Records for time-based media works of art

Records for time-based media installations hold a great deal of information which can be difficult to manage.

Below is a guide to the type of material you might find in a record for a time-based media work and a suggested way of organising this information into sections within your file or binder.


  • Accession Number
  • Artist
  • Title
  • Medium
  • Description
  • Dimensions
  • Duration
  • Image size (max / min)
  • Room size

Acquisition and registration

  • Incoming receipt
  • Bill of sale
  • Purchase agreement / Deed of gift
  • In some cases you might have a commissioning agreement or a co-ownership agreement note to introduction to legal documents
  • Curatorial proposal
  • Copy of the Certificate of authenticity or the original
  • Copyright agreement
  • Acquisition correspondence
  • Original inventory of media/ display equipment/ sculptural components which are part of the acquisition
  • Cost assessment
  • Acquisition assessment

Dedicated component information

  • Media
  • Diagram or list of media components which shows the format, when it was made, what it was made from and what it is used for.
  • Display equipment
  • List of dedicated equipment which came as part of the purchase (say why it is dedicated)
  • Manuals
  • Sculptural components

Display specifications

Display history

  • List of prior displays
  • Information about displays and other editions of the work
  • Photographs relating to prior displays
  • Texts relating to prior displays
  • Display summary, including equipment used, logs of minor incidents reported during display, display maintenance procedures, budgets, installation plans, notes about exhibition formats made for the display, photographs, correspondence.
  • Loan documents

Artist information

  • Artist and gallery contact sheet
  • Correspondence with the artist
  • Artist recommended technical specifications
  • Artist’s statement
  • Artist’s interview

Art historical research / context

  • Documents relating to the artwork, including other editions
  • Exhibition reviews

Structure and condition assessments

Ongoing care

  • Media migration record
  • Template
  • Conservation treatment reports/ treatment photographs
  • Major damage reports
  • Storage guidelines
  • Disaster plan recommendations
  • Scientific analysis reports
  • Guidelines for packing and transport