Systematically checking the accuracy and completeness of the information you have about your collections.

At the most basic level, the procedure confirms that your records match the physical reality: you have all the objects you should have, correctly numbered and located where they are supposed to be.

One obvious reason for regular audits is security. It is a sad fact that some thefts from museums have been carried out by trusted insiders, including those with the opportunity to cover their tracks by altering relevant records. For this reason, you need to be confident that the records used to list objects for an audit are as tamper-proof as possible.

For regular audits of very large collections you are likely to pick a sample of objects, though you might sometimes use opportunities such as a major move to audit everything. You might also combine this procedure with others so that, for example, you check the condition of objects as you audit them, or evaluate them against the criteria of a collection review.

You can also use this procedure to audit the quality of your documentation. For example, if you require names and dates to be recorded in a consistent way, you might audit your records to check how well this has been done. This might lead to a project to improve your data quality, using the Documentation planning procedure.

Audit - the Spectrum standard

Resource

You should have a policy covering audits. This could either be a standalone document or part of a wider collections management policy. Either way, in deciding your policy you will most likely need to consider these questions: How will you make your records as tamper-proof as possible? How often will you carry out routine audits […]

Part of: Audit

Audit - suggested procedure

Resource

You should have a written procedure that explains the steps to follow when managing and documenting audits. This suggested procedure, and the workflow based on it, are useful starting points. However you do it, your own procedure should meet the minimum requirements of the Spectrum standard. To see the workflow as PDF, follow the download […]

Part of: Audit