At this point in my internship I have settled into a flow that works quite efficiently for me. The system used to catalog all of the MCHC’s items, PastPerfect, is not the most modern software on the market; I was speaking to my supervisor, Hillary, and she said the History Center began using PastPerfect in 1998. This reality means that there is a bit of lag time when using more advanced features, such as adding an image from the scanner. The scanner itself also takes a minute or two on each item. In order to go through the boxes more quickly, I have to use these pauses to my advantage.
When I begin a new folder I first look at the contents to get a sense of what is inside. If the contents belong to only a few collections, this tells me I will have possibly some like objects. If a folder has a completely random assortment of items, I know that I will have to use more of my time navigating between different accessions.
When I have an idea of what the folder will be like, I organize all of the items according to the order they are listed on the folder’s outside. This allows me to check more thoroughly that no documents are missing, no extras are found, and everything can be accounted for properly.
Then I will put the first item on the scanner, and preview the image so I can crop it. After it is cropped it will take a minute to scan, so I begin looking at the accession number. I change the necessary information in the record, and when the scan is finished attach it to the record as well. This is where the system lags; while it lags, I utilize the time to begin my next scan. This means that by the time I can go to the next item’s record, I have already had the time to preview and crop the image. When items are smaller, I can add several at a time to the scanner and get further ahead. Having organized them in the order listed on the folder beforehand, I do not have any problems getting confused about working on one item’s record while scanning the next ones. This flow is allowing me to get through even more complicated boxes faster than I was at the beginning of the internship.