Nomenclature 3.0 – a jar of silver polish?

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    • #132059
      Renee Henry

      Can someone out there help me with choosing an object name for a jar of silver polish? In general, how do you name pre-packaged food stuffs and other containers? I could not find a “jar” that would fit, the contents of the container do not seem to show up in the lexicon. This would include something like a Welch’s jelly jar, a bottle of laundry detergent, a can of mosquito repellent, etc. I need some advice and appreciate all you have to offer! We do not have the Nomenclature book, but do have it in PastPerfect 5.

    • #132064
      Sharon McCullar

      Hello all,
      Although it is a temptation to add descriptive information to object names, my advice is to stick with the Object Names as they stand in the Nomenclature and by association in the Lexicon of PastPerfect. The Object Name and Nomenclature system is not intended to describe the object in detail. Rather it is intended to provide a way to call the object by a name recognizable to all in the profession within an accepted structure. Adding more specific terms: i.e. Jar, Jelly; Can, Repellent runs the risk of negating the power of finding all the containers in a collection quickly – regardless of their original or current contents. I rely on good description in the appropriate field for the specifics about the artifact (we use Pastperfect 4.0 with an anticipated upgrade soon). So, my two cents worth is to stick with the Object Name Jar, Can, Jug etc and describe the contents. You can always designate a Collection in that separate field if you have a lot of silver polishing items and want to find them quickly. I welcome other perspectives as I love discussing Nomenclature and object description standards 🙂

    • #132063
      Sally Baulch

      A jar is a jar no matter the contents. The contents can be part of the title and in the description. I mentally fought against this simple way of cataloging but in the end (and through generations of staff) keep-it-simple is always the best policy. Your search engine will find “silver polish” whether it is in the object name or title or description or markings or whatever–search engines rock.

      Think of it this way, a “print, photograph” doesn’t change by subject matter, but the title does.

    • #132062

      I agree with Sharon, use the simple Nomenclature name. However, at our museum we like to use the “Other Name” field in PastPerfect. So for a silver polish jar, we would put “Jar” for Object Name and “Silver Polish” for Other Name. We also rely on the description and search functions to find specific objects.

    • #132061
      Ron Kley

      It’s worth remembering that not all collection management software permits an across-the board search of all fields for a text string such as “silver polish.” Under those circumstances, if the object name is merely “jar” and the more specific indformation about its contents might be in any of several other fields (e.g, description or other name, or title, or associations), a search for silver polish could become quite tedious.
      Having used Nomenclature in its several iterations since the 1970s, I’d suggest that there may be no single “best” or “right” way to use it irrespective of a given institution’s size, staff, collection or mission. One should certainly understand the system’s structure and intended functions before deciding to “improve” upon it or depart from it, but a unquestioning lockstep approach to Nomenclature, or to any other general procedural standard, may not be in the best interest of all organizations under all circumstances.

    • #132060

      See page xxii of Nomenclature 3.0 for advice about cataloging product packages. The convention noted there is to use two separate object terms — in this case, “jar” and “package, product” — so that the object is classified both as Container and as Merchandising T&E. The contents would be noted in another field, such as a subject field. If you are using Library of Congress Subject Headings as your lexicon authority in such a field, then you’d enter “Metal polishes” there.

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