Documenting Your Collections
Info-Muse Network Documentation Guide

Les guides électroniques de la SMQ

Medium (Physical Description)

Field to be used with an authority listField used for ethnology and history collectionsField used for fine and decorative arts collectionsSociété des musées québécois Info-Muse database field


  • This field contains the name of the medium or media used in making a two-dimensional object (painting, print, photograph, etc.).


  1. For better search results in your database, avoid using a large variety of terms; draw up an authority list and add keywords as necessary.1
  2. This field is used in conjunction with the Support field, which indicates the type of support material on which the medium was applied.

      Object Name painting
    Medium acrylic
  3. Use the Medium and Support fields only for two-dimensional objects.

      Object Namephotograph
    Medium silver print
  4. For a three-dimensional object, use the Material and Technique fields.

      Object Name sculpture
      Material wood; paint
     Technique carved; painted

Entry rules:

  1. Enter the medium as a singular noun.

     and not 
  2. Do not enter an article or preposition before the medium name.

    Medium pencil
     and not 
     Medium in pencil
  3. Enter the different media from the most predominant to the least predominant. Multiple entries should be separated by a semicolon followed by a space.

      Object Namedrawing
    Medium gouache; pencil
  4. If you are unsure whether your information is correct, include a space and a question mark after the keyword.

      Object Namedrawing
    Medium chalk ?; charcoal ?

  1. You can consult Bénichou, Anne. Documentation Standards in Contemporary Art. Ottawa: Canadian Heritage Information Network, 1993. [Information up to date as of June 20, 2006]. © Société des musées du Québec