U4.1 The basic approach – with no digital support

A key element of the OFC approach is the organisation of a collection of things. Understanding how to go about this, and being able to actually do it effectively, are essential pre-requisites for a successful OFC project. The following 11 step process is one way of doing it:

  1. Be clear about what specific categories of stuff you want to deal with.
  2. Figure out why you want to keep each category.
  3. Take the opportunity to reassess what you really want to keep/collect going forward.
  4. Decide where the best place is to store each category.
  5. Be clear about the specific space you are going to use for storage.
  6. Decide how you will set out, equip and organise the storage space.
  7. Do a quick sort of each category into sub-categories.
  8. As you do the quick sort, set aside the stuff you want to throw away or dispose of.
  9. Decide exactly how you will store each sub-category.
  10. Go through each sub-category in detail, organising as required.
  11. Set up the storage space/containers/equipment and store the sorted sub-categories.

The short 2 page description of Practical approaches to Order from Chaos provides a more detailed description of each step.

If one was to undertake a lot of OFC projects – especially if they were to be on behalf of other people – it might be worth creating some checklists of requirements and activities. The requirements could be in the form of a Service List specifying what is required (for example, are photos required of each object); and the activities could be in the form of a Process List including items such as, Inspect site/artefacts, Assemble kit, Define end layout etc. The Service list and Process List in the links above assume that the work is being undertaken as a service at a price. However they can be modified to suit your own requirements.

Two other approaches which provide alternative perspectives on organising collections are documented in the following books:

The links above take you to reviews of the books which include summaries of their general approaches.

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