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Publications, reference material & annual reports

The ICOM Secretariat produces reference tools for its members, ranging from best practices and guidelines to fundamental concepts in museology. ICOM publications contribute to the development of expertise and knowledge in the field of museums. They include a peer-reviewed scientific journal, Museum International, monographs and reference tools for practitioners. ICOM members can access these publications free of charge or at a preferential rate.

In order to receive printed versions, ICOM members can contact the Publications Department of the ICOM Secretariat:

ICOM Publications

Catalogue of ICOM publications 2019

In the 2019 edition, the catalogue includes works published by ICOM committees. It therefore includes monographs, reviews, magazines and e-journals recently published by ICOM committees and regional alliances, which can be purchased or downloaded. At the end of the catalogue you will find a bibliography listing other ICOM publications, such as newsletters, e-newsletters, abstracts of conference presentations, brochures and reports.

Catalogue of ICOM publications 2018

In the 2018 edition, the catalogue includes works published by ICOM committees.

Countering Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods: The Global Challenge of Protecting the World’s Heritage

The need to understand the route taken by cultural property looted or illegally removed from its original site led to the creation by ICOM of the first International Observatory on the Illicit Traffic in Cultural Property. This interdisciplinary book completes the initial phase of the Observatory project, with articles by researchers and academics, museum and heritage professionals, archaeologists, legal advisors, curators, and journalists. It includes country case studies and aims to shed light on the nature of the illicit trade in antiquities, the sources of this traffic, and the solutions envisaged to curb and end it.

Concepts clés de muséologie

The result of several years of research, the ICOM International Committee on Museology (ICOFOM) has published the booklet Key Concepts in Museology, as a preview to the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Museology, published by ICOM and Armand Colin in 2011. Presented at the ICOM General Conference in Shanghai, this book has become a reference tool as it defines and provides a common language for museum professionals around the world. The book provides a definition of 21 museological concepts.

Comment gérer un musée : manuel pratique

In 2004, ICOM, in collaboration with UNESCO, published a practical handbook entitled Running a Museum. The book covers aspects of museum management with practical advice and key points for consideration. Additional information on technical data and standards, as well as suggestions for practical exercises and discussion topics to accompany a training course, are provided in the main text. This is complemented by the manual Running a Museum: A Trainer’s Manual, which provides exercises and case studies for training in museum management.

Reference material

Manuel des réseaux sociaux pour les comités de l'ICOM

This manual aims to :

  • provide tools for launching effective communication campaigns on social networks
  • help you create and use compelling content
  • provide guidance on how to manage digital platforms most effectively
  • provide a common framework for the use of social media for all ICOM Committees

Culture and Local Development: Maximising the Impact. Guide for Local Governments, Communities and Museums

ICOM and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have come together to consider the role of museums in local development. To this end, the two organisations have developed the Guide for Local Governments, Communities and Museums, a roadmap for local governments, museums and museum professionals on how to jointly implement a local development agenda for a more sustainable future.

ICOM Publishing Manual

Published in 2018 by ICOM, the Publishing Manual provides practical content that describes the different stages of the editorial process in print and digital publishing, for all formats from newsletters to book collections. Advice is also offered to committees and regional alliances, particularly on how to use the ICOM network to promote and distribute their books.

ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums

The ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums was adopted in 1986 and revised in 2004. The Code defines the fundamental values and principles of ICOM and the international museum community. As a fundamental instrument of ICOM, it establishes principles of ethics and professional conduct for museums and their staff.

The Code has been translated into 38 languages by ICOM committees.

A limited number of hard copies of the English, French and Spanish versions are available on request. Please contact:

ICOM Code of Ethics for Natural History Museums

The ICOM Code of Ethics for Natural History Museums complements the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums. The Code of Ethics was developed by the International Committee for Natural History Museums and Collections (NATHIST) and published in 2013. It defines the ethical principles specific to natural history and life and earth sciences museums. This code has been translated into several languages, and in 2019 a German version of the code was published in collaboration with the German national committee. To date, there is no French version of the ICOM Code of Ethics for Natural History Museums.

Online library

Online library

A new documentary platform has been created to provide online access to all of ICOM’s documentary resources: the publications of ICOM and its network, the library collections and the archives.

It contains all the publications of ICOM and its network of international committees, national committees, regional alliances and associated bodies since their creation, as well as numerous references to books, reviews, articles, guides and manuals, directories, conference proceedings, studies and reports in fields of interest to ICOM, such as the protection of endangered heritage, the fight against illicit trafficking in cultural property, the social role of museums, education and ethics.

The “Archives” and “Images” databases, dedicated to written and multimedia archives (photographs, posters and videos) are reserved for members and can be consulted via the members’ area.

Access the ICOM online library

Scientific review

Museum International

Museum International is ICOM’s scientific journal that contributes to expert dialogue in the joint fields of museums and heritage from an international perspective. The journal seeks to promote the exchange of knowledge and stimulate debate through interdisciplinary research and the articulation of good practice in heritage protection in a rapidly changing world. The journal is published twice a year.

ICOM members have full and free access to the online version of Museum International (including the archives) by clicking on ‘Read Museum International‘ when logged into their ICOM member space. Articles can be read online, or downloaded in PDF format. ICOM members benefit from a discounted rate on paper versions. Please contact:

Access the latest issue of Museum International online

ICOM Luxembourg annual reports