Accession # vs. Catalog #

Viewing 5 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #133163

      Is there a difference between Accession #s and Catalog #s. We’re currently documenting the processes, while also taking a comprehensive inventory (our first ever!) of our natural history collection and I’m not sure how to describe our system of unique identifiers. Can anyone point me to a good source that clearly explains the difference?

    • #133168
      Becca DuBey
      Member

      The Accession number identifies the donation of a group of objects from the same person at the same time; the catalog or object ID number is the number assigned to each object within that collection. The catalog number is usually in three parts, separated by a period. Example: 1986.4.3 ; the first group of numbers are the year it was donated,the second identifies the fourth group of 1986, and the last number identifies the object within that donation. The first two number groups typically make up the Accession number (4th donation of 1986). No matter what you numbering system, the Accession number points to the group; the three identify the object.

    • #133167
      Becca DuBey
      Member

      The Accession number identifies the donation of a group of objects from the same person at the same time; the catalog or object ID number is the number assigned to each object within that collection. The catalog number is usually in three parts, separated by a period. Example: 1986.4.3 ; the first group of numbers are the year it was donated,the second identifies the fourth group of 1986, and the last number identifies the object within that donation. The first two number groups typically make up the Accession number (4th donation of 1986). No matter what you numbering system, the Accession number points to the group; the three identify the object.

    • #133166
      Wendi Murray
      Participant

      Hi Mike,
      This can get complicated, as different museums employ different numbering systems as appropriate for their particular collections (or the same museum changes its numbering system over time). I think Becca answered it very succinctly – we also use this trinomial system at the SHSND, although it has changed over time (the first number has gone from simple sequential numbering to 2-digit years to 4-digit years). In any case, the catalog number should be an extension of the accession number. I would recommend Museum Registration Methods put out by the AAM Press for more detail on numbering systems, collections management, etc.

    • #133165

      Natural history museums often use different kinds of catalog numbers from other museums. You might take a look at this brief intro. from the American Museum of Natural History http://collections.paleo.amnh.org/11/cataloging.

    • #133164

      In the United Kingdom the Museum Documentation Association has spent many years creating a standard scheme for documenting all stages in the life of a museum object. It is simple, logical and straightforward and has been adopted worldwide. It is called Spectrum and you can download all the guidelines and advice at
      http://www.collectionslink.org.uk/programmes/spectrum

Viewing 5 reply threads
  • The forum ‘C2C Community Archives – 2012 through 2014’ is closed to new topics and replies.