Documenting Your Collections
Info-Muse Network Documentation Guide

Les guides électroniques de la SMQ

The Info-Muse classification system for ethnology, history and historical archaeology museums

The Info-Muse classification system for ethnology, history and historical archaeology museums is largely based on the classification system for Parks Canada Service collections,1 itself based in part on The Revised Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging.2 This system is the fruit of collaboration between Parks Canada, the Musée de la civilisation and the Société des musées québécois. The definitions of terms are drawn mainly from the Parks Canada document.

The classification system makes it possible to group objects in a collection by their original function. It divides them up into a hierarchy in which the smallest unit is the object name, the intermediate unit is the sub-category and the largest unit is the category. This structure makes it possible to organize information on object identification in a logical, meaningful manner. Using a standardized system to divide up information makes it simpler to search for and access records. To maximize system performance, standardized terms must be used to identify the objects.

Using the classification system gives a better overview of collections, so that users can spot similarities and differences, groupings and contrasts within a collection itself. In addition to offering better understanding of the content of collections, the classification system promotes reflection on guidelines for collecting, research options and ideal means of sharing the knowledge gained.

The Info-Muse Network also offers a classification system for fine arts and decorative arts museums. Choose the one that corresponds most closely to the nature of your collections.

  1. ENVIRONMENT CANADA, CANADIAN PARKS SERVICE. Classification System for Historical Collections.Ottawa: Canada Communication Group Publishing, 1992.
  2. BLACKABY, James R. et al. The Revised Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging, A Revised and Expanded Version of Robert G. Chenhall's System for Classifying Man-Made Objects. Nashville: American Association for State and Local History Press, 1988. © Société des musées du Québec