Collection Organization

Three untitled prints from Letterpress Print Edition, 1995. Published by The Sculpture Center, New York. Each 6 x 6 inches. Edition of 100 prints. Top: Copyright 2008 Ursula Von Rydingsvard. Center: Copyright 2008 Petah Coyne. Bottom: Copyright 2008 Rona Pondick. An understanding of the various aspects that make your body of work or collection unique will allow MCACM to design or improve your database so that it is comprehensive as well as user-friendly and flexible.

The initial consultation process includes a review of the works to ascertain the parameters of the collection. Its complexity—as well as the functions you want to be able to perform—will determine whether a pre-designed or customized database is appropriate. Some collections are relatively straightforward, e.g. singular works by individual artists. Other collections include editioned works, various states of the same work, artists working collaboratively, and portfolios by multiple artists or suites by a single artist (either complete or broken). Since the way the various works in the collection relate will determine the structure of the database, this is the point at which the major decisions about the system will be decided.

We will also discuss nomenclature and the assignment of unique identification numbers to each work. Both of these issues, if not carefully considered and planned, can wreak havoc with your entire management system in the future.

Another important aspect to be determined in the early stages is the photographic documentation and digital image management of the collection. With so many recent changes in photography, many collections have images of their works in various formats such as 35mm slides and 4x5 or 8x10 transparencies. Since it is important to have a consistent digital image format throughout your database, now is the time to make decisions about scanning from older media, rephotographing the works digitally, or a combination of both.

Once these various issues have been resolved and all parties feel that a thorough understanding of the collection has been achieved, MCACM will discuss with you a strategy to achieve your goals and will then prepare a timeline and begin to construct your database.