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2013 Inventory

ARCHIVES AND PHOTOS INVENTORY


ELANA BARTON
OVERVIEW
Initially, a basic inventory check was started on the Archives and Photos boxes in the vault by matching
randomly pulled items from each box and matching it with its PastPerfect entry. While this proved
successful in matching the items, it became clear that there were many items missing, misplaced, or not
accessioned into PastPerfect, making a more thorough inventory necessary. I did this by using inventory
reports printed form PastPerfect to match each individual item to its PastPerfect entry using the Object
ID or catalog number. The Status of each item was updated in PastPerfect with OK, the date and my
initials to indicate that the item was found. I also updated the location of the item that was often left
empty. This will assist in locating items, as well as future inventories.
The museum collection was moved around to allow for organization and future storage, from items
being moved to different boxes to whole shelves being moved to another place. This called for several
updates in the location of these items in the database. Maintaining the organization currently in place
and its record in PastPerfect is essential to the success of the collections order.
ISSUES
In general, the data entry in PastPerfect required review and revision. The information was often
inconsistent and the previous inventories left incomplete data needed to perform a rudimentary
inventory. Items were often left with no location or only very basic locations. To remedy this, all items in
the database (unless marked as belonging to the or ) were marked with the
home location of and the room location, along with detailed information such as
the cabinet, shelf, and container. Quite a few items were found in the collections that were marked
Missing in the database, which were then updated by Status and Location. Many items were missing
from the PastPerfect database, or their location left blank, making finding them difficult. The items that
could not be found were updated by home location and given a Status of Missing. The use of the
Status feature in PastPerfect was utilized in this inventory. Very few items had a status date or initials,
which allow for an easy view of items inventoried from the Catalog page. The latest inventory date is
given on the Location tab of the database.
Several archives and photos were placed in the wrong type of storage box, though they were entered
into the correct catalog in PastPerfect. Photos were housed in Documents, Letters and Pamphlet (DLP)
boxes and Archive materials placed in the Photo boxes. To remedy this, I moved the misplaced items to
the correct collections box and updated the location in the database. Similarly, items were entered into
PastPerfect under the wrong catalog. For instance, a deed was entered as an Object when it belonged to
the Archive catalog and photographs were recorded in both the Archive and Object catalogs. This was
fixed by switching the items catalog in the database. Because of the prior issues, however, there were
many duplicates in the system with items entered in both Photograph and Archival catalogs, resulting in
confusing reports. This was fixed by deleting the incorrect entry while maintaining the detailed
descriptions of both.

NEXT STEPS
There were many unaccessioned items throughout the museums collections that were accessioned into
PastPerfect with location and basic description. All of these items should be further assessed and given
more detailed descriptions, especially those grouped together with a single accession number due to
size. Ideally, each item to come into the museums collection should be immediately entered into the
database to prevent further backup of unaccessioned items. It would also be beneficial for standards to
be established for ready reference in the PastPerfect system, such as the map of museum zones created
for this inventory or formalizing the Table of Authorities with the Collection names. With a set of criteria
defining each category of photographs, archives, library and objects, future employees or volunteers of
the museum will be less likely to incorrectly enter new accessions into the database. This organization of
collection materials will allow for easier location and research.
When professional assistance is available, the PastPerfect database allows for very detailed description
of materials. Information such as history, people involved and location of creation can be entered,
allowing for quick and easy research and information for exhibits. Also valuable is the Relationship
feature the system offers, enabling users to link items throughout the Catalogs. While basic organization
of the museums holdings is the first step to maintaining the collection, detailed utilization of
PastPerfect will enhance the collections usefulness and potential to the and museum guests alike.