Collections management systems (CMS) are software programs designed to aid the cataloguing of objects in museum collections. There is a general description of CMS in Wikipedia.
For more information about specific collection software, see Collection Trust software .
It is not mandatory to use software programs to meet the museum standards required for accreditation and before 2002 Towneley relied entirely on paper records for the museum collections, using an accessions register together with a card index system for cataloguing.
However, there are benefits from using a software program, making it easier to record the movement of objects and making the public aware of what is in the collections via the Internet. Like most museums, Towneley has only enough room to display a small part of the collections and over 90% of the collections is in storage.
In 2002, Towneley started using the Modes software system. The early version 'Modes for Windows' ran very slowly and from 2006 to 2016, a simple homebrew system named amuse was used instead, written by a volunteer at no cost. This provided less facilities but ran much faster, allowing over 10,000 object records to be added. In 2016 the object records were transferred to the latest Modes software 'Modes Complete version 1.3', which is a significant improvement over the old Modes system. For more information see Documentation System.
A public version of the data is displayed in Towneley Collections Viewer, showing all the object's data except for location records. A to Z provides links to the collections viewer with simple queries about specific groups of objects to supplement general collections information, for example displaying all drawings in the book illustrations collection created by Aldin