Connecting to Collections Care Online Community

Accession numbers for newspaper articles

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    • #134417
      David C


      We’ve been giving accession numbers to our donated since about 1980 using the “Year:Donor#:Item number” method. All items we receive (photos, post cards, tangible objects like dishes, clothing, etc) are given an accession number, such as 2015-3-11.

      Photos and post cards are given an extra accession number such as P-2345 (for Photos) or PC-1723 (for Post Cards). These numbers do not re-start at 1 each year. Photos and Post Cards are kept in numerical order in archival boxes.

      We also collect newspaper articles. Currently at least 3 file drawers full. Newspaper articles are kept in folders based on the subject of the article; sometimes hard to do when an article is about multiple topics. Newspaper articles have never been given any type of accession number.

      My question is, should each newspaper article be given a number similar to our photos and post cards? Something like “N-7311”? Since newspaper articles are in separate folders, would it be better to use a running number within each folder and add a prefix based on the folder? Something like N-23-56 for folder #23, article 56 in the folder.

      I’m in the process of making digital copies of our Photos and Post Cards. Since these have accession numbers, it is easy to give them a filename on the computer. I’m starting to make digital copies of the newspaper articles and it would be easier to give them filenames if they had some type of an accession number.

      We do not have internet access at our Museum and we do not use accessioning software.

      David Cranston
      Hadley-Lake Luzerne Historical Society
      Lake Luzerne, NY 12846

    • #134422
      Erin Kraus

      Hi David,

      I’m guessing it’s one of those circumstances where it just kind of depends on what you think would work best for your institution. I will check around for you though and get back to you.
      In the meantime, I recommend checking out the Connecting to Collections Care webinar from last year about Marking and Labeling Collections. Here is the link:

      Marking and Labeling Collections

      You can listen to the audio, view the PowerPoint, and look at the additional resources.

    • #134432
      David C

      Hi Erin,

      I watched the video and got a lot of good information about marking items, but nothing pertaining to accessioning of newspaper articles.

      For now, I’ve decided to make a record for


      of our newspaper articles. Other than the newspaper name, date, article title, the record will list pertinent information from the article (people, places, dates, buildings and other structures, etc). Since I am also scanning and saving digital copies of the newspaper articles, the filenames for each of them will also be in each record.

      Searching in windows will often NOT find text


      a scanned document, but the information in the records I’m creating


      be found. That is the main reason why I decided to create the records and include the pertinent information. And since the filename of the scanned document will be listed, we can easily find the scanned article in our computer files.

    • #134462

      I would treat newspapers (and postcards and photos) as archival items and list them in fonds (good resources are out there for basic archival descriptions). Actually with newspaper clippings, I would photocopy them and discard the original. Newsprint has such a short lifespan.

    • #134694
      Leslei Fisher

      This helps me a lot, thank you all!

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