Separating Artifacts

All artifacts should be removed from collections to be rehoused and described with other artifacts using the following procedures.
  1. If a student or volunteer is processing/arranging a collection and comes across an artifact, he or she should alert the supervising staff member. The staff member will assess importance and whether items are transferred to artifact collections or discarded.
  2. Placement of discarded items within the collection/folder/volume will be photographed, with the photo(s) added to the scanlog.
  3. Complete a separation sheet for all items to be removed from Manuscripts or University Archives collections, indicating the collection, box and folder listing and item(s) removed, along with the scanlog number if applicable. Separation sheets can be found in Pav A on the desk near the double doors, in Pav B at 1368E, or with the supplies in the Archives Workroom.
  4. The white copy of the separation sheet should be kept in a white paper folder and placed in the original box or folder from which the object was removed.
  5. Items to be transferred to the University Archives Artifact Collection or the Manuscripts Artifact Collection should be given directly to jad along with the pink copy of the separation sheet.
  6. Items to be discarded should be indicated as such on both copies of the separation sheet with the staff member's initials and date; staff should discard of item in a responsible manner and give the completed pink sheet to jad.
  7. The artifact description should not be added to Archon at the time of separation.

Describing Artifacts

Artifacts are described individually and added to the Manuscripts Artifact Collection or the University Archives Artifact Collection.

The following steps should be followed for the description of each item.
  1. Accession/object number assigned.
  2. A description and accession information is added to Archon. Each artifact entry in Archon should have the following information:
    1. Classification - place the artifact into the appropriate series (Textiles, Decorative Objects, etc.) and subseries (when applicable).
    2. Enter object number as the Level/Container label.
      1. Field has a 10 character limit, so some object numbers must be shortened to fit
        • 2012.170.01 -> 2012.170.1
        • 39.1T975.A01 -> 391T975.A1
      2. Archon has a bug in Firefox where it deletes the portion after the second decimal point, or some zeros at the end when saving the first time; after saving the record, check the number in this field again to ensure it was saved properly.
    3. Object - name and type of artifact. Enter this into the Title field. Example: Charles Center Science Symposium T-Shirt.
    4. Date - date when the artifact was created. If date is unknown, enter a circa date
    5. Description - in this field, include the following information or as much as known:
      1. Quantity (if more than one), type of object, and general description, including materials object is made of (cotton, nylon, plastic, gold, wood, etc.)
      2. Dimensions
        1. Use format # in. (height) x # in. (width) x # in. (length)
      3. Condition
        1. Start with overall condition assessment (excellent, good, fair, or poor)
        2. Mention visible defects (rips, damage, loss, etc.)
      4. Link object photo from Flickr into Archon
        1. Use standard text, "Image(s) available at flickr hyperlink."
      5. Provenance
        1. For items from existing collections
          1. Use standard text "Transferred from Box #, Folder # of the Collection (Accession Number)."
            1. Ex. "Transferred from Box 20, Folder 1 of the William B. Taliaferro Papers (Mss. 65 T15)
        2. For newly donated items:
          1. Use standard text "Gift of __."
          2. Class year designation can be added to the end for donations from W&M students and alumni, if known.
        3. For newly purchased items
          1. Use standard text "Swem SCRC Purchase."
        4. For newly donated/purchased items associated with other collections
          1. Use standard text "_ received at the same time were added to the __ Collection (Collection Number)."
            1. Ex. "Tidewater Labor Support Committee Records received at the same time were added to the Living Wage Campaign Records (UA 253). Gift of Becky Little, Class of 2012."
      6. Location information
        1. For previously described/rehoused collections, use standard text "Located in (Series Abbreviation) S(#), SS(#), Box (#)."
          1. Ex. "Located in Dec Obj S2 SS2, Box 3."
          2. Series abbreviations to use
            1. Textiles, Dec Obj, Rec Obj, Art, B&G, T&E
        2. For newly described/accessioned collections, use standard text
          "Located in (Material Type), Box (#).
      7. Object id number
        1. Use collection identifier UA or Mss, then number with no spaces in the number
          1. Ex. UA 2012.170.01
          2. Ex. Mss 39.1T975.A01
  3. The item is rehoused according to directions of staff member in charge of artifact collections. University Archives Artifacts to be rehoused should be stored on shelves _. Manuscripts Collections Artifacts to be rehoused should be stored on shelves __.

