MODES and more!

Hello everyone – Alex here.

So this week we had perhaps the most important training of the traineeship so far, excluding object handling perhaps. The session was on MODES, the database system Colchester + Ipswich Museums uses to record the collection. Now that’s a lot of information in just one system and it had seemed pretty darn scary every time I’d glanced at it – all terminology, spreadsheets and technological wizardry. I and the other Trainees were itching to finally have a go ourselves and be allowed a nose through the collection.

Now I’m not going to lie, the system is pretty complex. Thankfully, the instructor leading the session had a copy we could practice on – this turned out to be a very good decision on his part. When attempting to create a new record for a random object, I managed to delete three other records in just one click. If I’d have done that in our actual database I doubt my boss would have been impressed! I was shown how to correct my mistake and even managed to create that new record in the process.

We learnt all manner of useful tricks and tips in getting the most out of the system. Creating a PDF of a record, which displayed all the information on that object and its location in the museum was particularly impressive. Sadly, I did manage to delete yet another record in the process of converting it to PDF. I seem to have a knack for wonton deletion!

As I said earlier, learning how to use MODES is incredibly important as it now means the other Trainees and I can participate in any number of new projects: collections management, cataloguing, identifying new objects brought in to the museums. It also makes us feel like true members of the service – the Trainees are here and we can (now) be of use!

Until next time,


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