Friday, November 13, 2009

Small Museums Cataloguing Manual

The 4th edition of the Small Museums Cataloguing Manual is now available online on the Museums Australia (Vic) website -

The manual is a guide to cataloguing object and image collections. The third edition of the catloguing manual was published in 1996 and although the information provided on cataloguing objects in particular was excellent it made little reference to the computer cataloguing of collections. The new edition assumes that computer catalogues are being created to record information about collection items.

There has been a substantial revision of the fields included in the 4th edition of the manual.
Sections provided in the new edition are:

Registration No
Object Name
Inscriptions and Markings
Makers Details
When Made
Where Made
When Used
Where Used
Acquisition Details
Storage Location
Current Location
Supplementary File

A number of sections are no longer included in the new structure. The most notable field omitted from the new structure is classification.

When cataloguing objects I always recommend to societies that they follow the guidelines in the Small Museums Cataloguing Manual.

However when cataloguing items to be used specifically for information / research such as books, photographs, maps audio visual material, documents, ephemera, newspapers etc. some modifications to the structure make the cataloguing of these items easier to catalogue and to use.

Future posts will contain suggestions for cataloguing non object collections.

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