Catalog Data Entry Process

For more recent information on Catalog Data Entry screens, click here

(Scroll down to see the screens...)
For now (Jan. 2014) this page is for the Database Team to discuss the creation of a set of web pages that allow online data entry into the HCLE catalog. Eventually the contents of this page will shift to instructions for people doing data entry.

We have, essentially, two sets of data: a catalog of items in the museum and a list of people and institutions with all their associated contact information.

Here's a letter I recently sent to a potential consultant:
We have a catalog of items - books, papers, letters, videos, audios, software on all media, urls, program listings, course syllabi, etc. I expect to have at least 10,000 items and grow from there. We also need a constituency manager to keep track of members, donors, potential funders, authors, staff, volunteers -- all the people and institutions that are related to a museum or library or archive. This will probably start with about 3,000 entries and grow. I want to relate the people with the items catalog without having to double enter any of the data. for example, the volunteer who enters a piece of software into the catalog should have a record in the CRM and an identifying field (element) in the catalog. What are the best (easiest) open source tools to use for this.

So far I've explored MS Access, MySQL, Omeka and I want to look at CiviCRM. One of our volunteer consultants has suggested that we should think of the task as implementing CiviCRM and extending it to include the catalog. I prefer to have the catalog be a single, simple, flat table rather than a complicated relational structure. I'm collecting opinions on this from advisers who have experience in this rather than depending on my own limited knowledge. I'm a terrible programmer so I will either have to be dependent on volunteers or raise the money for paid consultants

When I, Liza, set up the original catalog in MS Access I created a series of screens to use while entering items into the catalog. Because we have so many fields (or elements or columns) for each item I divided the metadata into 5 screens accessible from tabs at the top of the page/screen. This system seemed to work pretty well so I am in favor of using it in our new MySQL data base. Below are pictures of the screens as they appear in MS Access:
Metadata to Identify Items

Some of the information in this screen is repeated on subsequent screens so that the person typing can figure out which item is being worked on.
Information on the condition and temporary location of the item

Now we know what it is, where it is and how to take care of it.

What the item contains or is about

From this information the reader should be able to figure out why this item is included in the HCLE collection.

Details describing the media that contains the item
Since we collect print, handwritten notes, printed and digital images, software of various media, film and audio recordings, and links to other web sites we need technical descriptions of the items in order to access their contents.

Library-style or bibliographic information on each item

We want HCLE patrons to be able to cite each item using standard bibliographic references and to be able to locate the physical item from which the HCLE images are made.

There should be one more screen that covers "provenance and disposition". This will give details about where the item came from before HCLE got it and where it went after HCLE digitized it.