Documentation Standards

Promoting and identifying relevant standards for museum work


  • From documentation and information management to knowledge sharing and management
  • Community sourcing with working group members and museum professionals
  • Collaborating with Software providers

More about DSWG’s plan of action and information of the previous conferences.

DSWG  aims to act as a point of liaison with relevant bodies and initiatives which develop standards of relevance to museum documentation.

We will encourage museums and developers to take into use standards and recommendations which are developed, maintained and supported by CIDOC Working groups or other relevant bodies.

We work with museum experts, academics and software providers and aim to increase understanding and communication between different disciplines.

Read more about the history of the Documentation Standards working group and its people.

What do we do?

The Documentation Standards Working Group has currently three ongoing projects:

Exhibition Object Data Exchange Model (EODEM).

EODEM project outline and resources

Every year, museum staff manually copy the details of thousands of objects from their databases, and send them to other museums that wish to borrow those objects. The borrowing museums’ staff then manually copy those details back into their own systems. The EODEM project aims to make the whole process much quicker and simpler by establishing a  framework that will enable museum databases to export objects’ data from one system at the press of a button, and import the data into another system as easily as possible. The system will include information to identify and describe objects (e.g. identification number, name, date, etc.), and to record their display requirements (e.g. temperature, RH, lux, handling, security, etc.).

EODEM started by drawing up a list of the information required in a workshop on “Exchanging data between different systems in Tbilisi” in 2017. It was taken forward at a meeting of 20 software developers working with DSWG facilitators in Heraklion 2018. Small groups in Britain, Finland, and working online worked on the definition of the necessary data elements and decided on standards to be used during 2019. We are now finalising a LIDO profile to use for data transfer and starting work on implementing the system in selected commercial collections management systems, and hope to present the first live demos of EODEM in Geneva.

Rupert Shepherd presented the EODEM at the Collections Trust Annual Conference, held online on 1 October 2020.

Checklist for Museums for better software procurement

A meeting between museums professionals and software developers in 2018 identified the need for museums to offer more realistic specifications and tender documents when procuring collections management systems and other software. The CIDOC DSWG was seen as a good neutral platform where both parties could further the issue, to their mutual benefit. The project will start with initial research on existing procurement guidelines. After identifying and analysing them, we will have a better idea of how much work there is to do, and whether it needs to be divided geographically.

An Encyclopaedia of Museum Practice

The Encyclopedia of Museum Practice (EOMP) is a multilingual description of museum documentation. It is a collaborative Wiki writing project with 8 contributing language groups.



Maija Ekosaari, Finland (EODEM and Checklist for better procurement)

Rupert Shepherd, UK (EODEM)

I can be contacted via

Jonathan Whitson-Cloud, UK (Encyclopaedia of Museum Practice)