Collective Access: A New Way to Inventory

What do we have?  Where is it?

Good question!

Nation’s Capital has a wonderful collection of Girl Scout records and memorabilia, but the last inventory was done in 2006 using Microsoft Access.

For a long time, we debated the relative merits of PastPerfect versus Museum Archives software. We considered price, customization possibilities, hardware requirements, and the learning curve.

Clipart by Ron Leishman: http://clipartof.com/443125.

Clipart by Ron Leishman: http://clipartof.com/443125.

Meanwhile, our main council office was renovated, and part of our collection moved to an off-site storage facility in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Realignment brought the West Virginia based Shawnee Council into Nation’s Capital, while changes in Pennsylvania and the Penn Laurel Council brought Frederick County, Maryland, to Nation’s Capital as well. Both regions have their own rich histories, and their archives had their own inventory systems. Now we have items stored in three states plus the District of Columbia.

How will we ever get on the same page?

The answer (hopefully) is with Collective Access, a free, web-based cataloging application. The program is highly configurable, comes with a range of pre-made templates, supports image, video, audio, and document formats, and has a vibrant user community. (Did I mention that it’s FREE?)

While we were debating software packages, many museums, archives, universities and other repositories made the transition from PastPerfect to Collective Access. We decided to skip ahead and go with Collective Access.

The Nation’s Capital Information Services team researched various configuration options and installed Collective Access last month. Now it’s time to get started with descriptions and other inventory data.

Please follow along as we join the world of Collective Access.

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