Textiles are the image of the cultural heritage of any place at a point of time, so it needs to be preserved for future generation. But textiles are fragile in nature and are going to deteriorate if proper care is not taken. Documentation is one of the alternatives. Analytical data reflecting to historical, technical and aesthetic of the craft must be covered in the documentation. By documenting artifacts in detail the knowledge of traditional textile can be disseminated to the future generation which may not have the privilege to see the artifacts physically and appreciate it.


Documentation is essential to the advancement of research, teaching and learning, and also to capture our cultural memory and preserve the human record for future generation. There are three methods to document, i.e. Textual, Visual and Audio Visual documentation which can be in multiple formats and are usually used in conjunction. The choice of methods in which work is documented is up to the discretion of the conservator based on the object on that work is going on.


1. Textual Documentation

Free-Text:

It is an essay style form which records the conservation work in a sentence structure or a point form structure on an open page. It gives written information about the document but much depends on the conservator as how and what he documents. It takes more time comparatively and is laborious also. This type is considered as ideal type of documentation as it gives the original picture of the document in narrative form. The viewer need not touch the fragile artifact again and again and cause damage. Also it is useful when the artifact is not available physically.


Check - List:

The check-list style of documentation form has become more popular in use for several reasons. For this type of documentation, standard list of the content required for documentation is used and the information is recorded. It gives standardized information and helps conservators also to ensure that all the required information is there. It is easy to retrieve information as the information is categorized properly. The major disadvantage is its limitation in providing flexibility to change the pre-prepared data according to the requirement of individual artifacts. This type of documentation is preferred when number of items of same class with similar characteristics needs to be documented.


2. Visual Documentation

This type of documentation has the advantage of more clarity as the objects are being viewed by the person in its original form. This is recommended to address a large group. Different forms of visual documentation are:


Photography:

Photography is one of the most effective methods. Different forms of photographs can be used for documentation. It can be done as black and white or coloured. Slides can be prepared for this type of documentation. The intention of a photograph can be: to illustrate the extent and location of damage and/or deterioration; to show details of new or old information contained in the object; to indicate the size of the entire object or the normal location of the object; to show the colouring of certain parts of the object or the entire object; and, amongst many others, to illustrate analytical or technical work or results.