Procedures taken out and added

Two procedures have been taken out:

  • Pre-entry – the advice on how to deal in advance with archaeological archives has been moved to the resources area of the Collections Trust website.
  • Transport – this has been combined with Location and movement control.

Two procedures have been added:

  • Reproduction was a procedure in the very first edition of Spectrum, but was later rolled into Use of collections. However, given the increasing importance of digital asset management, it seemed useful to bring Reproduction back as a procedure in its own right.
  • Collections review  – this is a new procedure intended to help museums  record the results of collections reviews in a systematic way (particularly when reviews cover items held by several museums, eg within a region).

The net result of these changes is that there are still 21 procedures. However, the number of primary procedures has increased from eight to nine. The old primary procedure Retrospective documentation has been renamed Documentation planning, and some of its content has moved to a new primary procedure, Inventory.

Names of procedures

The names of some other procedures have also changed:

  • Acquisition has become Acquisition and  accessioning
  • Loans in has become Loans in (borrowing objects)
  • Loans out has become Loans out (lending objects)
  • Conservation and collections care has become Collections care and conservation
  • Valuation control has become Valuation
  • Insurance and indemnity management has become Insurance and indemnity
  • Risk management has become Emergency planning for  collections
  • Loss and damage has become Damage and loss
  • Deaccession and disposal has become Deaccessioning and  disposal
Order of procedures

The procedures have been re-ordered so that the nine primary procedures come first. These are the procedures that UK museums must have in place to meet the requirements of the Accreditation scheme.

Only ‘the Spectrum standard’ is mandatory

Initial consultation on Spectrum 5.0 revealed widespread confusion about which parts of Spectrum were mandatory, and which advisory. The format of the procedures has been changed to make it clearer that ‘the Spectrum standard’ is what you should aim to meet (particularly for the primary procedures if you are an Accredited museum in the UK). The ‘suggested procedure’ and ‘guidance notes’ are just that: suggestions and guidance only.

The ‘minimum requirements’ of each procedure have been reviewed, and illustrated with an example of why they are important. If we could not think of compelling reasons why existing requirements were important, they were dropped. In some cases, glaring omissions were put right by adding new requirements or amending existing ones.

Plain English

Although some technical terms are unavoidable, you will hopefully notice that Spectrum 5.0 is written in a clearer style than previous editions.

Previous versions

You can download previous versions of Spectrum via the links below.

Spectrum v.3.2 (archived)


Spectrum version 3.2 was released in 2009 as an update to Spectrum v.3.0. Click the link on the right-hand side to access Spectrum 3.2 as a PDF. The document includes the standard and the units of information. This version has now been archived and so many of the links within the text will no longer work.