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, September 11, 2013

Some Definitions

I am working on some basic definitions, as I think a few people around me are getting confused. Have you got any that should be added to the list? I'm no expert, so rewording for these is most welcome!

Database: A structured set of data held in a computer, especially one that is accessible in various ways.

In historical societies we can have a number of databases - of names with supporting information, of information about buildings, dates, addresses, or of objects/items.

Catalogue: A specialist database of objects/items, and information about them. Each item/object has its own information set, and usually a unique number.

It does not include other random information, such as information aggregated about people, events etc, which should be kept in other databases.

InMagic (also known as DB textworks): A specialist database software. In Australia it is purchased from Maxus. Maxus also sell an add-on which is a collection management module with structure, forms and lists compatible with the Small Museums Collection Manual (now in 4th edn) Some of these items, such as the 1996 Classification and Authority Lists can also be downloaded from HERE.

Structure: In this context, this is the fields in your catalogue, such as Object, Location, Description, Size, Condition etc. These are drawn from the Small Museums Collection Manual, but you may adapt them to your own needs.

Included in the structure are commands as to how searches are carried out (what fields etc), and how the software reads your information, how reports appear etc.

If you are using a paper cataloguing sheet, it needs to match or closely follow the headings in your structure.

Small Museums Collection Manual can be downloaded from HERE.

Best Advice I can Give: Talk to a few experienced InMagic cataloguers near you, if you are going to use it, before you purchase, and before you decide on the structure you will be using.


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