Towneley museum’s documentation system contains both paper and electronic elements. There is no plan to go completely paperless but most management information passes via email.
Object entry uses a paper object entry form. Normally any object that is a candidate for accession into a collection is first digitally photographed for insurance purposes as a jpeg file with a brief description added as a caption. Once the object has been accessioned, the image filename is changed to be the same name as the object's object number and moved to the appropriate computer system image folder as the object's primary image.
The collections management system uses Modes software 'Modes Complete version 1.3' to detail the objects recorded in the 2007 version of the accession register together with each object's current and previous locations. Not all of the museum object information is recorded within Modes. In particular, insurance valuations and donor address details are excluded and are accessed via paper documents. Most accessioned objects have index cards giving details such as object size and production information and these are added to Modes as appropriate with the aim of limiting the size of the Modes database and the effort needed to maintain it. Paper records exist for collection histories, artist files and conservation reports as part of the museum_archive but little of this information has been entered into Modes.
Objects added to the permanent collections since 2007 are also entered into Modes. At appropriate intervals, a subset of the database can be printed for inclusion of additions in a bound register.
The Modes elements used for the accession register are
The Modes XML back-up file is used to generate a set of JSON files containing all the object data except for location records, which have been removed because (a) the store locations are considered private for security reason and (b) apart from change of locations, the object data rarely changes. The JSON files are displayed in Towneley Collections Viewer together with a copy of all the primary images, restricted to a maximum 800 pixels longest side and with a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) .