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Subject: Database software for conservation documentation

Database software for conservation documentation

From: Robert C. Morrison <u940341>
Date: Tuesday, February 28, 1995
Dale Peters <petersd [at] lib__und__ac__za> writes:

>What software are other people using to record treatment procedures in a
>retrievable manner, and what experience have others had of the MARC
>field for conservation, in relating bibliographic and conservation

No matter what software application anyone uses for recording and
storing conservation treatment records, make sure you save a copy in
ASCII text. This insures that any software of any type can read the
information. This is important for preserving the information. No matter
how the technology changes, ASCII text will be the format that any
program can read. Besides, ASCII text is searchable--every word of the
information is searchable.

Why not save the original record on an optical disk? You can do this by
scanning (digitizing the info) or by using a video camera and frame
grabber (analog capture). The index or database becomes part of the disk
and the info only applies to that disk. You can have a general index
listing the contents of all optical disks on the computer.

Putting an entire record on magnetic media creates problems. Storage on
a hard disk is expensive. Storage on floppies is an exercise in
frustration, and you have a lot of disks to store. Storage on magnetic
tape means you have the same difficulty of finding info as you do with
roll microfilm.

Another idea is to have only three fields in your database for each
record. One field can be keywords gathered from the text of the report,
the second can be a list of materials used in the treatment. The third
field can be for the report number. A simple flat-file database (such as
Q&A) will give you quick searches and retrieval of a list of records and
their report number.

Once you have the list of treatment reports from your search, you can
retrieve them from where you store the paper copies.

Robert C. Morrison
Conservator's Technical Resources
PO Box 4
Narrabundah   ACT   2604

                  Conservation DistList Instance 8:69
                Distributed: Tuesday, February 28, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-8-69-004
Received on Tuesday, 28 February, 1995

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