Cataloguing in Gippsland

Musings of a Cataloguer at Large in Gippsland. Just personal thoughts - absolutely no bearing on the thoughts of any organisation with which I am working.

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Location: Victoria, Australia

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Training at Sale

Don't forget there is training coming up at Sale for Victorian Collections on the 12th and 13th July. It is a good and simple way to put items from your collection on the net, especially when you already have them catalogued and can just cut and paste them into the program.

These items I posted from Maffra's collection did not take long at all to load.

There is a link off this page to book. Bookings are essential, and need to be early to ensure the training goes ahead.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Which Way to Go?

This is going to be a long post, so maybe you need to make a cuppa and settle in. 
(Any excuse for a photo - miniature souvenir teapot, Maffra Sugarbeet Museum)

I have previously pointed to Vicky's post about online databases, but feel the time has come to post in more detail about Victorian Collections. I have been cataloguing using InMagic since 1992, and use it with the two collections that I currently administer. With it I administer a total of over 7,200 items - one collection I worked with for five years had over 8,000 items. So I have given DB textworks/InMagic a fair workout. And I am totally committed to it. Before it closed to new collections, I loaded the large collection, with photos, to CAN (Collections Australia Network).

When Victorian Collections arrived in 2010, I welcomed it, as somewhere that I would be able to load these catalogues, while still working with InMagic to administer them. That has not yet happened, and it is difficult to see how it can happen, as the VC structure is so different to earlier version of the Victorian Cataloguing Manual - which is also part of the problem. I am firmly rooted in the 2nd Edition, while VC are based on the 4th edn. (There is a lot wrong in the 4th edn, and VC has inherited that problem)  I have just added a few fields to suit as I went along, such as Significance. I still hope uploads will happen, but am less hopeful. Even then, I have been told that any uploads will be "one-off", with the implication that I will then manage my collection on Victorian Collections. That is not going to happen, as InMagic is so vastly superior to manage a collection that I would be mad to abandon it. Hopefully, I will write a post soon on why it is so much better.

So, where does that leave me with Victorian Collections? I have joined one collection, am waiting for the other to be approved, and am happily learning it by myself, as the training course here was cancelled due to a lack of numbers. Hopefully the one in July will get off the ground. As I am fully committed to being part of Victorian Collections by individually entering a number of significant items. Such as the teapot above.

All-in-all it is a rather sad situation. If there had been better consultation for the 4th edition of the Catalogue Manual (I don't think there was any, which is quite easy in these days of electronic communication) some of the problems would not have happened. There are still a lot of problems with Victorian Collections (such as searches of keywords/tags are case sensitive!) that need ironing out. Another horror is that the maker (photographer, artist, author, as well as more traditional manufacturers) is not even a public field. The whole thing needs a rigourous advisory committee of experienced cataloguers from community museums, and I don't see any evidence of that. The whole project has one very much travelled and hard-working manager who is excellent to deal with, supported with some time from Museum Victoria IT staff, but not a lot of consultation seems to have taken place.

It is time for that to happen.

PS if you have got this far, and feel a need to talk to other Victorian cataloguers, there is now a Yahoo group called Computers and Cataloguing to take over from the one at MC2 when that closes in a short time. Some discussion on the future of cataloguing would be good.

PS2 - Needless to say, any opinions expressed here are totally my own, and are not those of any collection with which I work.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Online Databases

Vicky Court provides some guidance and thoughts for those contemplating using an online database.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

InMagic Users on Puffing Billy

Today the InMagic Museum Users Group met on Puffing Billy. It was wonderful to welcome Joan Hunt from Ballarat back after her sojourn overseas. 

It would be easy to get used to meetings like the InMagic Museum users Group, held today. A number of friends who get to regularly meet at these gatherings twice a year boarded the lunch time train at Puffing Billy. We were treated to a commentary especially for our carriage, based on the history of Puffing Billy, and got to see their archives from a distance (but great to have Geoff and his team with us for extended discussion during the day).

We held a short meeting during the turnaround at Emerald Lake, where main discussion focussed on concerns about Victorian Collections, and the general direction of cataloguing in Victoria, and future avenues for communication now mc2 will close on 30 June. Pam Millist, replacement at Maxus for Barbara Kowalski, was introduced. We are relieved to know Barbara will continue to attend meetings, as she is an InMagic user in her new life.

Then the sandwiches of the outward-bound journey were replaced with scones (and jam, and cream), so large most of us only ate one of the two supplied. Have I focussed more on the food and hospitality than the business? Possibly. But much networking happened behind the scenes, which is why these meetings are so good - we don't get a lot of opportunity to get together with those doing the same work as us.

Thanks much to Puffing Billy - if you get a chance to try the Steam Cuisine Luncheon Train. I'm definitely off back there for the full experience.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Indigenous Material in Collections

I have been asked to provide some links for collections that are considering how to deal with Indigenous material that they may have in their collections.

Registered Aboriginal Parties At the local level, Registered Aboriginal Parties are the voice of the local Aboriginal people in the management and protection of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage. They are the first point of contact for local discussion. They are able to provide advice about the nature of material held in your collection.

There is material HERE and HERE on the Museums Australia (Victoria) site

There is material on compulsory registration of items HERE, with links to further important material at the bottom of that page. These short videos were produced in Central Victoria to assist community museums.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

GCN meeeting at Foster

Next meeting of the Gippsland Cataloguing Network is to be held at 9.30am for 10am at the Foster Museum, on Tuesday 26 June. All cataloguers welcome, not matter what software you are using. or even if you are not using any software yet at all!

Foster is an accredited museum, and we are very much looking forward to seeing how they manage their collection.

Please RSVP to so we can have enough cups and seats.

What Software is in Use?

I was recently asked to provide a case study to show what software was in use for cataloguing in Gippsland. I thought the results interesting enough to post here.


Major Institutions
Centre for Gippsland Studies (Monash University)
Gippsland Regional Art Gallery, Sale
Latrobe Regional Gallery, Morwell
Gippsland Maritime Museum, Port Albert
Old Gippstown, Moe
Coal Creek Historical Village, Korumburra

Historical Societies and similar collections
 21 have InMagic (several are not currently using it), and 1 has access via a neighbour.

Mosaic - 1 Historical Society

Access - 1 Museum

Victorian Collections (20 or more items) - 2 Historical Societies, 1 Museum, 1 Historical Group

Victorian Collections (less than 20 items) - 3 Historical Societies, 2 Museums, 5 RSLs. Although three of this group also have InMagic.