101 Introduction to Museum Documentation Part 1

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CIDOC Training Program "Summer School"
Museum of Texas Tech University, 2012
Presented by Nick Crofts

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  • {"27":"Roberts recommends that information be structured as data in separate fields. \nWhat are the advantages of doing this?\n1. Ease of retrieval (automatic indexing and queries)\n2. Ease of quality control (data validation) \n3. Ease of filtering (confidential/public information)\nAsk if the data entry screen is easy to understand. What is it about?\nIf possible, bring legible screen shots from other database applications, hand-written inventory form. \nExample of a computer data entry screen (reproduced from Holm, 2002, in Running a Museum, p 43).\nCompare readability with textual summary provided in a public catalogue.\nAsk what would be required to transform the structured data into readable text.\n","16":"What does this imply about the scope of museum documentation?\nThe documentation of collections primarily for collections management, as such it is confidential and needs to be kept securely. It is factual (data). No mention is made of research documents and documentation intended for the public.\n","5":"Note that a different bullet type (>) has been used to distinguish the points that is part of this deck from the general point that you can use for your own deck\nThe title should be 44pt Arial (Headings)\nThe bullet text should be at least 30pt Arial (Body)\nThe sub-bullet text should be at least 24pt Arial (Body)\nList the course prerequisites, that is the things you expect attendees to know before the course\nIf there are none either state that there are none or skip the slide\n","22":"This slide is a resume of the points discussed in the previous slide.\nExercise\nDivide the class into 3 groups. Ask each group to formulate a definition of “Documentation” for inclusion in the next version of Key Concepts in museology. \nAsk the students to attempt to cover all aspects of museum documentation in the definition.\nAsk a representative from each group to present their definition \nSelect the best definition and include it in the power point presentation, or on a flip chart or similar for reference. \n","11":"The purpose of this slide is to explain to the participants exactly what the material will be covered and what the overall learning objectives are. \nIn this instance, the objective is to ensure that participants understand that they will be learning: \n1. about the scope of Museum documentation. The three bullet points are intended to invoke all the basic museum missions. (many students may not spontaneously associate museum documentation with all aspects of museum mission. Often 'documentation' is assumed to mean “inventory”)\n2. That documentation really is indispensable and that there are legal and ethical issues at stake. Students (in common with some museum professionals) may see documentation as an option, not an obligation.\n3. The purpose of formulating a documentation plan is to introduce students to the idea that documentation raises some complex issues - reflection and critical judgement are needed. There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Students can draft a plan as a written assignment. \n","28":"Both these texts are derived from French originals. Translation appears to be semi-automatic.\nAsk the class to point out the mistakes. If many of the students are non English speakers, do not ask but simply point out the mistakes yourself.\nThomas Laurence died in 1830 – so the dates are also incorrect. This mistake was most likely introduced by a human translator.\nAsk the class what possible solutions might exist:\n1. Multi-lingual data entry?\n2. Multi-lingual thesaurus for translation?\n3. Massive investment in translation?\nRemind students that module 321 Publishing collections data on the web touches on translation issues.\n","17":"This is a short class exercise. \nExplain what the Key Concepts document is, pointing out that the document is intended as a “reference tool in museology.” and that it was published in 2010.\nThere is no definition of “documentation” in Key Concepts of Museology. \nAsk students what this absence indicates about the importance of documentation in museum work... either that the notion is considered unimportant or that its meaning is assumed to be so obvious that it requires no clefinition. The question can be left open.\nThe notion of documentation is referred to in the document. The quotations indicate that it is considered important. However, the meaning is obscure. Ask the class if the meaning of documentation is obvious.\nExplain that you will need to develop a definition.\n","6":"The purpose of this slide is to explain to the participants exactly what the material will be covered and what the overall learning objectives are. \nIn this instance, the objective is to ensure that participants understand that they will be learning: \n1. about the scope of Museum documentation. The three bullet points are intended to invoke all the basic museum missions. (many students may not spontaneously associate museum documentation with all aspects of museum mission. Often 'documentation' is assumed to mean “inventory”)\n2. That documentation really is indispensable and that there are legal and ethical issues at stake. Students (in common with some museum professionals) may see documentation as an option, not an obligation.