July 27, 2006
Let the cataloguing commence!
Here at the Computer Museum we are finally starting the massive task of cataloguing the objects in our existing collection. This does not only entail the actual listing of objects in the museums posession but actually developing and implementing all the procedures, documents, and guidelines related to the proper cataloguing of collection objects.
This effort is expected to take several months to "catch-up" on all the donations that have been made to the museum over the past few years. Newly acquired items are processed as they come in so as not to fall further behind. As objects are catalogued they will be noted in the Additions sub-category of the blog.
Since before its official inception members of the museum have been accepting donations of various computer equipment. Most of the time the donated objects have found a place in the members office, on shelves, in cabinets, or whereever some space could be found or made. Up until recently the museum had no official storage space so volunteers did the best they could with what space they personally had. Because of this, the museum has its collection spread out across campus has had to rely on the volunteers to maintain and track the donation information for each object they posessed. Needless to say this system is not sustainable and is unreliable at best.
Several months ago the Department of Compter Science allocated some of its storage space to the Computer Museum. Although this single storage room is small it is a beginning and allows the museum to begin the process of bringing its collection together. Also in recognizing the need to catalogue all of the collection the musuem worked with the Departement of Computer Science to design a database to hold the collection information. The database project is on going and is providing many questions that need to be answered with respect to what information needs to be collected.
To help start the cataloguing process and assist the database project museum volunteers Shane Doucette and Merlin Hansen took on the task to start cataloguing objects currently held by the museum. This process has also shown us how far we have yet to go in our collection management. Currently donations are be catalogued (where appropriate) as collections of object rather than dealing with each object individually. This is simply to help ensure that all donations are correctly identified and processed in a timely fashion. As the process continues each donation will be re-examined to catalogue each individual object.
As mentioned the cataloguing endeavour is definitely a learning process. Take for instance your typical computer system donation. What is considered an individual object as opposed to a grouped object made up of a sum of parts? Is copy of WordPerfect 5 for DOS with several disks, manuals, and case considered one object and marked as such, or is each individual item assigned an accession number? How does one attach an accession number to a book, a diskette, a leaflet, or a sheet of stickers? These are some of the questions that have come out of the cataloguing process that the museum is going through.
As donations are catalogued a blog entry will be entered so as to show off the latest and greatest acquisition received from our generous donors. Thes entries will be in the Additions sub-category of the Collection category. Also, the objects will be listed in the Collection section of our main web page.
Posted by mwh803 at July 27, 2006 02:44 PM