The Registration Number (registration no in Small Museums Cataloguing Manual) can also be referred to as the accession number or record number.
It is a unique number used to identify an item.
There are many different ways to number items. Whatever method is chosen, be consistent.
Items can be numbered numerically - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc
Zeros can be added before the numbers - 0001, 0002, 0003, 0004, 0005 etc
Collections may be divided into sections - photographs - books - documents - artefacts - and a letter indicating the section used before the sequential number - P0001, P0002, P0003, P0004, P0005 etc A0001, A0002, A0003, A0004, A0005 etc
Collections may be divided into subject categories - schools - families etc - and a letter indicating the subject category used before the sequential number - S0001, S0002, S0003 etc
Barcode numbers can be used
If the records are to be included in a regional database a code indicating the name of the organisation may be required before the sequential number - W0001, W0002, W0003 etc or VKHS0001, VKHS002, VKHS0003 etc whatever type of code is decided by the regional database co-ordinator. This ensures individual numbers for all items in the regional database.
In the Victorian Local History Database both the Registration Number field and the Museum Code field are combined to create the individual number so any existing system used by organisations in recording record numbers can be accepted.
Some organisations have devised more complicated numbering systems representing, for example, name of organisation, type of item, subject category and numerical sequence, for example DD5AF1D3
If an item has multiple parts they can be distinguished using subdivisions such as WH0404.1, WH0404.2
Note it is advisable not to use the slash (/) sign to indicate the subdivision of a number as some database programs use this symbol as a Boolean search operator resulting in confusion when searching for Registration Numbers if used.
Whatever numbering system is chosen it must be provide a unique number for each item.
If Registration Numbers have not already been allocated for items and cataloguing is starting from scratch some programs provide the option of automatic numbering systems. Make sure that the number allocated is then recorded on the item.