This page is part of the International Guidelines for Museum Object Information: The CIDOC Information Categories. Developed by the International Committee for Documentation (CIDOC) of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), this is a description of the Information Categories that can be used when developing records about the objects in museum collections. For more information about the Guidelines, turn to the initial page
At the 1993 CIDOC Board meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the CIDOC Data and Terminology Working Group was charged with developing a set of Information Categories for museum objects. This product was intended to be used by the international museum community, especially small museums with no access to existing standards and those in developing countries.
Members of the Data and Terminology Working Group had previously developed Information Categories for art and archaeological collections (International Council of Museums. International Committee for Documentation, 1992 and 1993). In addition, the Data Model Working Group had carried out theoretical work on Information Categories, leading to the development of a data model (International Council of Museums. International Committee for Documentation, 1995a and b). It was therefore decided that the project would be a collaboration between the two groups.
A project team was set up from the membership of the Working Groups, chaired by Toni Petersen of the Data and Terminology Working Group and Alice Grant of the Data Model Working Group. Liaisons were also formed with four other initiatives which are concerned with identifying Information Categories for specific purposes:
The first priority was to review existing national and international information standards. In October 1993, CIDOC members in 19 countries were invited to contribute to the project. This request yielded 19 data standards (see Contributions to the Development Process). A later request for standards from natural history museums added another four. The project coordinator reviewed these standards and took into account the original list of categories promulgated by CIDOC in 1978, the Information Categories for art and archaeology, the data model, and the lists under development by the liaison groups. An analysis was drawn up, identifying the categories that were in common in these sources.
The main Information Categories in these Guidelines emerged from this analysis. At a meeting in London in April 1994, sponsored by AHIP, members of the project team reviewed the analysis and agreed on the content of a first draft report, provisionally titled Minimum Information Categories for Museum Objects. This draft was the subject of two sessions at the 1994 CIDOC Conference in Washington, D.C. As a result of suggestions from the project team and conference participants, the Guidelines underwent extensive revision.
The project team is aware that these Guidelines have not acquired the status of an official standard. At this point they should be read as a proposal toward a consensus throughout the international museum community. We will be satisfied if we have achieved that much.
Alice Grant, Joséphine Nieuwenhuis, and Toni
Williamstown and London, June 1995
Move to initial page or the next section, Acknowledgements
file: guidepre.htm; author: CIDOC; updated June 1995