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ICS Sydney - International Conservation Services

collection audits and cataloguing


Often, the first step we take when engaged by a collection owner is to undertake a collection audit (also known as a collection inventory or stocktake). There are several reasons for this:

  • Your collection may not have been inventoried for some time, meaning that the collection data may be out of date, invalid or corrupt.
  • Your collection may not have been inventoried at all, resulting in your organisation not knowing what your collection contains.
  • Your organisation intends to undertake a de-accessioning program, but before this can occur, needs to understand what is in your collection and what you are likely to keep or de-accession.
  • A collection inventory is seen as the first step in a strategic approach to a collection, for example, for corporate branding purposes.

Cataloguing a collection involves capturing important data about collection items, which will allow you to effectively track and manage your collection. The data captured may vary depending on your requirements, but can include:

  • Item name/description
  • Accession number
  • Measurements
  • Materials
  • Condition
  • Security risks
  • A photograph of the item

When we undertake a collection audit for a collection, the general procedure followed is for us to have an initial meeting with you, to discuss the aims of the cataloguing process, whether any previous audits have been undertaken and if any data exists, as well as any particular concerns you may have regarding it. Following these discussions and the provision of a quote, we would place a team on site, who will work through your collection cataloguing and photographing items. The data captured during this process will be quality checked before being handed over to you for uploading into a collection database. We can also assist with the data migration process and can advise on the most appropriate collection database for your organisation.