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Access

A means of approaching, retrieving, and making use of the collection for various museum activities.

Access coefficient

Number (0.00), which when multiplied by the surface area occupied by storage units, enables one to understand the true surface it occupies (including buffer space required to access the collection).

Accession number

A unique identification given to object in the collection. It is the element that links physical objects to all other documentation related to it. It must be written on, or securely attached to, the object.

Accession register

A hardback bound book, with pages numbered progressively and stamped, which contains the description, accession number, accession date, and location code of all objects that are part of the museum collection. Once objects are listed in the accession register, they are officially part of the museum collection and legally belong to the museum. A copy of the accession register should be kept in a safe location offsite.

Adjustable

The possibilty of moving individual surfaces within a storage unit to increase or reduce the shelf height.

Administrative route

The sequence of bureaucratic procedures leading to an ultimate final goal.

Aisle

Walking space between two rows of storage units.

Aquisition

Enlargement of the collection through purchase, gift or bequest. Happens before accessioning (when objects  becomes part of the collection administratively and legally).

Archaeological mass

Also called "bulk archaeological material." Material originating from archaeological digs (e.g. potsherds, soil samples, slag or mosaic fragments) that has not been accessioned into the museum’s collection, and is unlikely to be for quite some time.  If it belongs to an excavation that has long ceased, it may be occupying very valuable storage space and could be stored more compactly or at an off-site location.

Area of responsibility

An area of responsibility is an essential component. In RE-ORG, the four areas of responsibility for museum storage are: Management, Building & Space, Collection, and Furniture & Small Equipment. For functional, professional storage, each area of responsibility must attain a certain level of quality.

Authorization

Official permission to do something, preferably written.

Average

More precisely, "arithmetic mean": The sum of the values divided by the number of values.

Budget

An estimate of the amount of money entering (income) and being spent (expenditure) for a set period of time.

Building

The most immediate protection from the outdoor elements.Generally, this is a structure with roof and walls, although in some regions, a tent may also be considered to be a building.

Building & space

Area of responsibility that covers the condition, layout, and systems of the most immediate protection of the collection from the outdoor elements.

Building system

A building’s mechanical and electrical equipment such as ventilation, lighting, power systems, fire systems, and security systems.

Building works

Construction or renovations, for example, construction or extension of a building, wall insulation, underpinning, other material alterations.

Care

As in "Collections Care": All activities that have an impact on the long-term conservation of a collection.

Case study

The presentation of detailed information about a particular topic within its real-life context that may be useful to other people facing similar situations.

Catalogue

Also called "Main index", "Card index," "Progressive Index" and "Card Catalogue." Objects are classified by ascending order of accession number in the same order as in the accession register. In a manual system, these are index cards that cannot be removed from the trays and that contain the location code of each object. For this reason, it is not publicly accessible.

Charity

Non-profit organization formed for charitable purposes.

Chart

Graphical representation of data, using bars, lines or slices. Examples include bar graphs, line graphs or pie charts.

Checklist

A list of “to do” actions, or a list of equipment necessary for accomplishing certain tasks.

Chemical nature

Whether an object is organic or inorganic.

Collecting trend

The general direction in which the acquisition of museum objects are developing or changing.

Collection

1. A grouping of objects or items held in title by the collecting organization. A museum collection comprises several individual collections consisting of objects of similar typologies (collection of masks, collection of manuscripts, etc.) or bearing a unique unifying feature (such as having belonged to a single collector or collecting institution, being linked a specific historical event, etc.). A collection may sometimes include the building itself or the site. 2. Area of responsibility that covers the documentation, condition and distribution of the museum collection.

Collection analysis

Quantitative data on the collection, including: 1. Total number of objects, 2. Quantity and proportions, by object type, 3. Proportion, by chemical nature. It may also include quantitative information on oversized objects, objects with special requirements (legal, health and safety requirements, security).

Collection distribution

Placement of a collection in the storage area according to set criteria: by object type, by size, by constituent material, by owner, by provenance, etc.

Collection growth

The change in size (usually increase) of a collection over a period of time.

Collections management

All activities related to the administration of a collection, from acquisition to disposal (documentation, digitization, handling, loans, de-accessioning and disposal).

Communication

Sending or receiving information. Effective communication requires adapting the content and delivery style of messages according to the audience, to ensure information is well assimilated.

Condition report

A professional document that diagnoses the condition and key deficiencies of a storage area based on an evaluation of the four areas of responsibility (Management, Building & Space, Collection and Furniture & Small Equipment).

Conservation

All measures and actions aimed at safeguarding tangible cultural heritage while ensuring its accessibility to present and future generations. Conservation embraces preventive conservation, remedial conservation and restoration. All measures and actions should respect the significance and the physical properties of the cultural heritage item (ICOM-CC 2008).

Conservator

Professional figure traditionally associated with ensuring the physical well-being of individual objects or collections, though responsibilities have come to include communication, fundraising, publication, awareness raising, education and training, preventive conservation, etc.

Container

Any type of box, case, crate, bag or other receptacle used to enclose objects.

Corrosion

Slow destruction by chemical action.

Criterion

A standard by which something may be evaluated as successful or complete.

Curator

Professional figure traditionally entrusted with the intellectual or academic dimension of the collection (research, publications, exhibitions, education, etc),  though responsibilities have come to include communication, fundraising, publication, awareness raising, preventive conservation, etc.

De-accessioning

The definitive legal and administrative removal of an object, or group of objects, from a museum collection. This procedure must precede disposal.

Decision maker

Person who has the responsibility reaching a conclusion or resolution after consideration.

Deliverable

Final product or output.

Department head

Person who is in charge of a department.

Dependency

Relationship between two actions or tasks indicating that one must be done before another.

Didactic material

Material that can be used as part of training or educational programmes.

Dimension

Measurable extent (i.e. length, width, or height).

Director

Person who is in charge of an organization (museum for Museum Director).

Disaster

Sudden accident or a natural catastrophe that causes great damage to objects or loss of value.

Disinfestation

To rid an object or building of infesting insects or other pests using chemical means or non-chemical means (heat, cold, anoxia).

Disorganized

State of storage which indicates major deficiencies in the four areas of responsibility (Management, Building & Space, Collection, and Furniture & Small Equipment).

Disposal

The act of getting rid of something that is unwanted. Disposing of non-collection items such as rubbish is a rather straightforward process. Disposing of objects from the museum collection requires the application of the procedure of de-accessioning beforehand.

Documentation

Documentation is the recording of all essential data about a museum collection and the objects it contains. This includes information on provenance, acquisition, materials, dimensions, weight, publication history, research and access history, loan and exhibition history, photography, value, location, movement, condition, conservation, etc.

Documentation system

The documentation system is composed of five essential elements: 1. The accession number, 2. The accession register, 3. The location code, 4. The catalogue, 5. The movement register. All these elements are interlinked and have specific functions. The must be complete, updated and to a certain standard of quality to ensure the functionality of the documentation system. Additional elements to the documentation system include the thematic indices, and the history files.

Documentation upgrade

The improvement or completion of any of the five elements of the documentation system.

Duty

Task required or obligation as part of one's job.

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