Archives and catalogues

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Introduction

In this session you are introduced to the basic principles of cataloguing and archiving material and taken on a tour of the University Archive.


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Learning outcomes

By the end of this session you will be able to:

  • Explain the difference between collections and archives
  • Explain the difference between a catalogue and an index
  • Explain the importance of consistency in naming and numbering
  • Mark up and reference the material in your archive resource pack appropriately.



Archive or collection?

It is important to look at the context/content/provenance to determine whether it is an archive or a catalogue.



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[Juliet Vine's notes]

What is the difference?

A collection is a group of items that are put together, but have no external context. (E.g. a collection of shoes is simply a collection when they have no other items with them) An archive is a group of items that are put with other items that put it into a wider context. If there are other things that go with this collection of items, these items then have a context and become part of an archive. (E.g. If the collection of shoes are put with other items).


Naming and Numbering

The collection name needs to be kept fairly simple but needs to be meaningful. It is important that it bears relation to the collection. Keep a standardized and controlled vocabulary for naming and describing (so you can use the same terms throughout). There are various ways of writing names so do check with authorities so you can incorporate the correct and appropriate way of naming places/people/items.

The numbering system also needs to be kept fairly simple so it is easy to understand, and each item needs to have a unique identifier. Whether it is a collection or an archive effects the way you catalogue the information. A collection you simply number. With an archive you have sets of items, which requires you to an archival numbering system. There are several numbering systems that you can use: · Sequential numbering (0001)/ Faceted numbering (01/01)/ Alphanumeric numbering (K1003105) When dealing with a large number of items it is important to remember leading zeros!


Image cataloguing

With an image catalogue you must record the image content as well as recording it’s original format (35mm film/colour slide/glass neg.), as well as its surrogate format (how you created it and what can be done with it).


The importance of consistency

You need to make a choice with how you are going to enter the information on your database and you need to stick with it the whole way through.

Session resources

To see the presentation from this session follow this link File:Catalogics.ppt

Follow-up activity

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Working with your selection of material from the archive, decide how you are going to catalogue it, then apply your cataloguing system to all of your objects.




Follow this link to the PRDA Contents page to return to the module contents.

Back to the MA: Photographic History Main Page to return to the Course contents.