This section of the toolkit will guide you through how to create a comprehensive catalogue for your collection which you can then use to let researchers know what you have and why it might be of interest.
A catalogue is essentially a list of the material you hold which includes both descriptive and contextual information. In addition to listing all or most of the items in your collection your catalogue should provide context and additional information to help users understand why the material was created, when and by whom.
There are some basic steps to creating your catalogue:
Step 1: Roughly arrange your collection into different sections using the arranging principles outlined in the section below. If you have not already done so, create a boxlist of your material and colour code it according to your sections so you can see easily what material goes together (see Collections Management section).
Step 2: Create a brief outline of your catalogue structure, listing all the different series you wish to include.
Step 3: Decide which cataloguing tool is best for you and your collection.
Step 4: Start populating your catalogue (download an example by clicking here). Add your collection level and all your series levels before moving on to the lower-level descriptions.
See the sections below for more information on how to complete these steps.
King’s College Cambridge – Archival Catalogues– this is for users of the university archive but has a good summary of the essential elements of an archive catalogue and the hierarchical structure
Accessioning and Cataloguing
Caring for Community Archives: Cataloguing Photographs