From the University Archives Artifact Collection:

Item 2011.730.1: Green and White Alumni Green Leafe Mug, 2011
White plastic beer mug. Novelty promotional 36 ounce molded plastic beer mug with handle distributed by The Green Leafe, Williamsburg, Virginia. Printed on the front with green text "the Green Leafe, Downtown ~ New Town" on the back "William & Mary, Alumni." Students and staff at William & Mary attended a weekly Sunday "Mug Night" promotional event held by The Green Leafe which featured discounted prices on beer and cider. Students purchased this type of novelty plastic beer mug, and re-used it every Sunday for "Mug Night" discounted refills of beer. Mug measures 7.125" (height) x 5.75" (width) x 11.75" (circumference). Excellent condition with no visible defects. Images available at and Gift of Bea Hardy. Located in Dec Obj S2, SS4. UA 2011.730.01

Item 2012.173.8: "¡Luchando por comida justa!" Coalition of Immokalee Workers, circa 2006-2012
2 - light blue "¡Luchando por comida justa!" Coalition of Immokalee Workers stickers. Tidewater Labor Support Committee Records received at the same time were added to the Living Wage Campaign Records (UA 253). Gift of Becky Little, Class of 2012. Located in Dec Obj S2, SS4.
UA 2012.173.08ab

From the Manuscripts Artifact Collection:

Item 2012.010.3: African American Girl Doll, circa 1950s
Flannel and cotton female folk art doll. This African American doll dates circa 1950s. Doll body is constructed of brown flannel fabric with machine and hand stitching. The doll has dense black curled yarn hair, a stitched thread face, a white and blue cotton gingham dress with white cotton tape back tie closures, and a white cotton apron with white satin ribbon waist band that ties at back. Doll measures 6" (width) x 10.75" (height). Good condition. Images available at,, and Gift of Chandi Singer. Located in Textiles, S1, SS5. Mss 2012.010.03

Accessioning Artifacts - Record Entry

Content to Enter
General Tab

Enable Web Output

Accession Date
Today’s date (when entering record into Archon)

Brief description for identifying the object

Accession number (from spreadsheet)

Inclusive Dates
Date or year range for object

Received Extent
Size of object, always in cubic feet (.2 for T-shirts)

Unprocessed Extent
0.00, in cubic feet

Material Type

Processing Priority

Expected Date of Completion

Creator Information

Primary Creator

Location Information Tab


Collections/Classifications Information Tab

(Select One)
00 College of William and Mary (for UA Collection)

→05 Students and Alumni/ae

→Next Dropdown Box <Blank>

→University Archives Artifact Collection, 1693-[ongoing]

01 Manuscripts (for Mss. Artifact Collection)

→Manuscripts Artifact Collection, 1800-[ongoing]

Donor Information Tab

Name of donor, and class affiliation, if applicable

Donor Contact Info
Address (or campus location), email, phone number, if known

Donor Notes
How item was received at SCRC (mail, hand delivered, etc.) and date received

Accession Description Tab

Physical Description
Condition, condition notes, and dimensions/size

Scope Content
Description, quantity, materials, inscriptions, maker’s information, provenance, historical note, etc.

Collection name, series/subseries information, and Chenhall classification

Converting Mss. Artifact Descriptions from Access to Archon Database

The description conventions outlined above should be followed if at all possible. The following fields from the Access database will be copied to an item record in the Content Manager of Archon with some massaging of the text.
  • Item field in Access will become part of the title field with brief descriptive information added from the description field. In the below example, "American" was added to flag to provide the title.
  • Include the Date field from Access in the Archon date field (if available).
  • All other Access fields will be combined in the Description field in Archon
    • The Material field should be incorporated with the content of the Description field from Access into the main body of the Description field in Archon.
    • Fields to include (when information is available):
      • Org Box No
      • The Accession #
      • Artist Nationality
      • Manufacturer
      • Origin
      • Object image
      • Collection name
      • Source
      • Provenance
      • Condition
      • Dimensions
      • Height
      • Length
      • Depth

Check the new field in the Access database when an item has been copied to the Archon database.