by Marybeth Tomka
Training Announcement: Coming this March!
How to Curate a Collection at TARL
Why TARL Staff are so Picky
With every new administration, comes some change. Well, I’m no different. Since getting (back) to TARL in July, I have considered and made some alterations to the way a collection is to be submitted. It’s not because I am compulsive, okay, not all due to that, but these changes reflect a way to increase the effectiveness of TARL’s database system to make doing research easier for you, the user!
I am currently collecting names and contact information from people interested in participating in the training seminar and will be announcing a date in March soon. Meanwhile, check out the new TARL web site (http://www.utexas.edu/cola/orgs/tarl/) that has updated stipulations for both records and collections as well as new forms. Here’s a breakdown of the significant changes to the collections policy:
- All organics to be stored in General Collections – cost will reflect new storage area.
- All materials to be kept in analytical categories regardless of storage space. Bags of separated categories to contain tag no smaller than 6 x 8 in size with same information as the current box tag. Leave room for TARL accession number.
- No bulk bone, shell or metal to be labeled.
- Discontinue use of tag sleeves – replace with double bagging.
- Fifty percent of debitage and ceramics larger than a US quarter only to be labeled.
- All metal to be separated by object type – miscellaneous metal bags will not be accepted.
- All unique items to be bagged separately: e.g., do not bag all bifaces together.
- Artifact tags must have analytical grouping clearly written on tags and room left for the addition of the TARL accession number.
- Samples that have be reduced for analysis must have original weight, sample weight, and remaining weight clearly identified in the accompanying records and the appropriate value listed on the tag.
- Discontinue labelling the boxes, but place label inside box – cardboard boxes will be discontinued.
- Collections Inventory worksheets will be required for isolated finds/general project materials.
- An excel file will be submitted with the records that mirrors the Collection Inventory Worksheet. Template will be produced and distributed in early 2015.
These updated curation guidelines can be found on the TARL website here: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/orgs/tarl/_files/pdf/Curation_Procedures_Collections_2015.pdf
So, see you at the seminar and I will explain the craziness of a curator.
Editor’s Note: The NAGPRA Specialist will be attending the proposed training as well. She will be seated at the very back selling small effigies of the Head of Collections, and large needles, for those of you inclined to express your dissatisfaction with having to learn new standards. <j/k MB!….I will only sell the little needles!> 😉
About this post’s featured image, provided courtesy of Texas Beyond History: Probably associated with the small amount of Late Prehistoric material from 41VT1, this small collection of prehistoric ceramic sherds is illustrated to show the general variability and represents the entire prehistoric ceramic collection from the site. These materials await further analysis and description.