\n3. The purpose of formulating a documentation plan is to introduce students to the idea that documentation raises some complex issues - reflection and critical judgement are needed. There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Students can draft a plan as a written assignment. \n","23":"The purpose of this slide is to explain to the participants exactly what the material will be covered and what the overall learning objectives are. \nIn this instance, the objective is to ensure that participants understand that they will be learning: \n1. about the scope of Museum documentation. The three bullet points are intended to invoke all the basic museum missions. (many students may not spontaneously associate museum documentation with all aspects of museum mission. Often 'documentation' is assumed to mean “inventory”)\n2. That documentation really is indispensable and that there are legal and ethical issues at stake. Students (in common with some museum professionals) may see documentation as an option, not an obligation.\n3. The purpose of formulating a documentation plan is to introduce students to the idea that documentation raises some complex issues - reflection and critical judgement are needed. There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Students can draft a plan as a written assignment. \n","12":"This purpose here is to underline that documentation is not an option. Museums just have to do it. If they don't, they are failing in their ethical, legal and professional duty.\nAsk students what the status of the documentation department is in their institution/experience.\n","1":"Always give a name or title to the deck.\nDo not place company or sponsor logos on the front page. They go on the closing “Thank You” slide.\nThe lower block should contain 3 lines:\nThe presenter’s name\nThe presenter’s affiliation\nPlace (city and country), month and year of presentation\nThe title should be 44pt Arial (Headings)\nThe lower block text should be at least 30pt Arial (Body)\n NB The notes in this presentation are best viewed in Notes Page View\n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n","29":"Ask students if they are concerned about digital conservation. \nAsk what medium of conservation if any is permanent.\nPoint out that many texts have survived from the ancient world although the originals are lost. Likewise Shakespeare.\nNote also that copying digital sources can be achieved without loss, whereas copying analogue sources always involves some loss of quality.\nConclude that digital conservation is something to be aware of but no reason to panic.\nRemind students that a complete module 325 is devoted to Digital Preservation\n","7":"The purpose of this slide is to explain to the participants exactly what the material will be covered and what the overall learning objectives are. \nIn this instance, the objective is to ensure that participants understand that they will be learning: \n1. about the scope of Museum documentation. The three bullet points are intended to invoke all the basic museum missions. (many students may not spontaneously associate museum documentation with all aspects of museum mission. Often 'documentation' is assumed to mean “inventory”)\n2. That documentation really is indispensable and that there are legal and ethical issues at stake. Students (in common with some museum professionals) may see documentation as an option, not an obligation.\n3. The purpose of formulating a documentation plan is to introduce students to the idea that documentation raises some complex issues - reflection and critical judgement are needed. There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Students can draft a plan as a written assignment. \n","24":"This slide gives and overview of the points that will be discusses in more detail in the following slides. Do not attempt to explain each point in detail.\n","13":"A dozen practical benefits.\nBriefly explain each point and make sure that students understand why they are important.\nAsk students to rank/note each point in terms of potential disadvantage: 1. inconvenience (wasted time), 2. lost opportunity (not able to do something), 3. loss of objects.\n","2":"The revision history of the course should be summarised in the slide\nFurther details maybe given in the notes page using a tabbed format\nPresenters may hide or skip over this slide but it can be useful for the audience to understand the development history or if it has been revised since they last saw it\n \n RevisionDateAuthorComments\n1.0Jul09SdSInitial consultation version developed for CIDOC 2009 in Santiago\n1.1Jul09SdSEnhanced notes, headers on notes page, tinted background\nThe title should be 44pt Arial (Headings)\nThe text should be 24pt Arial (Headings)\n \n","30":"The purpose of this slide is to explain to the participants exactly what the material will be covered and what the overall learning objectives are. \nIn this instance, the objective is to ensure that participants understand that they will be learning: \n1. about the scope of Museum documentation. The three bullet points are intended to invoke all the basic museum missions. (many students may not spontaneously associate museum documentation with all aspects of museum mission. Often 'documentation' is assumed to mean “inventory”)\n2. That documentation really is indispensable and that there are legal and ethical issues at stake. Students (in common with some museum professionals) may see documentation as an option, not an obligation.\n3. The purpose of formulating a documentation plan is to introduce students to the idea that documentation raises some complex issues - reflection and critical judgement are needed. There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Students can draft a plan as a written assignment. \n","8":"This purpose of this slide is to introduce some background information about CIDOC, to emphasise it's general authority concerning museum documentation and to reassure participants that they are in good hands for the training programme.\n","25":"The quotes emphasize 1. The need to provide information to the public (part of the museum's mission). 