Three Themes for Collections Management Wellness

Neal Stimler

President, Stimler Advantage

Managing collections is a daily and ongoing process of continuous quality control and improvement. It requires a proactive approach, with regular assessments and adjustments to ensure that collections management operations are aligned with the organization's specific needs and goals.

Having a framework of reminders can help an organization stay aware of and regularly practice collections management wellness. A wellness framework is a guide and foundation for your organization to build and enhance its collections management operations tailored to its specific needs. It can help organizations identify and address potential problems before they become more serious. Additionally, it can help organizations to improve their collections management efficiency and effectiveness, and achieve their desired outcomes.

As an independent executive management consultant, I support my clients with their collections management tactical and strategic needs, including guidance on content, data, and media asset management, as well as licensing and rights management. I incorporate the principles of the collections management wellness framework into my client engagements, ensuring they have the tools and strategies they need to optimize their collections management operations. The following are three primary themes for collections management wellness that I focus on with my clients.

Three Themes for Collections Management Wellness

Three key themes for your collections management wellness are clarity, completeness, and consistency. 

1. Clarity


  • Include digitized source documents (e.g., agreements, labels, images, reports, treatments). 
  • Record citations and published references.


  • Ensure the data entered is as accurate and error-free as possible.
  • Use the same defined terms and definitions for objects and their attributes.


  • Avoid ambiguity or generalities in descriptions of a collection item.

2. Completeness 


  • Data should illuminate collection items' essential characteristics, what makes them resonate, and worthy of engagement, use, and preservation.


  • Data collected and presented should model the organization's mission, vision, and values in the context of factual, legal, sector, and other considerations.


  • Data management activities should be done in the context of ongoing research and revision. 
  • Frequency, policies, and reasons for revisions should be communicated clearly to internal and external stakeholders.

3. Consistency


  • Conduct immediate reviews, daily quality control checks per entry & regular system-wide checks with documented reports.


  • Use a combination of sector, third-party, and technical standards aligned with your organization’s internal standards.


  • Develop custom asynchronous internal training and balanced real-time group and one-to-one support to increase adoption & retention.
  • Develop external training materials to teach external users how to engage best and utilize data and collections.

CatalogIt Can Help 

If you are considering selecting CatalogIt as your collections management system or are an existing user, CatalogIt can provide tailored guidance to help you optimize your collections management wellness. Their team of experts can help you through their support and resources. CatalogIt testimonials offer valuable insights from peer customer organizations.

About the Author

Neal Stimler

President, Stimler Advantage

Neal Stimler is the President of Stimler Advantage, LLC, an executive management consulting firm offering coaching, tactical, and strategy services across work areas in business, coaching, and technology. Stimler regularly advises corporate, government, nonprofit, and small-to-medium business clients on digital transformation initiatives. Stimler is a 20-year library, archives, and museum professional with over ten years of experience in collections, digital, and media asset management at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Neal is an international data and content management expert, working with clients to empower their assets, people, processes, technologies, and workflows.