Using Folders in CatalogIt for a Seamless Workflow

Joy Tahan Ruddell

Museum & Collections Consultant

In my role as a Collections Manager, I’m constantly trying new methods to streamline the organization of our museum’s collections. While many collection management systems offer options to sort by type, location, or media, the ability to generate a cohesive list based on random criteria can be challenging.

Recently, I embarked on a research project focused on a gallery rotation centered around a subjective theme. I used CatalogIt to create a new Folder, then conducted several creative searches, using very different but specific criteria. After each distinct search, I used the Bulk Operations feature to move the results into my new Folder. This Folder was set as shared, allowing the entire curatorial department to access and contribute to its contents.

After the Folder was populated, I asked each curator to review the list and use a Tag to identify each item they wanted to see in person. I searched each Tag in order to identify artwork to pull from storage for each curator. Using CatalogIt’s Tags and Folders features offer an easy way to further drill down on projects with multiple parts and stakeholders.

Once the museum’s staff reviewed the work in person, I created a new Tag to identify the finalists from each curator. These items were then the ones selected for the new gallery rotation. Upon completion of the rotation I conducted a final search using the designated Tag, allowing me to efficiently update the location and exhibition history of each artwork involved. With the project concluded, and in order to keep the menu in CatalogIt manageable, I deleted the Folder.

In the course of pulling all the artwork for the curatorial staff, I identified several artworks that required more research. To manage this additional workload without cluttering others' workspace in CatalogIt, I created a private Folder, solely visible to myself. This Folder served as a personalized workflow, enabling me to prioritize and conduct research on the identified artworks. After I completed the necessary research, I promptly deleted the private Folder, maintaining an organized workspace within CatalogIt.

In my work, I find that the use of Folders in CatalogIt helps to facilitate collaborative and efficient collections management, allowing for seamless organization, collaboration, and workflow efficiency.

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.