2. That the public may actually own the collections. They have a right to information and the museum is accountable to them. 3. Some information is sensitive and needs to be kept secure.\nDiscuss why it might be difficult to make a neat separation between confidential and public information e.g. because the information is contained in unstructured or semi-structured documents and cannot be isolated.\nIf time allows, ask if there are other constraints on publication and communication. Copyright and intellectual property rights may prevent diffusion of some information. Risk assessment needs to be carried out. Ask if photography is permitted in each person's institution... what restrictions are there if any. Why are these restrictions imposed?\n","14":"The purpose of this slide is to explain to the participants exactly what the material will be covered and what the overall learning objectives are. \nIn this instance, the objective is to ensure that participants understand that they will be learning: \n1. about the scope of Museum documentation. The three bullet points are intended to invoke all the basic museum missions. (many students may not spontaneously associate museum documentation with all aspects of museum mission. Often 'documentation' is assumed to mean “inventory”)\n2. That documentation really is indispensable and that there are legal and ethical issues at stake. Students (in common with some museum professionals) may see documentation as an option, not an obligation.\n3. The purpose of formulating a documentation plan is to introduce students to the idea that documentation raises some complex issues - reflection and critical judgement are needed. There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Students can draft a plan as a written assignment. \n","3":"The title should be 44pt Arial (Headings)\nThe text should be at least 30pt Arial (Body)\nOther possible topics include Lab access, translation services, copying etc\nSimple icons or clipart help people to remember the information you are giving them \nThis is the first content slide because it contains essential safety information (Exits!)\n","31":"Refer students to the Collections trust Documentation planning pack.\nExplains the basic idea, purposes and the goals.\nPoint out that the Collections Trust document is UK specific and may need to be adapted to meet local requirements.\nSuggest drafting a document plan as a possible tutor evaluated written assignment. \n","20":"The purpose of referring to the ICOM definition is to lend authority to the interpretation of the basic role of museums that it contains.\nHighlight the 5 museum activities that are contained in this definition. These will be organised in three groups based on collecting, research and diffusion and used to characterise the typical museum mission. \nIf time allows, mention that this definition has evolved over time. The previous version (1976) did not mention intangible heritage and placed emphasis on the notion of 'material evidence'. Point students to the discussion in Key Concepts of Museology. (This is intended help foster a critical attitude.) \n","9":"As with the previous slide, this one is designed to provide some basic background information about MTTU and reassure the participants about the academic quality of the CIDOC Summer School programme.\n","26":"Explain the notion of horizontal inventory (say at least something about everything) vs vertical documentation (say everything about a few things.)\nThe calculation is not from Roberts. Stress that this is just an example.\nAsk participants the size of their institution's collections and to calculate the time needed (in person years) to document them.\nWhat advantages are there to the horizontal approach?\n1. Coimprehensive documentation is needed for collections management and accountability.\n2. Provides global view of collections. (statistics, estimate costs, etc.) \nDisadvantages?\n1. May still takes a very long time to complete\n2. Not very useful for research and communication.\nConclusion: mixed approach?\n","15":"Is documentation synonymous with inventory?\nThe French text reads “identify, study, and make known any work which, because of its artistic, historical or archaeological character, forms part of the national heritage, in a context of pure scientific research, excluding all concerns of an administrative or fiscal nature”\nTwo cultural traditions exist... EN inventory is needed for collections management. It forms part of the documentation system. FR inventory is a programme of scientific research, completely divorced from management.\nClearly, some divergence exists. An examination of the scope of documentation is needed. \n","4":"Note that a different bullet type (>) has been used to distinguish the point that is part of this deck from the general point that you can use for your own deck\nThe title should be 44pt Arial (Headings)\nThe bullet text should be at least 30pt Arial (Body)\nThe sub-bullet text should be at least 24pt Arial (Body)\nThis slide should identify the types of people that the course is aimed at\n","21":"This animated slide introduces the three-point grouping of the museum mission and then adds the different types of documentation. The purpose is 1. To underline that museum documentation concerns all aspects of museum activities. 2. That the type of documentation varies from one area of activity to another\nExercise: \n- Bring examples of the following: Inventory register, exhibition catalogue, website printout, exhibition flyer, academic article, mission statement, statutes, annual report, pedagogical material, etc. \nAsk students whether these documents are all forms of museum documentation. Ask them to classify them in the red, green and blue areas, or as out of scope. \n- Discuss the sorts of problems that may arise if collections management documentation is made available to the public. Point out that collections management data will contain confidential information. (e.g. location and value)\n- Discuss the problems of presenting research documents to the general public. \n- Ask if the audience is the same for each type of documentation. \nThe conclusion to this is that documentation used in museum should not simply be an homogeneous resource. Documentation needed for collections management may not be suitable for research and for communication. \nHowever, there is a degree of overlap – implied by the Venn diagram\n"}
