Reed, Patricia Ann, and Jane Sledge. "Thinking About Museum
Information" Library Trends, Vol. 37, No. 2, Fall 1988. p
This article was more of a description of how to set up a complex relational database than a description of museum information. The authors discuss the process of analyzing the needs of the Smithsonian Institution as they laid the groundwork for a new database that would be shared by several distinct sections of the museum that had formally all had separate computer systems. The focus of the article is on creating data dictionaries and defining database entities. The description of this process is not much different from the questions and problems that any large organization encounters when creating a single database to account for all of its information needs.
The authors did point out the task of creating a database for the
Smithsonian was a combination of cataloging problems and administrative
problems. The system that is described keeps track of staff and
inventory in the way that a database would for any large corporation, but
also has to account for finely detailed information about museum objects,
just as catalogers need to describe books. They mention that, unlike
library cataloging, the museum had no standard of cataloging its objects:
"Imagine cataloging without AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloging
Rules, 2nd ed.), Library of Congress Name Authority, and Library of
Congress Subject Headings. Welcome to the world of musuem cataloging."
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