Barcoding Project: Using Containers and Assessing the Database

09 January 2017

Part of what makes the Axiell Move app so useful for the museum collections here on campus is its integration with Containers Authority in the Mimsy database—that is, its ability to recognize different containers and use them to update the location for multiple objects at once.

Containers (for example, crates used for shipping or solander boxes) will be given their own ID number and corresponding barcode, and any objects scanned into the container with the Axiell Move app and barcode scanner will inherit their location. The container can then be moved to a new location and all the objects both physically and virtually within it will inherit these location changes within the database. This has time-saving implications for shipping, loans, and moving objects for an exhibition.

While this functionality has existed within the database for some time, it has not yet been implemented in any of the collections. By assigning numbers to our existing boxes, crates, and other containers as part of this location tracking project, we will be able to process large moves in the database quickly and efficiently. Work is already underway to create these container records in the Art database.

As previously mentioned on this blog, this is a pilot project that we hope to extend to other collections on campus upon its completion. To complement the data work that has been carried out so far, an assessment of all the collections currently in the Mimsy XG database was undertaken to determine the work that would need to be done before they were ready for the Axiell Move app. We reviewed and compiled information on:

  • Record linking—were objects with multiple parts/records correctly designated as such and linked to each other?
  • Location records—were they correct and up to date?
  • Accession numbers—would any pose challenges when being encoded in a barcode (e.g. length, special characters)?
  • Containers Authority—was it set up for the specific collection?
  • What kinds of moves were currently being tracked within the database (e.g. loans)

This review is crucial for the long-term success of our barcoding as it will allow us to present a setup and implementation plan to future adopters of this system, and take out any of the guesswork for collections staff.