- The scope of the collection
- is broad, including hand tools, implements, devices, instruments,
and supplies used in the exercise of any craft or trade practiced in
America since Colonial times. Complex machinery has in general been
excluded, as have implements dependent on chemical changes, such
as explosives, reagents, anesthetics, or fuels.
- The character of the catalogue's users, actual, intended, or potential,
- together with character of the material, define
its structure. The intended users of this catalogue include most people
with an historical interest in tools and technology:
- The staff of the collection.
- The staff at other collections or museums.
- Private collectors, serious or casual.
- Artifact dealers.
- Historical researchers, serious or casual.
- Restoration staff members.
- Restorers, professional or amateur.
- Students, from Middle School through Graduate School.
- The paying public.
- Many of the familiar bibliographic access points
- become problematic when applied to hand tools.
seldom sport a title page, o
- or any readily ascertainable title,
- or author,
- or date of manufacture. Their
- design is often traditional, little modified through
- but sometimes novel and patented.
- They are frequently modified or customized or
altered from their original state.
- They may be commercially manufactured
or hand made.
- Very detailed physical description may be required, and
yet may be inadequate for distinguishing one tool from another of the
same general type.
- And subject access becomes a struggle to establish meaning
for the item in a set of contexts, rather than an answer to the question
"what is it about?".
- Tools are signicant only when connected to the contexts
- that give them meaning. E.g.:
Bear in mind that these connections may overlap and contradict one another.
Three steel 14tpi 20cm frame saws of identical manner of operation, manufactured
by the same company in the same town in the same year, and all used by
practitioners named Bob, nevertheless occupy very different places if
one cuts bone in the hands of a surgeon, another bone in the hand of a
butcher's boy, and one veneer in the hands of a cabinet maker. Two froes
of identical appearance may be distinguished as belonging to a chairmaker
and a barrel maker, though probably each could get by with the other's;
two sets of one-piece shears of identical appearance distinguished as
grass shears and sheep shears. As the 1889 Sears Catalogue warns, the
customer should not try to use the former to do the job of the latter.
- The trade or craft that employed them.
- The manner in which they are to be used.
- The task for which they were designed.
- The physical location in which they were to be found when in use.
- The material that they were designed to manipulate. A pipe wrench
is meaningless without pipe.
- The manner of their operation (sawing, boring, piercing, slicing,
splitting, applying leverage or torque or pressure, containing, grasping,
- Problems with implementation include
- Identifying items and dates.
- Coping with uneven levels of information.
- Controlling vocabularies at every level, including that of title,
craft, function, and manner of operation. Even material.
- Controlling hierarchy
- Integrating visual indices