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Standard Documentation Practices of

Philippine Museums : An Analysis*


Francisca Flores-Caberoy


* A paper presented to the International Council of Museums (ICOM)-Committee on Museum Documentation (CIDOC): Collecting Ideas, Connecting Ideas, August 25, 2000, during the conference held in Ottawa, Canada from August 22-26, 2000



Alberta Museums of Canada

National Commission for Culture and the Arts

National Museum of the Philippines

ICOM-CIDOC Organizing Committee

Philippine Embassy in Ottawa, CanadaAmbassador Francisco l. BenedictoConsul General Susan O. Castrenceand the Zabala Family, Scarborough, Canada


Standard Documentation Practices of Philippine Museums : An AnalysisbyFrancisca Flores-Caberoy

  • O U T L I N E
      • I. Introduction
      • A. Profile of Philippine Museums
      • B. Background of the Study
      • II. Standard Documentation Practices
      • A. Registration and Record Keeping
      • Standard Tools Needed: Registration Book, Deposit/Loan Form,
          • Glossary of Selected Documentation Terms
      • 1. Basic
      • 2. Intermediate
      • 3. Advance
      • B. Cataloguing
      • Standard Tool Needed: Guideline in Cataloguing
      • 1. Basic
      • 2. Advance
      • III.Recommendations and Challenges

Profile of Philippine Museums

  • Types of Museum/Collections
  • Historical/Memorabilia -
  • garments, documents,
  • paraphernalia, etc. used
  • by heroes and personages
  • in history.
  • Ethnological - material
  • culture of ethnic groups
  • Archaeological - rare,
  • outstanding archaeological
  • artifacts retrieved through
  • land and underwater archaeology
  • Ecclesiastical/Religious -
  • religious articles, images,
  • vestments, altars, church
  • decors, chandeliers, etc.
  • First Museums
  • National Museum of the Philippines -established in 1901-
  • University of Santo Tomas (UST) - 1897 but opened to the public in the early 1990’s
  • Museums According to Funding Source
  • Government/Public - 40 % (68)
  • Private - 45 % (75)
  • Semi-Private - 15 % (25)

Art Gallery -

  • significant paintings, sculptural works,
  • etc. worthy of museum study,
  • exhibition and conservation
  • Science and Technology -
  • materials explaining
  • scientific principles
  • and phenomena
  • including natural
  • history collections;
  • Other S & T museums: zoo & botanical gardens, parks and
  • wildlife sanctuaries, theme park
  • University/School Museum:books,
  • documents, photos of founders, equipment, furniture, art and other collections like natural history
  • Military, Police and Veterans - materials and equipment
  • used by military, police
  • Money Museum -
  • old money-bills
  • and coins, artworks
  • used in making money
  • Stamp Museum -
  • rare/unique,
  • important stamp;
  • artworks used in
  • making stamps

Background of the Study

  • National Survey Conducted 1993-1995
  • Questionnaire - 44 items: Basic -26; Intermediate - 12; Advance - 6
  • Self-Evaluation Checklist for Standard Documentation Practices
  • of Alberta Museums of Canada used as model
  • Methods of Research - Survey, Descriptive, Delphi analysis for the result
  • Delphi- 1st round - refinement of Cataloguing Form
  • 2nd round - identification of necessary tools for documentation and final
  • selection of standard practices appropriate for Philippine Museums
  • Museum Respondents - 71 (42.01 % ) Total museums = 169
  • Results:
    • 23 Philippine museums found high to moderate similarity with the Alberta Museums
    • UPLB Museum of Natural History had the highest similarity at 93.18 % (41 yes responses)
    • Philippine Museums in general have moderate similarity at 54.00 % ( n =1687 )
    • Registration and Record Keeping - most similar at 58.13 % ( n =1073 )
    • Cataloguing - moderately similar at 49.88 % ( n = 425 )
    • Loans, inventory,de-accessioning - second moderately similar at 44.3 % ( n = 189 )

Necessary Tools for Documentation

Registry Book - log book upon entry of object in the

collection (both for temporary and

permanent), sequential record listing

each accession as it is accepted to

museum’s permanent collection,

contains some important data only

Catalogue Form - written record of object,

data in ink, contains

all important data

including negative and


Deposit Form - receipt for outgoing museum object

relative to loan of collection to other

people or institution, contains date, name

and signature of person/institution,

description and present condition of

object, insurance value

Loan Form - record containing agreement for loan,

important data of relevant object(s) for

loan, signed by both parties (loaning/


  • Glossary of Selected Terms - listing with description of selected terms commonly used in museum documentation appropriate for each museum type , i.e. historical, ethnological, archaeological, art, etc.
  • Guidelines in Cataloguing - a set of standard rules and guidelines in accessioning, classifying, objects, and where to put the accession number, etc.

