Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Collection Management VII: What else belongs in your records?

Some information belongs in your collection records, but not on the card accompanying the specimen. In the pre-software era, collections also had log books and catalog cards. The log book (register or catalog) usually told you, for any catalog number, the item species, location, source, and date acquired. The catalog card for each specimen contained the same information as the specimen label, with some additions:
  • Dimensions of the specimen (English, metric, or both) and of its largest crystal(s);
  • Source information: from whom, his/her address, date, price [or trade or field collection information]. If the specimen's history could be traced further back, often this was provided in the source information (or in the detailed description)
  • Detailed description of the specimen: color, minerals present, why notable. etc.
  • History of the specimen in your possession (e.g., exhibition dates)
  • Photographs or other images, or links thereto.
  • Any relevant references, to the specimen itself, the locality, the mineral species, etc.
In the computer era, various collection management software is commercially available to hold this information. Simple searchable versions can be made using Excel, or comparable spreadsheet software.

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