Cataloging Standards for Historical Costume

Hi Folks,

A new contact, Nichole DeMichelis, works at the Society for the Museum of Original Costume in Vancouver. She had some questions about cataloging historical costume items, and I’m hoping someone out there can help!

“I’m working with the Society for the Museum of Original Costume (SMOC) in Vancouver, BC as the Virtual Museum Liason. I’m working slowly but surely to digitize the records and move them into a database. I was just wondering what vocabularies are standard when cataloging historical costume. We’ve been following ICOM Costume Committee, but it’s a bit unwieldy. Also, what cataloging standard(s) do you use? SMOC has been using SPECTRUM, a strange standard I hadn’t encountered previously. “

Carla-Mae Crookendale


3 thoughts on “Cataloging Standards for Historical Costume”

  1. Hi Nichole and Carla-Mae, Julie and Birgit were kind enough to respond to me…

    Julie Tran Le wrote: “As reference, we primarily use this:
    We also use the Fairchild dictionary. If the user is concerned with our specific object names, they might peruse our Collection Online for an overview.”

    Birgit Ansoms wrote: “I am forwarding this to my colleague Dieter Suls. It is completely his cup of tea. Currently, he is working on a fashion thesaurus (historical terms included if I am right).”

    I’ll let you know when I hear back from Dieter Suls.

    Hope this helps!

  2. Hi Nichole, FTC SIG members Julie Tran Lê, a Library Associate at the The Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library & Thomas J. Watson Library of the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Birgit Ansoms of MoMu (Mode Museum) in Antwerp might be able to answer your questions. I’ll forward your questions to them. Sandra (

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