I noticed some trends as I conducted data cleaning for the Database Renewal Project. I expected to see some "dirty data", ie records that weren't entered in the proper format or correct field. What I did not expect to see were so many inconsistencies in the location fields. Buildings, rooms, and shelves/units are being named very inconsistently in museum databases. This makes it impossible to print out an accurate inventory list for that building, room, or unit. Remember my previous post about dissociation? Yup, that fits here.
|Ironhill Museum floor plan|
Building: use the formal name of each building, such as James House Museum. Do not shorten this to Museum or James House, or JHM.
Room: each room should be numbered or named on your floor plan so that new volunteers, summer students, and board members can easily understand and locate artifacts and archival holdings. Some museums like to label their rooms on the door or wall to make things even simpler.
Unit: each room should be sub-divided into sections (the database uses the term unit). In storage this may mean numbering or naming cabinets and drawers, ie Cabinet 2, Drawer 6. In the galleries you should be numbering or naming the display cases. If you have objects hanging on the wall, consider numbering the walls or using directional designations, ie. North Wall.