Skip to content

Documentation and Cataloging

The Alliance has compiled this set of resources on documentation and cataloging from throughout the nonprofit and museum sector.

Cataloging Guidelines

The National Park Service’s (NPS) Museum Handbook (PDF) has cataloging guidelines for describing objects and their condition, measuring and weighing objects, and cataloging pairs and parts of a set.

Documenting Museum Collections

The National Park Service’s Museum Handbook (PDF) has a 13-page chapter that discusses protection of collections records. It lists common threats and preventive actions. It also details the requirements for the cabinets and rooms where paper records and computer media are stored (PDF pages 9-12).

Inventory and Other Special Instructions

The National Park Service’s (NPS) Museum Handbook (PDF) has a 73-page chapter that addresses several collection management issues including inventory.

Lot Cataloging

The National Park Service’s (NPS) Museum Handbook (PDF) has a section discusses lot cataloging, which is frequently used with archeology and natural history collections. It includes sample completed catalog records.

Recommended Resources for Assessing and Selecting Collections Management Software (CMS)

History Associates, an exhibit development company, shares a list of resources to help museums choose the best collections management software systems.

AAM Member-Only Content

AAM Members get exclusive access to premium digital content including:

  • Featured articles from Museum magazine
  • Access to more than 1,500 resource listings from the Resource Center
  • Tools, reports, and templates for equipping your work in museums
Log In

We're Sorry

Your current membership level does not allow you to access this content.

Upgrade Your Membership

Subscribe to Field Notes!

Packed with stories and insights for museum people, Field Notes is delivered to your inbox every Monday. Once you've completed the form below, confirm your subscription in the email sent to you.

If you are a current AAM member, please sign-up using the email address associated with your account.

Are you a museum professional?

Are you a current AAM member?

Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription, and please add communications@aam-us.org to your safe sender list.