Standard Documentation Practices

  • Registration and Record Keeping
  • Standard Tools Needed: Registry Book, Catalogue Form, Deposit/Loan Receipt, Glossary of Selected Terms
  • Registration and record keeping assigned to a specific individual
  • Registration and record keeping are written in a Registry Book as defined in the Collections Management Manual
  • Museum has written loan policy:
    • Maintain registration of all loans
    • Deposit receipt issued for incoming materials on loan
    • Method of identifying incoming objects on loan
    • Each donated object has signed loan/donation agreement
    • Records containing loan information kept in a separate loan file
  • Accession register is written in permanent ink
  • Second copy of museum accession register kept off-site,ideally in a fire-proof vault
  • Assign a unique number to every object acquired in the collection
  • The unique number applied to an object is attached consistently according to conservation practices
  • Source of each object noted in a registry book
  • Master file made for each object
  • Files kept for each artist/maker represented in the collection
  • Nomenclature adopted to maintain a controlled vocabulary
  • All de-accessioning instances recorded
  • Objects in the permanent collection have photographic records

Registration and

  • Record Keeping
  • Intermediate Standard Practices
    • Registration unit established
    • Separate index by object source or donor list maintained
  • Advanced/specialized Standard Practices
  • Tools needed: Computer/relevant program
    • Records computerize


Basic Standard Practices

Tools needed: Guidelines in Cataloguing

* Objects catalogued as fully as possible, according to outlined procedure

* Cataloguing system provides for ready retrieval of information

* Museum’s curatorial staff and volunteers trained in cataloguing

and in retrieval of data

* Museum records kept secured, maintain controlled access

to records that included confidential information

* Provision made for updating records

* Object classification system used in registration and record keeping

* Conduct basic inventory periodically

Advanced Standard Practices

Tools needed: computer/program

* Catalogue records computerized


Dissemination of the standard practices to all museums through publication

Institutionalization of the standard documentation practices to Philippine museums including the standard registry book, catalogue/deposit/loan forms, glossary of selected terms and guidelines in cataloguing in the future

Writing and publication of books on selected documentation terms and guidelines for cataloguing


Perennial budgetary constraint to conduct research, writing of necessary publications and skills training to museum staff doing documentation work

Lack of museum professionals interested to conduct research and skills training on documentation since cultural institutions do not have funds for these activities, more so for fees of qualified museum professionals

Not much support from the government cultural agencies and other museums for the institutionalization of the said standard documentation practices among Philippine museums

R e f e r e n c e s
      • Ambros T. (1987) New Museums: A Start Up Guide. (First Publication)
      • Scottish Museums Council, Country House Edinburgh. Edinburgh.
      • Caberoy, F.F. (1995). A National Survey on Standard Documentation Practices
      • of Philippine Museums. (unpublished)
      • _______ (1997). Standard Documentation Practices of Philippine Museums.
      • NCCA. Manila, Philippines.
      • Cabuay, A. (1993) Museum Forms and Records. Lecture delivered in
      • in Intramuros, Manila in June 1993. (unpublished)
      • Cato, P.S. (1993) The Relationship Between the Type of Institutional
      • Characteristics, Museum Curatorship and Management. Vol. II No. 2
      • Davis, A.A. (Ed.)(1991). Standard Practices Handbook for Museums (Self
      • Evaluation Checklists). Canada: Alberta Museums Association.
      • Horvat, M. (1993). Museum Documentation and Information System. CIDOC
  • Newsletter. Vol. 4 pp. 22-24. July issue.
  • Peralta, J.T. (1993). Handbook for Small Museums. NCCA, Philippines.
  • Perkins, J. (1992). Computers II: Computer Interchange of Museum Information
  • (CIMI). Museum Curatorship and Management. Vol.II No.2 pp.206-207.
      • June issue.
    • Ponferada, B. (1993). Museum: An Overview (An Introduction to Museum
  • Documentation). Lecture delivered in Manila, Philippines in June 1993.
  • (unpublished)