Cataloguing Museum Collections History, Trends, and Issues JHU Museum Studies Spring 2010
Week 2: Definitions Collection Cataloguing-the systematic process of recording information about an object including its physical characteristics, its history, and its care and management
Descriptive Cataloguing Answers the questions posed by the interrogative pronouns (5 Ws and H) A subset of this information is found on collections labels that accompany objects in gallery space.
What? Often referred to as Object Naming Titles Classification hierarchies Object names Descriptions
Who? Makers People or entities involved in the history of the object Subjects
Where? Geographic place names Geolocations Some overlap with When? cluster Culture Period Style
When? Records information about important events in the history of an object Creation date Historical dates
Why? Most often used to describe functional objects and objects of everyday life Can be linked to a nominclature
How? Method of creation (medium, technique) Materials may be drawn from a controlled vocabulary
Administrative Cataloguing Museums record a good deal of information to support the care and stewardship of the objects in its collection. Collecting history Object location and movement Appraisals and valuations Use of object information
Rights Cataloguing As technology has lowered the barriers for sharing information about museum collections, it has become more important to track information related to the intellectual property rights associated with an object Copyright of work Copyright of surrogates Museum license to use work, often non-exclusive Licenses with end users
Readings Buck, R. and Gilmore, J., eds. (1998). The New Museum Registration Methods (chapter on Docmentation, pp. 17-40). Washington, DC: American Association of Museums. [eReserves] Heritage Health Index (2005). A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America's Collections (pp. 79-83). Washington, DC: Heritage Preservation. [eReserves] Baca, M. (2008). Introduction to Metadata, version 3.0. Los Angeles, CA: Getty Research Institute,http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/standards/intrometadata/
Assignment Add three terms and their definitions to the course glossary. The glossary can be found in the Wiki section of Sakai. You will see that the glossary has been seeded with some terms that we will be using. You can either define one of these terms or add terms of your own. Definitions should be in your own words. Feel free to illustrate the definitions with examples. Sign your entries with your initials. You will be refining these terms over the course of the semester as your understanding of cataloguing evolves.
Discussion First half of the week: Consider and describe ways or areas in which cataloguing and/or structured information management are important in museums. Are there ways in which technology has made cataloguing less important or necessary? Second half of the week: Respond to something you found interesting in this week’s assigned readings.