ACE activity 2018-22

This page sets out the grant-funded work Collections Trust will carry out over the years 2018-22 as one of Arts Council England’s Sector Support Organisations within the ACE National Portfolio. Just over 50% of our annual income comes from ACE, and we are very grateful for its continuing support for our work.

Objective 1: achieve financial surplus projections

We will: generate income through retail, Spectrum Partnerships and consultancy; control expenditure through sound financial management; and make prudent provision for potential liabilities.

Objective 2: help museums put Spectrum 5.0 into effective practice

Maintain the standard. We will continue to publish the online version of Spectrum 5.0 for free, and both the full standard and primary procedures as print-on-demand via our online shop. In Y1 we will configure an existing (free) online translation platform so that different language versions are created directly into XML, and are thus more usable by our commercial partners.

Publish links to related resources on CT website. We will continue to populate the website with resources relevant to the various Spectrum procedures, and will review them on a rolling schedule to ensure they remain current.

Base all outreach on Spectrum 5.0. In Y1 we anticipate that there will still be demand for outreach sessions introducing the changes in Spectrum 5.0. The new standard will also be fully integrated into all other outreach activity as the starting point for all foreseeable session topics.

2018 conference. In September 2018 (Y1) the theme of our annual one-day conference will be Spectrum in practice. This will showcase ways in which museums have made effective use of the new and revised procedures.

Maintain the cultural property advice platform. We will continue to maintain this area of the website, including the spoliation database, on behalf of ACE. We will ensure that relevant links are made from the site’s Spectrum resources (eg to help with acquisitions due diligence).

Respond to enquiries. We will continue to respond to occasional enquiries received by email and phone, adding to our FAQ webpage as needed.

Comms activity, networking and advocacy. As with outreach, Y1 will focus on ensuring widespread sector awareness of Spectrum 5.0 and its benefits.

License Spectrum for use in museum software. We will continue to license Spectrum commercially so it is integrated in the systems museums use.

License Spectrum in other countries. We will persuade existing translators to update to Spectrum 5.0 and seek relevant partners in new countries in order to consolidate it as an international standard and add value to the commercial licensing.

Objective 3: provide valued specialist support to the Museum Development (MD) delivery of the Accreditation Scheme

Help align revised Accreditation Scheme guidance with Spectrum. In Y1 we will, if needed, help ensure that the wording of any revised guidance relating to Spectrum reflects the changes in version 5.0.

Brief Accreditation assessors and mentors on Spectrum 5.0. In Y1 we will participate as appropriate in the rollout of the revised Accreditation guidance so that those assessing and supporting museums understand the changed approach to inventory and documentation planning in particular.

Deliver CT Outreach programme. We will continue to offer around 100 free outreach events a year to the MD network in response to their local needs.

Focus proactively on museums needing help to achieve a basic inventory. We will respond to the ongoing need for training on how to achieve the inventory requirement of Accreditation by offering targeted museums a package of sustained outreach support over Y1-Y4.

Manage and share Accreditation resources database. By March 2018 the resources published at will be available directly to the websites of the MD network and other SSOs and stakeholders via an API and widget. On behalf of ACE and these partners we will manage the database and convene a virtual editorial panel.

Publish practical guide. In Y1 we will write and publish a new addition to our popular series of practical guides. With the working title Banishing the backlog it will aim to help museums achieve the documentation requirements of Accreditation.

Respond to enquiries. We will continue to respond to occasional enquiries received by email and phone, adding to our FAQ webpage as needed.

Comms activity, networking and advocacy. In Y1 we will use our comms channels and opportunities for networking and advocacy to push for a fresh approach to the documentation requirements of Accreditation, stressing positive quick wins.

Objective 4: enable museums to understand and use standardised terminologies to improve the discoverability of their collections information

Build an online network of term sources linked to Spectrum units. When following a Spectrum 5.0 suggested procedure online, users can click on the name of a unit of information (eg Object name) to reveal a pop-up box that explains how to record it. Where these say ‘use a standard term source’ we will add links to relevant existing sources, which we will publish as linked open data where appropriate and needed.

Work with Spectrum Partners to make these accessible to system users. We will encourage our network of museum software suppliers to integrate standard term sources into their systems, so they are directly available to users at the point of data entry, boosting consistency.

Publish practical guide on using term sources to improve collections data. In Y2 we will add to our practical guides series a new volume on how to use term sources effectively.

Integrate term control into all other outreach activity. Once the new resources are in place, we will add terminology control as a potential session topic. However, we will also promote consistent use of terms throughout all other relevant outreach sessions.

2019 conference on this theme. We will use our autumn 2019 conference (Y2) to raise the profile of the new terminology resources, and to showcase how they can help museums exploit their collections information better.

Respond to enquiries. We will respond to enquiries on this topic, adding to our FAQ webpage as needed.

Comms activity, networking and advocacy. We will aim to re-establish awareness in the sector that valuable information can easily get ‘lost in the system’ and if you cannot find it, you cannot use it.

Objective 5: help museums use digitised collections effectively as part of appropriate digital strategies

Spectrum-based, digital-focused outreach. We will continue to include within the outreach programme sessions on digitising collections and related issues, drawing in particular on the Spectrum procedures rights management, reproduction, documentation planning, use of collections.

Free consultancy visits to NPO museums. As a new service, we will offer to visit up to 15 NPO museums each year for a day or two of free consultancy, responding to needs they may have planning digitisation projects.

Publish a new practical guide. In Y3 we will publish a practical guide that addresses a comment we often hear from our Spectrum Partners and other IT service providers: that museums rarely know how to be good digital clients. The approach will be similar to AIM’s recent Successfully Managing Capital Projects but with a digital focus.

2020 conference on this theme. In the autumn of 2020 our one-day annual conference will return to its 2016 theme, digitised collections. One angle might be the impact of the DCMS Culture is Digital strategy two years on.

Contribute to relevant activity of other digital SSOs. We will work closely with Culture24 and the Audiences Agency in particular, providing specialist input relating to digitised collections.

Maintain relevant online resources. We will continue to add relevant resources to our website area, and review them regularly to keep them current.

Respond to enquiries. We will continue to respond to occasional enquiries received by email and phone, adding to our FAQ webpage as needed.

Comms activity, networking and advocacy. We will continue to promote the simple but powerful idea that ‘digital isn’t different’. We will also continue to push for a futureproof national aggregator to replace CultureGrid.