Collections Trust to challenge ‘gatekeeper’ mindset in cataloguing - Museums Association

Collections Trust to challenge ‘gatekeeper’ mindset in cataloguing

Consultation launched on revisions to Spectrum cataloguing procedure
Catalogue Collections

A new initiative by the Collections Trust aims to challenge the “gatekeeper” mindset in cataloguing.

The Rethinking Cataloguing project came out of a series of roundtables held by the trust over the past year. One consistent theme that emerged from the discussions was the need to address this mindset, which was recognised as a barrier to opening up collections and information.

Rethinking Cataloguing will culminate in a new version of the scope and policy questions in the cataloguing procedure of Spectrum, the UK collection management standard.

The trust hopes the new text will complement the Museums Association’s Decolonisation Guidance, which was published last year and aims to empower more people to take action and lead change as museums address the legacy of British colonialism.

The Collections Trust is revising key messages in the procedure to encourage the sector to recognise cataloguing as an “open-ended, inclusive and flexible activity”.

A consultation is now open on the draft version of the procedure. Key revisions include:

  • Shifting the focus from just the needs of the museum to the needs of a variety of users.
  • Being clear that information and knowledge might come from anywhere and anyone.
  • Explaining the link to Use of Collections. In the review the trust will make Use of Collections more prominent, by reordering the Spectrum procedures.
  • Further clarifying how cataloguing builds on inventory information and dispelling the concept of an ideal or finished catalogue record.
  • Additional questions to support museums to develop policies that are fit for purpose and inclusive – referring to sector ethical standards, linking policy to mission and user needs, and capturing an organisation’s evolving practice.
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There will be no changes to the minimum requirements for Accreditation.

A spokeswoman for the trust said: “Building on previous roundtable discussions, Collections Trust is considering some changes to the Spectrum Cataloguing procedure in order to challenge the ‘gatekeeper’ mindset that’s holding back a more open and inclusive approach.

“This exciting new ‘rethinking cataloguing’ campaign is a chance for you to give your feedback on a new draft version of the Spectrum Cataloguing scope and policy questions.”

See the full details of the revisions and leave your feedback on the Collections Trust website.

The consultation deadline is 25 March 2022.

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