Have a go at cataloguing

Below are some documents you can use to practise your cataloguing skills.

How to do it

Once you’ve selected an item to catalogue and clicked on it to open it, you’ll see a blank cataloguing form to the right of the image, simply fill in each box according to the guidelines below.

Reference: this is the unique reference used to identify each item we look after. It’s a mix of letters and numbers and will be given in the title of each task. For example: X438/15

Title: this quickly tells us what the item is and who/where it relates to. Keep this short and do not put a full stop at the end. Examples: Letter, from John Smith, Bodmin, to his brother Peter or Photograph, Mevagissey harbour

Date: this gives us the date of the item in a specific format, dd-mmm-yyyy. If the date is not known, we estimate a year, decade or century. For example: 20 Dec 1974, 16th century, 1777 or Mar 2007

Format: this tells us what an item is and is chosen from a set list of terms, including: Glass negative, Manuscript, Map, Pamphlet, Photograph, Photographic negative, Plan, Postcard, Print/drawing, Printed material, Volume

Extent: this tells us the quantity of items/pages/letters etc. We use the term ‘piece’ for any single piece of paper, postcard or photograph. For example: 1 piece or 3 pieces

Description: this is where we give further details of what the item is, what, who or where it relates to and any people, events or activities it concerns. This is often the most useful section for people finding and using the item on the catalogue. Write this in sentences and use a full stop at the end. Examples:

Colour photograph of the construction of the power station at Hayle produced by Spencer of Melksham.

Letter includes family news and details of John’s visit to Launceston.

Black and white map showing detail of proposed Bude canal. Includes scale and key, signed by John Smith.