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Coins, Coins Everywhere!

For some reason, and I still can’t figure out why I did this, I made the assumption that working with a military-centric collection would mean working with less currency than in prior experiences. It wasn’t something I was happy about–I really like studying old currency, the imagery, stamp marks, and the wear and tear of everyday use if they were circulated. Boy was I in for a surprise when I did my first inventory last year! We have far more coins than I imagined would be here, not just from the United States, but from everywhere; Germany, Russia, England, and others are all represented here, thanks in large part to GIs from World War II.

One thing that I always hoped for and that came true with Nomenclature 4.0, was a breakdown of coins based on denomination. It may seem like a simple thing when naming an object in a database, “Coin” is an all-inclusive term and certainly covers every aspect of what the object is and how it’s meant to be used. Simple, right? Well, not so fast, I used to work for a museum years ago that had hundreds of coins of all denomination and frankly, trying to find a record, even with a stellar query that I designed, failed miserably if something were spelled wrong in the description or if the cataloger missed something. I might know the object is a penny, nickel, dime, or quarter, but that doesn’t help if I can’t find it with my searches. Now, with the adoption of more specific terms, life is a bit easier (though admittedly I’m working with less than a hundred coins now) to find what I’m looking for and certainly for object labels too.

Chances are if you’re still using Nomenclature 3.0 you’ll be seeing “Coin” a lot as an object name, which is our case for a few more weeks until we work a few more bugs out on our end, but when I update to 4.0, I absolutely cannot wait to have a digitized collection that reflects more of what we have in a quicker-to-find manner–and I think my colleagues will agree that a less-stressed registrar/collections manager is a good thing!

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