Answers (Exercises 1 and 4 Only)

Answers to exercise 1: Quiz – The How and Why of Documenting Collections

  • 1) A well-documented collection encourages sound management and promotion of the objects.
    • True
  • 2) The only way to conserve the collections in the long run is to preserve their physical integrity.
    • False
  • 3) A descriptive system of the collection, or documentation system, is a logical, ordered and meticulous organization of the information on each of the elements making up the collections.
    • True
  • 4) An inventory is systematic and meticulous analysis of the descriptive and contextual information of each element of a collection.
    • False
  • 5) We can distinguish three principal processes when documenting the collections:
    • a) counts, physical inventory, cataloguing
  • 6) The collection's physical inventory enables you:
    • b) to determine the collections' nature and size in order to plan storage space more precisely.
  • 7) List the advantages and disadvantages of each documenting process.
    Enable you to collect a minimal amount of information on all of the objects in the collection within a short timeframe and with few resources, and provide a basic but useful tool for collections' internal management. Only a small amount of information can be collected on each object, so the knowledge about it is limited.
    Physical inventory:
    Enables you to collect more detailed information on each object, increasing the knowledge you have about it. Enables you to plan space requirements for storage or exhibition more precisely. Allows for better dissemination by means of photographic reproductions of the objects. It takes more time to complete the work, thus requiring a larger investment in both human and financial resources.
    Enables you to collect detailed, contextual information about the objects, promoting both sound management and an in-depth knowledge of the collections. With a deeper understanding of the collections, you can provide direction for developmental and promotional activities. However, cataloguing requires a significant investment in research time, so it is often limited to the major pieces found in collections.

Answers to Exercise 4: Recap Quiz

  • 1) Use the following terms to complete the definitions below (a term can only be used once).
    descriptive system
    group of things
    • a) Above all, standardization is the use of approved and common standards in order to facilitate the understanding, retrieval, dissemination and the exchange of information about the collections.
    • b) A classification system consists of a hierarchical presentation of information aimed at facilitating access to it.
    • c) An inventory is "a process that consists of counting and describing the elements that make up the assets of a group, of a succession, etc.", or "a meticulous and detailed examination of a group of things."
    • d) A descriptive system of the collections is a logical, meticulous and ordered organization of the information on each of the elements making up the collections.
    • e) The classification system serves to group elements that share common characteristics in distinct, and often mutually exclusive, categories that facilitate their organization and their retrieval.
  • 2) Why is a classification system used?
    • a) To group objects into categories
  • 3) The standardization of content is based on a number of general conventions for the descriptive system of the collections as a whole, such as:
    • d) All of the above
  • 4) There are two types of authority lists:
    • a) closed lists and open lists
  • 5) Standardization is not only important for documenting collections and organizing them more effectively and efficiently, but also essential for:
    • a) eliminating manual files and old descriptions
  • 6) Good documentation facilitates:
    • c) responsible management and promotion of collections
  • 7) Standardization of information ensures the reliability of the entire database and:
    • d) all of the above
  • 8) For the natural sciences collections, the Latin taxonomy already provides a universally accepted scientific method of classifying specimens. Latin taxonomy allows for great precision owing to its eight divisions, which are:
    • b) kingdom, division/phylum, class, order, family, genus, species, variety
  • 9) Identify four components that cannot be overlooked in a good action plan:
    • a) assessment of the situation
    • c) detailed budget
    • d) project schedule
    • h) project objectives
  • 10) Who am I? Using the Artefacts Canada Data Dictionary, associate the name of the field with its description. In the second column, write the letter that corresponds to the correct definition of the field identified in the first column.
    h) This field contains the object's title. For fine art, the curatorial title is based on the one assigned by the artist. Enter the title in full in English or French, without quotation marks or additional punctuation.
    c) This field contains the preferred name of the object's manufacturer.
    d) This field names the discipline or branch of learning under which the object may fall.
    b) This field lists the materials used to make a three-dimensional object such as a sculpture, historical artefact or ethnographic artefact.
    i) This field contains the name of the historical period or any non-numeric chronological data associated with the object.
    e) This field contains comments, stories or contextual information about the object. It can include associated people, organizations, places and events in the object's history, comments from an interpretive/curatorial perspective, text of a wall label, entry from a published catalogue, etc.
    a) This field lists the methods, processes or materials used to create a two-dimensional object such as a painting, print or photograph.
    Unit Linear
    j) This field contains the linear unit of measurement (metric or Imperial) used consistently for the dimension fields and expressed in an international codes or abbreviation. All object measurements should be done using the same unit.
    Accession Number
    g) This field contains the object’s museum accession number. If there is only one number to identify the object, it should be entered here. Ideally, the accession number is a unique record identifier.
    f) This field identifies the culture associated with the object based on its social/geographic origin, and contains the primary information on culture.

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