A museum is a depository for collecting and displaying objects having scientific, historical or artistic value. Museums have-like archives and libraries―developed systems for organizing their objects and the knowledge they transmit. Museums normally collect unique objects, whereas libraries collect single copies of published work of which many more exist. Some kinds of libraries function as book-museums.


Ørom (2003) points out that the organizing principles of museum exhibitions may reflect a social value, a worldview or a scholarly paradigm that is not only reflected in the organization of objects in museums, but as well in the literature and in the classification systems in libraries.


ICONCLASS is an example of a subject-specific international classification system which museums can use for iconographic research and the documentation of images. It contains definitions of objects, persons, events, situations and abstract ideas that can be the subject of an image. It consists of a classification system with approximately 28,000 definitions, an alphabetical index, and a bibliography with 40,000 references to books and articles of iconographical and cultural historical interest.






Bierbaum, E. G. (1994). Museum Librarianship. A Guide to the Provision and Management of Information Services. London: McFarland & Co., Inc.


Blackaby, J. R.; Greeno, P. & Nomenclature Committee, the. (1988). The revised nomenclature for museum cataloging; a revised and expanded version of Robert G. Chenall's system for classifying man-made objects. Walnut Creek, California: AltaMira Press. (Reissued 1995).


Dilevko, J. & Gottlieb, L. (2004). The evolution of library and museum partnerships;  historical  antecedents, contemporary manifestations, and future directions. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.  

Usherwood, B.;  Wilson, K. & Bryson, J. (2005). Relevant repositories of public knowledge? Libraries, museums and archives in ‘the information age’. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 37(2), 89-98.

Ørom, A. (2003). Knowledge Organization in the domain of Art Studies - History, Transition and Conceptual Changes. Knowledge Organization, 30(3/4), 128-143.




Natural museeums, Pre-Linneaean period, Linneaean period, Modern period



See also:



Birger Hjørland

Last edited: 22-05-2006