Leaving a Trail

I previously discussed the issues that can arise when so many people of so many different professional and academic backgrounds make decisions about an entire archival collection. I mentioned that these issues are not necessarily detrimental to the needs of MCHC, but at times it requires a bit more communication in order to make things more clear for those who handle the records in the future. For this reason, Hillary encourages us to leave notes explaining any issues we encountered and were unable to resolve.

For example, this week I came across a restaurant menu and upon looking up its number, found a description for a completely different object. It was not a particularly cohesive accession, so I was no able to determine which item was more likely assigned this number by the context of the other objects in the collection. MCHC acquisition documentation, which I discussed last time, seemed to match the description in PastPerfect but we were unable to locate the correct item (it was a dress, not a document, so this required my supervisor’s help). We looked through documentation where numbers might be flipped or mistaken for each other (like a 7 instead of a 1, etc.), but were unable to locate a correct accession number for the menu I needed to enter. Ultimately this was not a problem I could resolve, and I could not spend any more time on the issue.

I ended up leaving a note in the PastPerfect record explaining that two items have been given the same number with a brief description of the menu and the location. I marked the dress as missing so it is flagged for Hillary in the future. Without a note, a future intern or volunteer might come across the same problem and have to do all of the digging through acquisitions records and textiles that I already had to do, which is why communicating with future volunteers via notes is important.

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