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Documentation is essentially Information Science in a Museum setting. Documentation's aim is the recording of museum information in such a way that it is both retrievable and worth retrieving.

Documentation is held by documentalists to be essential to all aspects of a museum's activities. Collections without adequate documentation they say are not true museum collections.


Documentation as a the name for an activity requires as much explanation as the activity itself. Why do museums have documentation when Libraries for instance have Library Information Science? Why not Museum Information Science?

Documentation and Collection Management

The relationship between documentation and collection management has been coloured, in the UK at least, and possibly to a lesser extent in the wider museum community, by the production and existence of SPECTRUM. This standard was created by documentalists (the UK MDA now Collections Trust) to describe the procedures a museum might wish to document on the way to defining the units of information required to manage these procedures. However, what was conceived and intended as an aid to information management, has become, as a result of its thoroughness and clarity and in the absence of anything better, the de facto standard for the practical performance of collections management, a task for which it was not designed.
Documentation as a discipline has many conceptions and definitions.

See also

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