Documenting Your Collections
Info-Muse Network Documentation Guide

Les guides électroniques de la SMQ

Definition of categories and sub-categories

  1. Fine Arts
  This category includes works of art created for contemplation. It takes in different forms of expression or disciplines, which correspond to the sub-categories.
  A work of art in the form of a book or album. This sub-category includes illustrated books, artists' books, object books and albums belonging to more than one discipline. It does not include sketchbooks, which are to be classified in the "Drawing" sub-category, albums of prints, which are to be classified in the "Print" sub-category, or photograph albums, which are to be classified in the "Photography" sub-category.
  A work of art, most often two-dimensional, consisting mainly of lines made directly on the surface of the support, generally paper. This sub-category includes drawing notebooks, albums containing mostly drawings, collages, silhouettes and illuminations. It also includes digital drawings.
  A work of art created from paper or other animal, mineral, metallic, plant or synthetic fibre. Consists of hollowed-out, flat or relief shapes rather than lines or graphic signs as in traditional drawings; may also include materials or highlighting done with dry or liquid media.
  A work of contemporary art associating various materials or objects in a given space that forms an integral part of the work. Installations are characterized by their multidisciplinary approach.
Mixed Media
  A work of art employing different expressive techniques associated with at least two sub-categories, unless one sub-category is obviously predominant. The different media, supports and materials are often mixed with three-dimensional elements or found objects. Complementary collages or assemblages, however, are not necessarily considered mixed medias. Similarly, installations are not part of this sub-category, because of the concept of space that forms an integral part of the work.
Multimedia Work
  A work of art created with technology using electronics, computers or new means of communication, unless it is less important or less evident than of another sub-category.
  A work of art, most often two-dimensional, produced mainly through the application of one or more dry or liquid media, in masses of colour more than in lines, on one or more generally rigid supports.
  A work of art, most often two-dimensional, produced by the action of light or any other type of radiant energy on a sensitive surface. This sub-category includes holograms and digital photography.
  A work of art, most often two-dimensional, presenting an image printed from a matrix or any other printing process, including digital. This sub-category also includes albums of prints.
  A three-dimensional work of art suggesting shapes, representations or volumes in space.
  A work of art, created by recording and processing images, possibly accompanied by sound, using electronic means, on magnetic media, film or digital media.
  2. Decorative Arts
  This category includes decorative objects and utilitarian objects that may or may not have aesthetic value. The sub-categories in the "Decorative Arts" category refer to different families or groups of applied arts and their application to industry, as well as individual creations. "Fabrication of" or "Work in" is understood in the sub-category names.

In classifying objects, first use the sub-category of which the generic term is related to the function, e.g. "Jewellery," "Game/Toy" or "Furnishings," and then the more specific sub-category related to the raw material used, such as "Ceramics," "Enamels" or "Ivory," etc.

  An object created to bind the pages of a book together using artisanal methods. Such objects are often included in leatherwork. Artists' books should be included in the "Book/Album" sub-category of the "Fine Arts" category.
  An object created from clay or any other derived product (faïence, porcelain, etc.). Some ceramic figurines, such as Etruscan or pre-Columbian figurines, are associated with sculpture. This restriction also applies to more-contemporary pieces, with the exception of knick-knacks.
  An object made from plant, mineral, animal or synthetic fibres, created to cover the body. This sub-category includes clothing accessories.
  An object obtained by applying a vitreous coating to a hard surface and then baking it to solidify it. Enamels are most often made on metal plates.
  An object created to make individuals comfortable in their working and living areas. The "Furnishings" sub-category includes all objects used in homes and other premises, such as chairs, tables and desks.
  An object created for entertainment. This sub-category includes games and puppets.
  An object created from glass. Pieces associated with the "Furnishings," "Stained Glass" and "Mosaics" sub-categories are not included.
Gold- and Silversmithing
  An object fabricated by a gold- or silversmith from precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum. It may be for decoration, adornment, worship, table service or other domestic use, and may also serve as a medium of exchange.
Graphic Design
  An object created to develop a concept or image to attract public attention to a product, a service or an event and to encourage a positive reaction to the elements promoted. This sub-category may include posters or advertising logos, trademarks and company logos.
Industrial Design
  An object produced in series and created with industrial methods intended to achieve a high level of formal quality. Although this encompasses all objects in the human environment, it is best to choose sub-categories related to such traditional groups as "Furnishings," "Jewellery" and "Game/Toy."
  An object resulting from working ivory. Relief pieces (diptychs and triptychs) and figures related to sculpture should be included in the "Sculpture" sub-category, and paintings on ivory in the "Painting" sub-category, both in the "Fine Arts" category.
  An object created to be worn on the body or on clothing as an ornament. This sub-category includes talismans or amulets to which magic powers are attributed.
  An object created from metal. This sub-category includes weapons and armour. Objetcs of gold, silver or platinum, however, are included in the "Gold- and Silversmithing" sub-category, while some other metal objects are associated with the "Jewellery" and "Furnishings" sub-categories.
  An object created by assembling tessera or small heterogeneous pieces (enamels, marble, stone, smalt, terra cotta, glass, etc.), generally cemented together and combined to form a motif or image.
  An object, most often of struck or cast metal, characteristic in shape, used as a medium of exchange (coins), commemoration (medals) or authentication (seals).
Stained Glass
  An object or panel whose transparent composition is achieved by assembling pieces (mainly glass) or plates of coloured or painted glass.
  An object consisting of plant, mineral, animal or synthetic fibres or materials, with the exception of those associated with the "Costume" sub-category. These hand-made or machine-made objects are used to decorate inhabited spaces.
Various Crafts
  An object created by craft techniques, using various materials, and which cannot be included in any other sub-category.
  An object or paper created to decorate walls and woodwork. This work, associated particularly with interior decoration, is related to printing techniques.
  A utilitarian object produced by woodwork. This sub-category includes carved ornaments or reliefs applied to architectural elements. Furniture and furniture accessories are associated with the "Furnishings" sub-category and objects created by carving, such as figureheads, are included in the "Sculpture" sub-category of the "Fine Arts" category. © Société des musées du Québec