All materials accepted for curation must be accompanied by a hard copy collection catalogue. In addition to listing catalogue number and object name and description, the catalogue should also contain entries for material type, condition, measurements for individually catalogued items or counts for lot items grouped under one catalogue number (such as a bag of debitage from the same provenience). Each site must have its own catalogue, preferably of acid-free or 100% rag paper with entries made in a #2 lead pencil or permanent ink. If the catalogue is typed or printed by a computer a carbon based ribbon/cartridge should be used.
The Survey requires no particular cataloguing system, but each item sample and lot in the collection must have its horizontal and vertical proveniences either listed in the catalogue or directly reflected in the catalogue number. If portions of a collection have received special conservation treatment, the catalogue should be annotated to describe the treatment accorded each item; alternatively, an appendix to the catalogue may be prepared listing each item treated by catalogue number with a description of the conservation treatment applied.
When using successive Arabic numerals for cataloguing, there should be no duplication of numbers, no gaps left in the sequence, and letter designations should be added to the number.
Grouping material for bulk or "lot" cataloguing is normally considered part of the artifact analysis and professional judgment should be used. Diagnostic artifacts (such as projectile points, ground stone, rim and base sherds, and bone tools, bottle necks, bottle bases with maker's marks, and similar identifiable items) should be given individual catalogue numbers. This will permit their individual identification in the repository's collection database. A group of similar items of the same material from the same provenience which have no important distinguishing characteristics and are not individually diagnostic (such as unused flakes, unidentifiable bone fragments, and unidentifiable metal fragments) may be given a single "lot" catalogue number.
Researchers working at a previously collected site should contact the appropriate repository for information on the previous catalogue sequence in order to avoid generating duplicate catalogue systems for the site.