Our county historical society began in 1905, and we’ve used about 6 different numbering systems, some with letter and number combinations with all sorts of variations in the use of spaces, slashes, and dashes. All of this was entered into Past Perfect by a volunteer. Finding anything was a mess. I’ve undertaken renumbering everything with the usuall YYYY.C.I (year, collection in the year, and artifact within collection). We use Past Perfect, and their suggestion of assigning a unique number to everything, including one number to each of a pair of shoes is very easy with their release of version 5, which allows duplication of entries. I also record both (yes, both) of the former numbers, consistantly under “old number” and “other number,” both of which are searchable. I’ve gone back to the original registers and paper work, and it has gone well. When it is completed, I will have a nice, usable system, that I will praise each time I use it. Well worth the effort.
For artifacts found in the collection, they are given the accession Number FIC.year found. and sequential number. When matched, the number will be retired. This way everything is found under one accession number and easily changed. Numbers missing from the FIC collection will be understood as an object re-united with its original number.
I’ve given up on leading zeros; too hard on the eye!