Frequently Asked Questions

How we work, what we do, and our approach

 

GENERAL QUESTIONS

What’s an archivist?


Not sure? You’re not alone. Archivists are professionals who identify, preserve, organize and make accessible records of enduring value. Whether we work for individuals, institutions, governments or corporations, we create systems to ensure that cultural and historical records are available to those who need to use them.




What kind of training do professional archivists receive?


Archivists may have graduate degrees in history (MA/PhD), library and information science (MLIS) or archival management. In addition, many graduate history and library science programs offer specialized archival coursework and certification as well. Regardless of academic path, archivists are highly organized and precise individuals committed to managing the long-term preservation and access to cultural and historical materials.




What’s your philosophy as an archivist?


Following best practices in the archives and preservation field, our approach in providing archival, collection management and home inventory services is holistic, practical, responsible, simple and straightforward. We want clients to feel confident that our services will ensure the responsible stewardship of their collections and property. We listen carefully and make no judgements. We suggest customized solutions that match your needs, expectations and goals. We’re patient hand-holders, especially if clients feel overwhelmed.




When do I need professional archival services?


When the organization of your studio or collection has you overwhelmed, frustrated or feels beyond your control, we can provide professional advice, guidance and support. We’ll review your space, collection housing, cataloging system, storage and environment to make recommendations and implement the best possible conditions for your studio or collection needs.




What do you offer that I couldn’t do myself?


Experience and expertise. As a collection manager in a prestigious corporate archive, I’ve overseen and managed the care, arrangement, description, housing, labeling and cataloging of archival records, artifacts, photographs and works of art in a wide range of media. I’ve created inventories and finding aids to enable access to these varied collections. I can devise a solution that’s right for you.

I have experience working with professional art movers and handlers to safely pack, crate, transport and install works, and with architects, designers, facility managers, and security specialists on the design and construction of archival facilities. I bring the knowledge and skills learned in an institutional setting to help clients with their artworks and personal collections.




Are you insured?


Yes. Shelley Diamond Archival Solutions carries general and professional liability insurance.




Do you provide supplies?


We order all archival and preservation supplies recommended for projects (e.g. folders, sleeves, boxes, etc.). Expenses for all supplies are billed to the client at cost.




Do you have a brochure I can download?


Yes, please click download to access my online brochure. If you would like one mailed, please complete my contact form and include your address with your request.





ARTISTS / COLLECTORS / ESTATE SERVICES

What’s your focus working with artists?


Our emphasis is helping you feel more in control of your work and the “paperwork” normally generated in managing your business. We begin with creating a detailed inventory of your work. This might include devising an easy-to-use numbering system or refining your current system to help track the location of individual pieces. We recommend creating an uncomplicated recordkeeping system to efficiently organize invoices, contacts, consignments, sales, exhibition history, etc. It’s simple: better studio organization helps you manage your business and legacy.




What kinds of collections do you work with?


We work with all types of collections: fine art, decorative art, photography, antiques, collectibles, memorabilia, manuscripts. Reach out to us to discuss what you collect and how we can help you.




What’s your focus working with collectors?


We believe most collectors want to feel secure knowing they can easily locate pieces in their collection. This is particularly critical for collectors with multiple residences. There’s no need to experience anxiety searching for misplaced works. We’ll ensure that your inventory system inspires confidence and is easy to use. We can assess your housing and storage environment to recommend safe and practical solutions for the long-term care of your collection. We also consider how New York City’s notoriously overheated apartments and seasonal temperature and humidity swings may affect individual works. Additionally, we can help manage your documentation by devising a system to organize sales receipts, gallery/dealer contact information, appraisals, conservation reports, loan documents, insurance, provenance and other significant information related to your collection.




What’s your focus working with an artist’s estate?


One of the major tasks of an estate is creating a complete record of the artist’s work and personal papers. This can feel overwhelming for heirs or executors, especially if the estate contains uncatalogued work and source material. We can help by creating an inventory and a finding aid of significant papers, both of which determine the monetary value of the estate and are essential if heirs or executors intend to place the estate with an institution.

An artist’s estate inventory will include basic descriptive data about individual works, as well as documentation about installation, maintenance, ownership, exhibition history, copyrights, trademarks and other intellectual property. We believe cataloging an artist’s papers – letters, catalogs, photographs, speeches, news clippings, writings – is critical to understanding and protecting the artist’s oeuvre and legacy, and to enable future scholars and critics to understand the artist’s historical and social context.




What’s involved in engaging Shelley Diamond Archival Solutions?


  • We begin with a free phone consultation to get an overview of your needs and to identify your goals, expectations and concerns.

  • We follow-up with a site visit to evaluate your studio or collection and related issues.

  • We prepare a written proposal that details the scope of the job and cost. The proposal will prioritize tasks and can be adjusted or modified to fit your goals. The steps will be practical and attainable. We’re can also implement steps in stages to match your budget.

  • We ask clients to sign a services agreement with Shelley Diamond Archival Solutions that ensures we’re all on the same page. You’ll know what’s involved and what services will be provided.




