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Locations for works with parts (including SPLIT function)

Locations for works with parts (including SPLIT function)

Hi

We've been having some trouble with locations for works with parts.

EMu's help talks about a SPLIT location as a solution to this problem.

Split works by admins creating a virtual location record (called SPLIT, or whatever you want), and then put in place a registry setting to identify this as the split location. You then locate only the "leaf" records, i.e. reocrds that have no children so are at the end of the parent/child tree structure. If all the "sibling" leaf/child records do not have the same current location, the SPLIT check notices and so changes the Parent location to SPLIT.

If the Parent is now SPLIT, this parent will not show up in search for records where current location = Gallery A.

So how do you retreive a complete list of works that are in Gallery A?
Or how do we retreive a complete list of works where Cuurent Location = any of the display lcoations?

Or front desk staff (and many others) need this information daily. So there really NEEDS to be a simple way to do this.

(I thought about using Exhibitions, but tthe date filtering for shows that are currently on is way more complicated than the Location query).

Before anyone asks, yes we do have works that can be partially displayed. Examples: debound albums, loose portfolios, a piece of furniture that has a key (we catalogue the key as a part but never display it). Or the Aboriginal Memorial comprising 200 wooden poles, which can still be displayed even if some of the poles are being conserved.

See my problem?

We need to be able to tell the differeence between "Split [most parts are on display but some of the parts are elsewhere]" and "Split [most of the work is in storage room X, but some parts are elsewhere]".

Has anyone else encountered this problem? And found a solution?

Ta

Frustrated - Canberra.

Mark Bradley – Assistant Registrar, Documentation (EMu)
National Gallery of Australia

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Re: Locations for works with parts (including SPLIT function)

Hi Mark,

Yep, I see your problem. At MoAD we don't have many parent child records but we do have some examples such as a conference table from our heritage collection in 8 parts where one of the parts is in storage and the rest is being used in a meeting room. We haven't had the 'Split Locations' facility turned on, but I'm considering how it might work (or not) for us.

Did you resolve the problem you were having with being able to locate most parts of the parent?

Emma

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Re: Locations for works with parts (including SPLIT function)

Hi Emma - no further developments here, and it is most definitely still a problem.

Here's a scenario where it causes major problems: our external valuations consultant needs the list of works on display. Not parts - the works themselves, so in the case of the desk with a key I mentioned above, parent and not the children . It is highly unlikley the key will ever be displayed, and therefore the parent will be located to SPLIT when the desk is displayed. As a consequence, we don't use SPLIT at all. We just locate all the parents to "PARENT - see child records for locations".  And that means it is not possible to retrieve a list of displayed parents without interrogating the children and somehow removing the parents from the list if they have no children in a display location. And therefore extremely difficult to create the list for the valuer.

I am starting to think that we need a field, perhaps just a tick box, called Displayed - and validation could be written to update this field so that if any of the child records are on display then they and their parent have this field ticked.

Surely other users have encountered this problem?

Mark Bradley – Assistant Registrar, Documentation (EMu)
National Gallery of Australia

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Re: Locations for works with parts (including SPLIT function)

Yes, valuation is the area that concerns me too. We report on the value of our collections by location for example, value of collection onsite or offsite for insurance purposes. Our values are assigned to parent records as I assume would be the case everywhere; the value of an 8 piece conference table cannot be split up among the 8 parts because the value of the complete object is much higher than the sum of the parts. So then how do we report on the value of our collection based on location if locations are recorded as 'Split' ?

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Re: Locations for works with parts (including SPLIT function)

Exactly...   If anyone else is reading this, please chime in, even if just to say "me too".

Mark Bradley – Assistant Registrar, Documentation (EMu)
National Gallery of Australia

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Re: Locations for works with parts (including SPLIT function)

We have this problem.

Lets take the very simple example of a piece of furniture that comes apart to allow it to fit through doorways. This has one catalogue record. When in storage the top and the bottom piece of the furniture are stored separately. There is no need for a parent record and 2 children records, that's creating 2 additional catalogue records when it's not really needed so we couldn't use the split function. I could do with more options on the location tab, we currently use the temporary and permenant location fields almost like they are location (1), location (2), and location (3). If additional current location fields existed this would be great. We have many examples of artworks that form assemblage works. There could be the primary current location that populates the location history and additional current location fields that could record if parts are elsewhere. We also use the location notes field but when people like me are using the relocate tool from the list view I'm not paying attention to if there's notes in that field.

Would love to see if anything like this could be in the pipeline.

John Peel
Collection Information Officer | Manchester Art Gallery

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Re: Locations for works with parts (including SPLIT function)

That's a problem we have had as well.
One of my most recent issues with this has been animal skins stored in one location and their skulls being stored in another. To assign location information for it I have been using the notes section to explain where all the parts are. For items in storage that hasn't been much of an issue but take for instance the skin has been given the location and the skull is the note. What happens if we decided to display the skull? I've decided that the skull location would become the new primary location and then the skin would have to be added to the notes.
Its basically just a work around and having the ability to add multiple locations to items in lots would be pretty helpful. 

Gary Kidder - Inventory Manager - The Houston Museum of Natural Science

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Re: Locations for works with parts (including SPLIT function)

Hi Gary,

EMu is set up to track everything separately as it allows for a complete history of each part - movement history, condition checks, exhibitions, loans, etc.  Putting all the items on one table might require losing some of this information.

Have you put in a Wishlist request through your Emu Support link?  We could then investigate whether or not a new tab could be developed that would list all the items on a table that could have its locations updated.

Regards,
Deb

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Re: Locations for works with parts (including SPLIT function)

If anyone creates a wishlist entry about this problem being resolved somehow we would definitely add our name to it. We encounter this problem on a weekly if not daily basis.

Edited by: John Peel - 27-Oct-15 03:10:47

John Peel
Collection Information Officer | Manchester Art Gallery

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