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Records and Inventory

Records are paper and/or electronic and are in a format conducive to their preservation, such as archival papers, cards, and electronic formats that may easily be transferred to new formats/technologies.  Records are maintained in a secure location at the curatorial facility, and are organized in such a way as to be easily retrievable.  A duplicate copy of held-in-trust records is kept in a secure location off site and is updated on a scheduled basis.  Record-keeping policy requires the following documents for state-associated held-in-trust collections:  Held-in-Trust Agreement; curation agreement; accession record; accession inventory; deaccession record (as necessary); condition report (as necessary); catalog record; loan agreement (as necessary); relocation inventory (as necessary); spot-check inventory; conservation report (as necessary); infestation report (as necessary); an up-to-date list of the state-associated held-in-trust collections at the curatorial facility; annual report to the THC of acquisitions, accessioning, deaccessioning and disposals, site inventory and security issues, incoming and outgoing non-destructive loans, destructive analysis loans, and conservation actions.

Inventory Schedule


Every new collection will be inventoried during formal accession process.  If collection has been generated through a state or federal permit process, it must be submitted with inventory.  Inventory will be thoroughly checked against artifacts and records.  Final inventory will be appended to the AAL database.


On a yearly basis, new inventory listings of site collections will be produced from the AAL’s database.


Every five years a complete inventory of collections and records for curatorial facility will be conducted.  Database will be updated and the THC and/or controlling federal agency will be notified of missing or damaged materials.  List will also be used to update the held-in-trust list submitted to the THC.


Every two years a random check of one-third of collection will be conducted for location accuracy.  With large collections, 25% of collection will be inventoried.  Any change in conditions or counts of held-in-trust collections will be reported to the THC immediately.


Prior to any loan/relocation, entirety of collection being loaned/relocated will be inventoried.


Cataloging is the process by which the facility categorizes, classifies, and quantifies materials.  Many collections arrive at the AAL with catalogs produced by permitted investigations.  In those cases, the AAL staff will evaluate catalog for its accuracy of types and quantities of materials in collections and use of system.  Any system is acceptable if it is understandable and has been cataloged consistently.

For in-house AAL projects, the lot system is used to order the objects, and a separate bag number is assigned through the Past Perfect system. 

A lot and bag number is assigned to each artifact class by provenience.  Each formal tool is given a separate number as is each separate class.  Burned bone should not be catalogued separately, but should be noted.  Minimally, classes for prehistoric sites should include: tool, point, debitage, burned rock, prehistoric ceramics, mussel shell and snail shell, while historic or multi-component sites will also include classification of different types of ceramics, glass, and metal.

No collection will be loaned unless it has been cataloged and inventoried prior to being loaned.  A duplicate copy of catalogue records are part of the annual inventory records sent to the THC and is considered an off-site backup copy. 

Accession File
Accession files form the basis of all documentation on a collection.  Not only do these files contain all forms and documents required by the AAL policy, they also contain documents necessary for meeting CFCP requirements for held-in-trust collections.

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