CHIN Data Dictionaries

The Canadian Heritage Information Network's Data Dictionaries for the Humanities and Natural Sciences have proven to be valuable reference tools for the management of museum and gallery collections information.

A data dictionary defines all the categories or types of information in a database. The CHIN Data Dictionaries are not a data structure for use in a collections management system, but they can be used as the basis for such a structure. They can be used by a wide range of museums to help them to identify their institution's information needs and standardize their documentation.

Each data field in the CHIN Data Dictionaries is described by a field label, a mnemonic, and a name. Fields include a definition, entry rules, related fields, a data type, examples, a discipline, authority lists, a source, and other information. The CHIN Data Dictionaries are used:

  • as the standard for Canadian institutions that contribute collections data to CHIN's Artefacts Canada;
  • as guidelines for institutions which are developing or modifying a collections management system;
  • to promote the consistent recording of information by cataloguers, or to provide users of collections databases with search strategies.

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