Where is work conducted?


All work is conducted on-site at your studio, storage space or home. We bring any tools and small equipment required to conduct work, unless the project dictates more elaborate equipment or arrangements. We prefer a dedicated work area and use of a client’s Wi-Fi, as well as the flexibility to leave some materials on-site through the duration of the project.





HOMEOWNER INVENTORY SERVICES

Why do I need a home inventory?


Because a home insurance policy isn’t enough protection for your personal property. If you have an unplanned disaster, the burden is on you to prove your loss to your insurance company, so it’s better to be proactive and prepared. A home inventory is a list and visual record. It’s a record of your personal property. It provides the best evidence substantiating the quantity and value of your assets for your insurance company.

Some things, like family photos and heirlooms, can’t be replaced. But when you file a claim with your insurance company, you expect to receive the full replacement value for much of your property. It doesn’t matter if your furniture was purchased at Ikea or Knoll. If destroyed, you’d need to replace it. A home inventory is the smartest way to protect your property and ensure that your insurance policy protects you when you need it. It can save you a lot of money.




Who needs a home inventory?


Anyone who owns personal property (everyone). Anyone who can’t list from memory everything they own (probably everyone). Anyone who expects to replace their personal property if destroyed (definitely everyone). Anyone who’s buying a home insurance policy and needs to know the value of their belongings to help them purchase the right amount of coverage (definitely everyone).




What’s included on a home inventory?


Every asset in your home that has definitive value including furniture, electronics, computer equipment, appliances, kitchen goods, textiles, sports equipment, works of art, etc. All the property you’d expect to replace if permanently ruined or destroyed.




Why hire Shelley Diamond Archival Solutions?


Compiling a home inventory is time-consuming and I can create one easily and effectively. You may not have the time or inclination to undertake the task. Plus, you may feel like compiling a home inventory is daunting. But even if you decide not to hire us, we encourage you to create your own.




How do I schedule a home inventory?


  • We begin with a free phone consultation to review our services, identify your goals and gather basic information about your residence (e.g. number of rooms, floors, quantity of property).

  • We follow-up with a free site visit to estimate the time involved in creating your inventory. We like to meet in person to answer any questions you have. You’re a participant in the process.

  • We prepare a written work proposal and estimate.

  • We ask clients to sign a services agreement with Shelley Diamond Archival Solutions that ensures we’re all on the same page. You’ll know what’s involved and what services will be provided.

We then schedule a convenient time to conduct the home inventory. We’re happy to accommodate your work schedule and family needs.




How is a home inventory prepared?


We work room-by-room, photographing individual items and capturing descriptive data about your property. We bring minimal tools: a phone, iPad, laptop, portable scanner. Access to your home Wi-Fi is appreciated. We work quietly but may require some assistance from clients while we conduct the inventory. We do ask clients to tidy their home before we arrive to enable the most efficient use of our time.

After gathering descriptive property data, we’ll review the inventory and flag individual items that are clearly the most valuable. We can also help you organize purchase and valuation information you gather from your home files. We can scan your paperwork and attach the documentation to your inventory.




What kind of software is used?


We use a cloud-based collaborative website platform, which is essentially an online database and spreadsheet. It’s visually clean, very flexible and intuitive for clients to learn and navigate once the inventory is complete. We’ve designed a template to capture vital information about your property, which we customize for each client. After the inventory is done, we transfer access to you, help set up your cloud account and train you on use and navigation.

The cloud-based service offers both free and premium usage plans based on the number of records created and the number of users accessing the account. Most clients are likely to have fewer than 1200 individual items listed on their home inventory and will qualify for the free plan. However, should your home inventory exceed the 1200 record content limit, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid, premium plan, which the website bills on a per-user, per-monthly fee. The premium plan is quite affordable.




In what format is the home inventory? What will I receive?


There are several options. It will reside in the cloud. It can also be printed, downloaded as a CRV file, saved on portable media and, with a mobile app, accessed from your phone anytime, anywhere. Regardless of format, what’s critical is that a copy of your home inventory is accessible outside of your home in an emergency. A safe deposit box is a perfect place to keep a copy. We’re happy to store back-up digital copies at no charge. With a cloud-based service, your inventory is always accessible and backed up on a secure server.




Do I need to maintain my home inventory?


Yes, your inventory should be kept up-to-date to give you the most protection. Like most consumers, you purchase new items throughout the year and periodically dispose of others. As your personal property evolves, it makes sense to revise your home inventory yearly or when you make large purchases. Once created, it’s much easier to add or remove items from the inventory. We offer annual updating services as well.




Do you offer training sessions?


Yes. Shelley Diamond Archival Solutions also offers home inventory training sessions if you’d prefer to conduct one yourself. We’ll teach you the most efficient methods, set you up with software and our template, and guide you through the documentation process.




More questions?


Feel free to reach out to us with any additional questions you may have about our services.

shelleydiamondarchivist@gmail.com or 718.536.6428





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