asset management - help :-)

From: Jules Richardson <>
Date: Mon Nov 8 10:28:19 2004

I know some of you on this list work for various museums, or have
extensive enough collections that a proper asset management system might
be needed :-)

I've been working on one for the museum here for a while, with the goal
of making it easy to add information (so that museum staff aren't
tempted to not bother!) and easy to search / browse in a useful way.
(Heck knows we need a proper centralised 'list'!)

I've pretty much figured out what data's useful to capture, and how a UI
might work from the point of view of different user roles (maintenance /
administration / browsing etc.)

What I'm puzzling over is how to record any relationship between
hardware / software / documentation, or even to what extent any
relationship needs to be recorded. Thoughts on this would be most
appreciated, and I wonder what other museums do...

As an example, say we're given a Sinclair machine with some tape
software and some manuals. Obviously the machine needs an asset sticker
plonked on it and its details stuck in the register. The docs and
software also need recording in a DB somewhere such that we know what
software we have, and that we have x copies of such-and-such a doc (we'd
like to have a public-access library on site, and even lend docs out to
trusted people when possible)

Question is, do we link the docs and software to that particular
machine, or is it better to just put those in essentially isolated
databases and recording that they're for such-and-such a model of

And what's best for the odds and ends - power supplies, leads, packaging
etc.? Do they warrant recording / tagging somehow? And as for what to
do with donations of bits I don't know (e.g. when someone gives us a
stack of random DEC boards)

It gets to be a little more complex than a traditional museum where
there's a collection of distinct items - in this case there's a big
collection of stuff with a lot of interchangability (if that's a word)
between components, and so managing it all is something of a total

Maybe the idea of knowing exactly what we have at any one time is
impossible - but that's a shame if we've got some redundant bit of
hardware lurking in storage which we could donate to someone else who
desperately needed it to restore a system.

Ideas and comments would be *very* much appreciated!


Received on Mon Nov 08 2004 - 10:28:19 GMT

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