July 10, 2014

Catalyst Inventory Software

Catalyst is an innovative method of creating item-level inventories of audiovisual collections. The process uses a team of photographers onsite to image each item in a collection, capturing all information-carrying sides of a cassette/reel/disk, its housing, and any paper inserts. The photos are uploaded daily to our central server where they are sorted into item records and fields for Unique ID, Location, and Format are automatically generated. After this the database records are immediately accessible by a team of offsite catalogers who use the images to enter further metadata. Taking advantage of automated processing and minimal datasets, even a small team can work through hundreds or thousands of items a day. Catalyst data can be exported to generate reports for preservation planning and selection, or to become the basis of a finding aid or more complete catalog record. The benefit of the photos is that materials can be searched for and reviewed without the need to pull tapes until correct items are identified, minimizing handling and staff time. Also further descriptive cataloging can take place at a more reasonable pace or after reformatting has been completed. The Catalyst Inventory software is currently only available as part our inventory services, but screenshots are posted below or here and here.