Documentation and Cataloging
Museum documentation involves the gathering and use of information about objects in a museum collection. Cataloging is the process of recording detailed information about individual items or groups of related items. The Alliance has compiled this set of resources on documentation and cataloging from throughout the nonprofit and museum sector.
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.
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).
The National Park Service’s (NPS) Museum Handbook (PDF) has a 73-page chapter that addresses several collection management issues including inventory.
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.
History Associates, an exhibit development company, shares a list of resources to help museums choose the best collections management software systems.