  • 101 Introduction to Museum Documentation Part 1

    1. 1. 101 Introduction to Museum documentation Nick Crofts Chair ICOM/CIDOC Lubbock, Texas, May 2012 CIDOC presentation © CIDOC 2009
    2. 2. Audience This course is intended for:People interested in Museum documentation People who will use or develop CIDOC training materials CIDOC presentation © CIDOC 2009
    3. 3. Course Prerequisites There are no formal prerequisites CIDOC presentation © CIDOC 2009
    4. 4. Agenda • Learn something about CIDOC, MTTU and the Summer School programme • Understand the ethical, legal and practical necessity for good documentation • Grasp the full scope of museum documentation • Examine some documentation issues in detail • Learn how a documentation plan can help address documentation issues CIDOC presentation © CIDOC 2009
    5. 5. Objectives • Learn something about CIDOC, MTTU and the Summer School programme • Understand the ethical, legal and practical necessity for good documentation • Grasp the full scope of museum documentation • Examine some documentation issues in detail • Learn how a documentation plan can help address documentation issues CIDOC presentation © CIDOC 2009
    6. 6. A word about CIDOC • Comité International pour la DOCumentation • Formed in 1950. One of ICOM's 31 International Committees • 550 members from 70 countries • A forum for exchange of ideas: • Annual meeting, newsletter, mailing list, website,working groups • Publishes recommendations, standards, guidelines • Organises the CIDOC Summer School training programme in partnership with MTTU CIDOC presentation © CIDOC 2009
    7. 7. Museum of Texas Tech. University • Founded in 1929 • CIDOC's academic partner • MA in Museum Science, 1974 • Specialisation in Heritage Management, 2003 • University teaching facilities and a working museum • Joint faculty and museum staff CIDOC presentation © CIDOC 2009
    8. 8. CIDOC Summer School • A comprehensive programme • Modular – basic and advanced topics • CIDOC certificate of competence • Supported by ICOM, UNESCO • Organised annually in English/French/Spanish • Economically attractive CIDOC presentation © CIDOC 2009
    9. 9. Agenda • Learn something about CIDOC, MTTU and the Summer School programme • Understand the ethical, legal and practical necessity for good documentation • Grasp the full scope of museum documentation • Examine some documentation issues in detail • Learn how a documentation plan can help address documentation issues CIDOC presentation © CIDOC 2009
    10. 10. The need for documentation “CIDOC believes that collections without adequate documentation cannot be considered to be true museum collections. This is because: • they cannot be adequately safeguarded and cared for • the museum cannot demonstrate legal accountability • their value for research and interpretation is greatly reduced” CIDOC Principles of Documentation, 2009 CIDOC presentation © CIDOC 2009
    11. 11. Practical benefits of good documentation 1. Evidence of ownership 2. Information about each object's history 3. Unique identification of each object 4. Ease of location 5. Access to descriptions which help with the recovery of stolen objects 6. Control over intellectual property rights issues 7. Access to research and publications relating to the collection 8. Supporting information about themes of relevance to the collection 9. Material for educational purposes and exhibitions 10.Guidance on procedures and decision-making 11.A full audit trail of work done on the collections 12.Information about alienated objects CIDOC presentation © CIDOC 2009
    12. 12. Agenda • Learn something about CIDOC, MTTU and the Summer School programme • Understand the ethical, legal and practical necessity for good documentation • Grasp the full scope of museum documentation • Examine some documentation issues in detail • Learn how a documentation plan can help address documentation issues CIDOC presentation © CIDOC 2009
    13. 13. Documentation and inventory "The Inventory of the collections is needed primarily for collections management. It forms an essential component of a museum’s documentation system." Spectrum, Collections Trust « recenser, étudier, faire connaître toute œuvre qui, du fait de son caractère artistique, historique ou archéologique, constitue un élément du patrimoine national, dans un contexte de recherche scientifique pure, excluant toute préoccupation d’ordre administratif ou fiscal» André Malraux, 1964 Mission de l'Inventaire Général des Monuments et des Richesses Artistiques de la France CIDOC presentation © CIDOC 2009
    14. 14. What is museum documentation? • Find the definition of “documentation” in Key Concepts of Museology • “Museum collections have always appeared relevant provided that they are defined in relation to the accompanying documentation...” p 28 • “The term museologist can be applied to researchers studying the specific relationship between man and reality, characterised as the documentation of the real by direct sensory perception.” p 68 • Propose a definition... CIDOC presentation © CIDOC 2009

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