

Collections Search Center

The Smithsonian Collections Search Center is an online catalog containing most of Smithsonian major collections from our museums, archives, libraries, and research units. There are 9.9 million catalog records relating to areas for Art & Design, History & Culture, and Science & Technology with over 1.6 million images, videos, audio files, podcasts, blog posts and electronic journals.

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Smithsonian Music website home page

Smithsonian Music

A dynamic new initiative, Smithsonian Music, is bringing together these rich resources from throughout the Institution’s museums and research centers to provide unique musical opportunities and increase access to the nation’s collections. 

The Office of the Chief Information Officer supports this program by serving on the Smithsonian Music Executive Committee to help encourage collaboration between music enthusiasts and scholars across the Institution by providing collaboration tools, developing and maintaining a website and providing resources to operate to generate content on a day-to-day basis. 

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ORIS Website

Office of Research Information Services

The Office of Research Information Services (ORIS) was created to improve the state of research support at the Smithsonian. In this very early phase of the development of research services, ORIS will concentrate on two vital areas. The first will be supporting researchers in their organizing, analyzing and sharing of research data. The other area of concentration will be to assemble a first-class research computing infrastructure.

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