A Diagram for the Ideal Collection Structure

The image that illustrates this post is a diagram showing the inextricable and common relationships existing among the various collections of a contemporary art museum: art collection, archive, library. This particular image, based on the MACBA holdings, was developed as an illustration for my first talk about the lines of work that we were developing at MACBA Study Center.

Diagrama Estructura Ideal

This is also the image that I have used most recurrently in talks, informal conversations, presentations, etc., and I have kept drawing in my handbooks, by hand, diagrams similar to this one whenever it came to explaining how we were organising our holdings. Esquema-obra-doc

The first diagram is particularly significant because it synthesizes the most original and innovative trait of the MACBA Study Center’s collection structure, namely the fact that the archive and library were considered a continuation of the art collection, with no breach in-between. In practical terms, this has had a very relevant consequence: instead of using two or three different databases for artworks, documents and books, we undertook to describe and make accessible artworks and archive documents through the same database, making it possible for users to retrieve results from both collections at the same time.

For a test of what these combined searches are like, click here and start a search.