Research and catalogue cultural heritage

Business Sectors (Suites): Cultural Heritage
Developed by: Creative & Cultural Skills
Approved on: 30 Mar 2022


​This standard is about researching and cataloguing cultural heritage. Cultural heritage can refer to objects that are on display or in storage or to historic buildings, structures, sites, settings or intangible cultural heritage.

It includes researching information to further understanding about cultural heritage or it's context, collecting and assessing that information, identifying and classifying cultural heritage, reporting on or producing summary descriptions or care requirements of cultural heritage, allocating accession numbers and recording details in digital or manual documentation systems.

This standard is for anyone responsible for researching and cataloguing cultural heritage.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. ​agree the information required and the procedures for the analysis with relevant people
  2. use appropriate research techniques to identify relevant primary and secondary research sources
  3. collect information in line with the requirements of the analysis and the identity of objects or structures being researched
  4. assess and select information for its reliability, relevance, and its contribution to the work
  5. protect confidential information in accordance with agreements, procedures, and legislation
  6. acknowledge information sources in line with organisational processes
  7. assess and seek reasons for any deficiencies, discrepancies, or unexpected results
  8. take action to resolve any problems with the collection of information in line with organisational procedures
  9. examine cultural heritage without putting it at risk
  10. use all relevant information to identify cultural heritage and provide justification for identifications
  11. allocate and record accession details according to organisational procedures and guidelines
  12. apply accession numbers onto or near cultural heritage in line with organisational procedures
  13. comply with health and safety and all other relevant legislation, codes of practice, standards, procedures, and guidelines at all times
  14. record reports and summary descriptions containing appropriate information about cultural heritage at the level of detail required
  15. record descriptions and summaries in formats that are suitable for users
  16. document the condition of cultural heritage and the care it needs in line with organisational processes, informing relevant people when required
  17. review the progress and results of work with relevant people at appropriate times
  18. record and store information in organisational systems using accepted formats and procedures
  19. evaluate the success of information collection methods and sources for future work

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. ​the purpose of the information collection exercise, the usual sources of information and the usual procedures for requesting, accessing and obtaining information
  2. legislation, organisational procedures and agreements relating to confidentiality and data protection
  3. why it is important to apply collection methods effectively and consistently and the consequences of not doing so
  4. what constitutes valid and reliable information, how to assess, select, interpret and classify different types of information, how discrepancies in information can be resolved and what could be considered the unethical manipulation of data
  5. the relevant national, local, professional, and organisational requirements relating to intelligence analysis, why it is important to comply with different requirements and the consequences of not doing so
  6. the broad principles of copyright legislation, how to acknowledge sources of information and use citation conventions and how to protect confidential information
  7. how to evaluate the success of information collection processes, methods and sources
  8. the types of documentation system used, how to operate them, the main differences between digital and manual systems and possible problems with them
  9. the classification systems that are used, the different classes of item and how to record classification details
  10. the organisational procedures for allocating accession numbers and how to record the assignment of an accession number
  11. the normal features of the class of cultural heritage, how to confirm the identity of objects or structures, the level of accuracy that is likely in identification and the problems involved with identifying incomplete items
  12. the details that have to be recorded about cultural heritage including the history, significance, age, provenance, unusual or distinctive features, relationship and significance to other relevant items
  13. how to use photographs to compliment and support your research and descriptions
  14. how to describe cultural heritage for different people and purposes, including reports and summary descriptions, and how to use and combine description formats
  15. how to mark or label cultural heritage, how different materials can react to the marking and the purpose of preserving or recording previous markings or labels
  16. the importance of applying labels or accession numbers which are clearly associated with cultural heritage without causing damage or obscuring important features
  17. relevant procedures for health and safety and other relevant legislation, codes of practice, standards and guidelines
  18. what goes into a report at its interim and final stages including aims, objectives, methodology, progress and results of assessments
  19. the best way to present the results, and how to customise presentations for different audiences
  20. the normal and specific risks to cultural heritage and the examination processes that cause the least risk to them
  21. how to access information on conservation needs
  22. who to inform about care needs and review progress and results with and when it is appropriate
  23. the types of problem which could occur with the collection of information and actions to resolve them


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

30 Mar 2026





Originating Organisation

Creative and Cultural Skills

Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Archaeology and Archaeological Sciences, Artistic and Literary Occupations, Arts, Media and Publishing, Conservation Associate Professionals, Crafts, Creative Arts and Design, Functional Managers, Leisure and Travel Service Occupations, Leisure, Travel and Tourism, Media and Communication, Performing Arts, Publishing and Information Services, Quality and Customer Care Managers

SOC Code



collection; research; catalogue; cataloguing; historic building; historic site;