The Central Institute for Cataloguing and Documentation is an institution of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities (MiBAC) that, in agreement with the regions of Italy, defines national standards and tools for the cataloguing and documentation of archaeological, architectural, art history and ethno-anthropological heritage. It also manages the General Information System for Cataloguing (SIGEC), carries out training and research in the cataloguing sector, and develops and maintains archives of photography and aerial photography that are open for public consultation.
The ICCD sets norms for, develops, and manages the national catalogue of heritage properties. In support of these tasks it carries out research and provides relevant guidance, training and technical and scientific coordination.
The institute manages an archive of almost all catalogue sheets, cards and related documentation produced in Italy, with the General Information System of Cataloguing (SIGEC) as the corresponding computerized data management system.
The institute provides a unique general catalogue number for every national heritage property in the fields of archaeology, architecture, art history and demo-ethno-anthropology and assigns code numbers for all agencies and institutions involved in cataloguing. This management system ensures consistent quality in all national cataloguing functions.
Cataloguing consists of registration, description and classification of all types of cultural heritage through careful identification, research and data recording, with the end result being an accurate and effective overall archive.
Documentation is the process of representing heritage properties through images, drawings and written texts. The ICCD preserves the bulk of all documentary material produced through time by all Italian institutions and agencies. Among other forms of documentation, the ICCD preserves and conserves Italy's photographic heritage. Since the earliest years of the 19th century, the institute and its predecessors have been leaders in the advancement of photographic techniques and technologies.
New legislation permits the ICCD to develop defined agreements for the formation of joint national-regional cataloguing centres. As part of these agreements, the Institute accepts responsibility for training and guidance of cataloguers.
To implement its aims the ICCD relies on annual and special state funding, income from activities and programs involving the public and partners, contributions from public and private institutions and communities, and agreements with international organisations.