SPECTRUM Standard

41 views
Skip to first unread message

Mark Smith

unread,
May 17, 2017, 5:46:13 AM5/17/17
to AtoM Users
Do any user have experience of using AtoM to catalogue physical artefacts in terms of the UK museum standard SPECTRUM?  I don't have much knowledge of SPECTRUM, but it seems to be a standard that is used under license by many museums in the UK.  On the Collections Trust website (the organisation who owns the standard) there is a list of cataloguing software that allows users to comply.  I don't much care for the idea of a proprietary standard with a list of approved (commercial) software, but compliance with SPECTRUM appears to be a condition of official accreditation for UK museums.  The museum that forms part of the service where I work (I work in the archives section and we are trying out AtoM at the moment, with very good results) currently has accreditation from Museums, Galleries Scotland, but is wary of using AtoM for their catalogue as it would jeopardize their accreditation status (and therefore making funding applications less likely to succeed).

If anyone has any knowledge or experience of SPECTRUM, it would be great to hear your thoughts.

Dan Gillean

unread,
May 17, 2017, 10:39:06 AM5/17/17
to ICA-AtoM Users
Hi Mark,

Hopefully others can speak to your question directly - users, if you are part of a museum, do you have any thoughts for Mark, even if not in the UK?

I can see that you've already found the old thread, but for anyone else curious about this, here's a previous post where this came up, with some follow-up thoughts from me on licensing and incorporating this into AtoM:

Mark, I think you're correct that the closed licensing scheme of SPECTRUM makes it impossible for open-source applications to develop at template to support its implementation. The fact that a proprietary standard is tied to accreditation in the UK seems problematic to me (and counter-productive if widespread adoption is the goal!), and I would hope long-term that there might be advocacy on the part of users to open the licensing of the standard or provide an open alternative.... but that's just my 2 cents. That doesn't get us any further in the AtoM conversation for now!

I would say that your best bets for approaching this with AtoM would be:

  • Use different applications internally for managing archival holdings and museum metadata, and use theming to make the transition from one application to the other more intuitive and seamless for the end user.
  • Alternatively, since data can be read directly from AtoM's search index, you could create a lightweight front-end application that pulls in data from 2 different source systems.
  • Develop an AtoM plugin based on an open standard, and a crosswalk - you could then prepare an export stylesheet that would crosswalk, or a public display template that changed the names of fields etc, as a way of meeting the compliance requirement while still using open standards internally
    • You could potentially replace the Finding aid stylesheet in AtoM with one that maps the data to SPECTRUM fields, so your holdings are described in ISAD(G) in AtoM, but a finding aid that displays relevant data crosswalked to SPECTRUM is available to end users
  • License the standard and develop your own SPECTRUM plugin. We will never be able to merge it into the public project, however

That said, I think you might want to investigate the accreditation requirements further - I would be quite surprised if the requirement included describing your archival holdings with a standard clearly ill-suited to the nature of archival materials, especially when there are established and recognized international standards for archival materials. My guess is that so long as the museum holdings are described with SPECTRUM, you are meeting your requirements - but as I say, investigate further!


Regards,


Dan Gillean, MAS, MLIS
AtoM Program Manager
Artefactual Systems, Inc.
604-527-2056
@accesstomemory

On Wed, May 17, 2017 at 5:46 AM, Mark Smith <markrya...@gmail.com> wrote:
Do any user have experience of using AtoM to catalogue physical artefacts in terms of the UK museum standard SPECTRUM?  I don't have much knowledge of SPECTRUM, but it seems to be a standard that is used under license by many museums in the UK.  On the Collections Trust website (the organisation who owns the standard) there is a list of cataloguing software that allows users to comply.  I don't much care for the idea of a proprietary standard with a list of approved (commercial) software, but compliance with SPECTRUM appears to be a condition of official accreditation for UK museums.  The museum that forms part of the service where I work (I work in the archives section and we are trying out AtoM at the moment, with very good results) currently has accreditation from Museums, Galleries Scotland, but is wary of using AtoM for their catalogue as it would jeopardize their accreditation status (and therefore making funding applications less likely to succeed).

If anyone has any knowledge or experience of SPECTRUM, it would be great to hear your thoughts.

--
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "AtoM Users" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to ica-atom-users+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
To post to this group, send email to ica-atom-users@googlegroups.com.
Visit this group at https://groups.google.com/group/ica-atom-users.
To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/ica-atom-users/169f54f8-1b6f-4b0b-9d3b-57d3f830d6cb%40googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

Mark Smith

unread,
May 18, 2017, 7:49:57 AM5/18/17
to AtoM Users
Thanks for the usual excellent advice Dan.  Yes, discussing it with my museum colleagues, I think we might well end up with a catalogue for our archive collection (complying with Isad g or other standard), and a catalogue for our museum artefacts.  Our accreditation is based on the museum part of our service, so in the archives we are free to use whichever standard we like.  I'm glad of that, because, as you say, being tied into a closed standard (which recommends the use of certain pieces of software) is definitely not the best thing in the long term. 
Mark 
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to ica-atom-user...@googlegroups.com.
To post to this group, send email to ica-ato...@googlegroups.com.
Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages