Posted by: stackedfivehigh | April 11, 2010

PastPerfect

Friday I spent the afternoon training on PastPerfect.  PastPerfect is a database software that is used by a number of museums and historical societies, being a handy way to organize your collections (objects, pictures, archives, library).

I spent the better part of three hours watching the training videos for it, which were really easy to follow.  I don’t think I retained everything from them, that was a lot of information at once, but as soon as I was done with the videos I started with the practical application.  Immediately using the software really helped lock it in.

The last folder of pictures that I had been scanning into the system were still next to my computer, so starting with the first record in the accession I started updating the system.  Most of these pictures had very limited descriptions, so I had to update that, and then link the picture to the file.  I was dealing with photographs that were already logged into the system, though starting a new record is pretty straight-forward as well.

The first thing I did was to update the keyword section in a record.  I added keywords to facilitate later searches and added names to the ‘People” section if they were available.  Then I expanded on the description of the photograph and made sure any writing on the back of the photograph was included in the description.  After updating the date and user for the most recent changes, I attached the photograph to the record to complete it and moved on to the next. The Archivist wants the photograph attached to the record as the last step.  That way she knows by glancing at it whether the record is complete.

All in all, the software program is very intuitive, and incredibly easy to use.  There were certain idiosyncrasies that will take getting used to, but on the whole I feel pretty comfortable with it already.

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