The Virtual Museum of the Pacific was developed by the authors and launched by the Australian Museum in November 2009. A digital ecosystem implemented as Web 2.0 application, the VMP is an experimental platform with information and knowledge acquisition for the Australian Museum’s Pacific collection. Importantly, the VMP facilitates a number of social media interfaces that enable content to be added and tagged, the control vocabulary to be extended, user perspectives to be defined and narratives added via wiki. It is therefore extensible. This paper concentrates on technical issues involving several search methods: attribute search based on a control vocabulary, query refinement and query-by-example. In doing so, the paper illustrates the issues involved in abstracting a generic collection management framework that can be re-used for developing other semantic Web digital ecosystems for other collection content.