You should decide as an organisation when you use parts and when you use related records or the group/member hierarchy. There are different ways to use these, and it's best to make sure you use them consistently to make searching and reporting easier.
We have some general examples to help you guide your decision about how to use these fields.
Situations where using Parts might work best:
We generally suggest using parts when the items you are working with belong to each other as a single entity, but has parts that can be removed without special tools and could be stored separately. For example:
•A teapot and its lid.
•An entire tea set a set of parts, with 8 cups, 8 saucers, a teapot, and a sugar bowl.
•A chair and it's broken off arm as separate parts of an object, until they are eventually repaired, as they could be stored in separate locations.
See our page on Object Parts for information on using parts: Object Parts
Situations where using Related Objects might work best:
We generally suggest using the Related Objects table where there are separate objects and can function independently, they are not parts of one another like in the parts examples.
•A natural science holotype specimen of an insect, and its DNA sample, which are held as separate objects but are related to each other.
•A set of objects that were received together as part of a significant acquisition.
•Objects that have been used or displayed together but don't have another formal connection, such as flatware and glassware that was used as the table settings for a significant historical dinner.
More information on the Related Objects table: Related Objects
You can also use the Related Object table to record accessories that belong to an object.
•If a vase in your collection has its own special stand that is used when it goes on display, you can create a separate non-accessioned accessory object record for the stand, and link the stand and the vase together as related objects.
•If you have a digital artwork that needs to be displayed with a projector, you could create a non-accessioned accessory object record for the projector and link it to the digital artwork's record. Doing this makes it easy to search for and find objects that have a relationship with each other.
More information on accessories and using the Accessories window: Accessories
Situations where using Group/Member objects might work best:
We generally suggesting using Group/Member objects when you need a hierarchical relationship between otherwise independent object records. Often this will be in archival collections, where this is used to describe and record the structure of files, series, and items.
You could also use this in cases where you have a portfolio of artworks, and you want to record the portfolio itself as the highest record in a group, and all of the works it contains as separate records below that.