The goal of the DAACS Cataloging Manual is twofold: 1) to ensure data consistency between catalogers through the duration of the project by explicating cataloging protocols, and 2) to provide researchers using DAACS data with a comprehensive manual describing how those data were created. The manual integrates basic background information about particular types of artifacts with the protocols used to record essential artifact data. The manual consists of eleven separate sections: a section for each of the nine main artifact tables in the database (Beads, Buckles, Buttons, Ceramics, Faunal, General Artifacts, Glass Vessels, Tobacco Pipes, and Utensils), one section into which protocols for the Project, Context, and Feature tables are combined, and a section that describes how DAACS records Objects, unique artifacts or mended artifacts that have been identified as objects by their curating institution.

Jillian Galle and DAACS Staff, Leslie Cooper, Lynsey Bates, Jesse Sawyer, and Beatrix Arendt led the development of cataloging protocols. In addition to current DAACS staff and steering committee members, Monticello current and former Archaeology Department staff, Fraser Neiman, Jennifer Aultman, Sara Bon-Harper, Derek Wheeler, Donald Gaylord, Karen Smith, Nick Bon-Harper, and Elizabeth Bollwerk also contributed to the development of cataloging protocols. Jennifer Aultman and Kate Grillo produced the initial versions of these DAACS manuals in 2003. They have been substantially revised by Galle, Cooper, and Bates in the intervening years.