Collections knowledge: an opportunity to face the crisis?

This is a time of crisis. Museums and all the cultural sector in the european countries are facing big financial and funding problems and they are challenged every day by the demands of an better educated and wider audience. These problems are aggravated by the absence of a structural and long-term policy for the sector, that should be used to define a strategical course.

However, this times of change and uncertainty usually allow more profound analysis and the raise of important opportunities for museums all over Europe. The knowledge that is generated by the inventory, documentation, management and study of many important collections held by museums in Europe and worldwide may be one of those opportunities. Society is starved of information and knowledge and museums can, and should, provide it in order to fulfill its mission and compete for the financial resources available.

In this presentation we will, or at least try, to discuss how museum documentation can make a difference and why museums can benefit in many different ways with a proper collection documentation policy.


Alexandre Matos, Portugal

Head of research and training, Sistemas do Futuro


Alexandre Matos (1972) studied History at the “Portucalense” University in Oporto and have a master degree in Museology at the “Faculdade de Letras” of Oporto University museum studies program. He is currently the head of the Sistemas do Futuro, Lda. Research and Training department, with the responsibility to research the best methods about collections management and documentation that can be applied in Collections Management Systems used by many portuguese and spanish museums.

He is developing a Phd project in the same Museum Studies program, about the implementation and use of the UK Museum Documentation Standard, SPECTRUM, by the portuguese museum community. His academic and professional activities have been conducted through the common axis which is the research on standardization in the management and documentation of cultural heritage.

Alexandre writes regularly on the blog Mouseion ( and is the coordinator (


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