Save Time with Bulk Operations: Three Use Cases

Joy Tahan Ruddell

Museum & Collections Consultant
Museum Collections Centre, Birmingham Museums

As collections professionals, we have a lot going on. There are always objects to accession, inventories to conduct, condition reports to perform, loans to process, and research requests to answer. The list goes on and on, so anything that helps us streamline our work and saves us time is a lifesaver.

This is why I am so excited about CatalogIt’s new Bulk Operations capabilities. Bulk Operations is a game changer in my work process. It has saved hours of database clean-up, record updates, and location changes. This new capability has really changed my work.

While there are countless great uses for Bulk Operations, there are three capabilities that I use the most: exhibition planning, location updating, and moving groups of entries to a single folder or adding a single tag. 

Plan exhibitions by documenting and batching updates

We all know how many moving parts there are when planning an exhibition. For example, curatorial research is a timely process that results in lots of changes and updates. Checklists evolve as loans are identified and exhibition themes are streamlined. Collections and conservation checks often alter what objects are available. In my own work, I have found that the simplest way to keep track of any changes and updates is by utilizing the Bulk Operations feature. 

Select specific items to be moved to the same exhibition profile. Quickly compile lists by selecting multiple entries at once to populate a new or existing folder. Easily add an exhibition title at once to a group of entries, or delete accordingly as the checklist and research lists change. Individually updating and removing entries from folders is time consuming—batching these updates saves time and allows for a more efficient workflow.

Update locations quickly and easily

Tracking specific locations for all of your items is a key task in any collections management system. With the Bulk Operations tool, you can easily and quickly move a group of objects to a single location. Perhaps you are moving a group of items to a single gallery for an exhibition, or moving a group of items in a box from one shelf to another. Bulk Operations enables you to quickly and efficiently update locations in batches, eliminating the task of going into each entry to individually enter data. Bulk Operations also limits the possibility of user input error. Entering something once, rather than the repetition of entering the same data over and over again, minimizes the chances of mistyping information. 

Streamline workflows with Folders and Tags

Bulk Operations also streamlines your workflow by allowing the user to assign lists of entries to a particular folder for a project, either a shared folder or your own private folder, and by allowing users to assign a single Tag to multiple entries all at once. For example, consider creating a Tag for everything that “requires glassine refresh” while you are working on a rehousing project, or assigning groups of items to a single folder for a specific volunteer to work on. Folders and Tags help you to group items together any way you’d like, making it easier to create a workflow and project plan that works best for the project you are working on. They can also be created on the fly, which saves time and eliminates the need to create them in advance. 

There are so many ways for Bulk Operations to help save time, create efficiencies in your workflow, and streamline your processes. To learn more about how this feature works, watch this video for specific instructions.. And as always, email if you have any questions.

About the Author

Joy Tahan Ruddell

Museum & Collections Consultant

Joy Tahan Ruddell has almost thirty years of collections and registration experience.  Prior to independent consulting, Joy coordinated the registration department at a large California museum which included insurance, loans, acquisitions, collections access and research, policy and procedure development and management, and intellectual property management. Working with staff museum-wide she developed programs that helped the community engage with collections. Joy has extensive experience with major collections projects including: inventories, collections moves, project management, acquisition and deaccession activities, NAGPRA projects, grant writing, insurance and risk management, and loan processing and organization. She specializes in helping museums build capacity through creative problem solving and determining scalable solutions. Extensive knowledge and advanced understanding of national standards allows her to assist with virtually any collections conundrum.