The way you record your catalogue will affect how it can be shared, accessed and used. Here are some general points to think about.
- Record your catalogue information in a spreadsheet, database or specialist cataloguing software. Our advice is to avoid word-processing software, as it will be much more difficult to move your catalogue elsewhere in future and may involve the copying and pasting of a lot of text! The simpler the file format the better. (We've created an example of a cataloguing form.)
- We recommend you save your spreadsheet as a .csv file. This format can be opened by most spreadsheet software and is easy to upload to an archives directory website such as The Community Archives Heritage Group or Archives Hub. Helpfully, The National Archives has developed an application called ‘Manage Your Collections’ within their ‘Discovery’ catalogue. This allows community archive groups to upload their own collection catalogues to Discovery. Groups can subsequently update and edit this information, and can add their contact details and information on how researchers can access their collections. You can find out more information about ‘Manage Your Collections’ on The National Archives’ website.
- There are many types of cataloguing software. Some groups or organisations even design their own. Cataloguing software, like all computer software, may go out of date over the years. Make sure the software can export information so it can be used elsewhere in future. Check the Norfolk Archives Network Forum for examples of cataloguing software.
- If your group doesn't have anyone with a good knowledge of computers, think about getting help from a professional archivist. You could also contact other community archive groups through the Norfolk Archives Network Forum.
- Think about the long-term management of your catalogue. Talk to your local record office about whether they might take your catalogue if you decide to offer your collections to them.