Working with data sources

The management of a collection can involve a vast amount of information about objects / items / books, people and organizations, events, administration and more. This information is stored as records in database tables, which we call data sources in Axiell Collections. Each data source is designed to store a specific type of information:

  • Locations and containers holds details about the places and containers where your collection items can be found;
  • Persons and institutions holds details about people and organizations involved in some way with your collection; and so on.

Some data sources have been divided into two or more sections to better manage related groups of records. Each division is a data source in its own right. For example, you may find that the Catalogue data source has six divisions, each designed to manage a particular type of collection item:

  • Moving image catalogue
  • Object catalogue
  • Archives catalogue
  • Library catalogue
  • Accessions
  • Non-collection items and accessories

When we add a new record in Collections, we first select the data source in which to create the record, and we do this with the Select data source box:

Select a data source in which to add a new record

Note: From Collections version 1.15 onwards it is possible to customize which data sources are listed in the Select data source box, and in what order. Details here.

When a data source has been sub-divided, we always create a record in one of its sub-divisions. In fact, you will observe that the Catalogue data source is not listed in the Select data source box above: if a record is for an object, it is saved in the Object catalogue; if it is a record for a book, it is saved in the Library catalogue; and so on.

However, as we see in the image of the Select data source box below, when running a search it is possible to select:

  • A top level data source: a search in Catalogue will run across all of its sub-divisions (in this case all six of the lower level data sources highlighted in the image below will be searched simultaneously).
  • Any one of Catalogue's lower level data sources, Library catalogue for instance, to search its records only.

In Collections we work in a single data source at a time: we search for records in Persons and institutions for instance, and we edit records in that data source; when we add a new record, the first thing we do is select the data source to which the record will be added. While we work in a single data source, we have access to data in many other data sources because records in different data sources are linked together: for instance, details about a museum item are recorded in the Object catalogue, and details about the object's creator are recorded in Persons and institutions; these two records are linked from a Linked fieldClosed A type of field used to link one record to another. A Linked field is a drop list of values (records that the field can link to). When a link is made, the field stores a reference to the linked record (a linkref). in the Object catalogue record called creator (VV). In the Object catalogue we can run a search for objects created by an artist whose details are recorded and maintained in Persons and institutions.

Here we see the Select data source box that displays when running a search, and here the Catalogue data source is listed:

Select a data source in which to run your search.

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