This is the fifth edition of Spectrum since the first was published in 1994. This latest update reflects consultation carried out in 2016 to ensure that Spectrum continues to meet the needs of museums large and small as collection management practice evolves. We hope you find this edition easier to read, and clearer on which bits are the standard to aim for, and which are guidelines for you to adapt as needed.

In the UK, there is formal link between Spectrum and the Museum Accreditation scheme. All Accredited museums must meet the Spectrum standard for the nine primary procedures. For the first time, the primary procedures have been grouped together for easy reference. The minimum requirements for these, and all the other, procedures are clearer too, with examples illustrating why each requirement is important. These requirements are the irreducible core of Spectrum: however you put a procedure into practice, if you meet these requirements, your documentation system should serve you and your successors well.

Collections Trust would like to thank Arts Council England for supporting the development of Spectrum 5.0 and our wider work supporting the museum sector. We also thank our Spectrum Partners, who integrate the standard into their collections management systems. Finally, a big thank you to all the people listed in the acknowledgements, whose thoughtful feedback has greatly improved this latest version of the standard.

Hadrian Ellory-van Dekker, Chair of Collections Trust

September 2017