Collection Management Systems Selection Process

In the Fall of 2019, Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC) conducted a review of The Canadian Heritage Information Network’s (CHIN) Collections Management Software Criteria Checklist (CMSCC). The review and subsequent updates to the CMSCC resulted in a more streamlined version of the checklist that better incorporates SPECTRUM 5.0 standards. CMS vendor and cultural institution interviews were utilized to better understand the experience of the CMS selection process. CHIN supports cultural heritage institutions by providing collections management resources to the worldwide museum community. Among these resources is CHIN’s CMSCC. This checklist was first produced in 2012 and has since been updated with changes and additions to align with Collection Trust’s SPECTRUM 5.0 standards for collections documentation. With this update, the CMSCC in its entirety contains over 600 descriptions of requirements. As part of the update to the CMSCC, Collections Management System (CMS) requirements have now been prioritized in an abridged list that contains roughly 350 descriptions of requirements intended for institutions with less complex information management needs. The purpose of these checklists is to assist cultural institutions in not only understanding proper collections documentation but understanding what capabilities a collections management system should have.

The supporting documents which BPOC developed for cultural institutions to use in their CMS selection process include:

A list of recommended steps that institutions can take when selecting a CMS An institutional questionnaire to help specify needs A vendor questionnaire to identify the criteria that they meet

The checklists and supporting documents may be accessed at the following links:

Collections Management Software Criteria Checklist

Supporting Documents


Canadian Heritage Information Network


Collections Management, Evaluation, Research, Project Management, Strategy


Canadian Heritage Information Network

Collections Management Software Criteria Checklist

Selection Process Supporting Documents

Photo Credit:
“Library collection management, purging style” by xmacex is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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