Information for the Future: An Analysis of Shipwreck Artefact Records in South Australia

21st April 2013

Cassandra Morris

M. Maritime Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, July 2012

South Australia (SA) has numerous shipwrecks, material from which is currently displayed across the state in many different museums. Analysing the register entries for these artefacts, this thesis studies the quality and quantity of information recorded. Across 23 museums data was collected in person, via email and mail and resulted in 645 artefacts recorded and discussed. The records of these  artefacts were loaded into a specially designed database system, developed from  the museum registers themselves. Records were compared against each other, in  addition to collection management policies, and archaeological standards. This  comparison illustrated a distinct need for improvement within museum register  recording. Main areas of improvement include the need to record further details  within registers, the necessity to document the artefact’s story as opposed to  just the ship’s history, the computerisation of registers across SA, and the implementation of standardisation throughout Australia.  These results demonstrate that SA is a step behind other museums, both within Australia and globally, in terms of implementing new technology and  standardisation.

Cassandra Morris
Information for the Future: An Analysis of Shipwreck Artefact Records in South Australia
June 2013
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Thesis Abstracts
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