Bolton Library and Museum Services

Documentation Policy Statement

Bolton Library and Museum Services strive to achieve best practice in the documentation of its collections.

The service is committed to achieving SPECTRUM standards of documentation for all objects in its care and adhering to those standards for all primary museum procedures.

Museum documentation is the management of information about collections. The main purposes of documentation at Bolton Library and Museum Services are:

  • To establish accountability, i.e. to know what the service has and where it is
  • To enable the service to meet the requirements of the ACE Museum Accreditation Scheme
  • To demonstrate commitment to professional standards
  • To gain credibility with funding bodies, potential donors and the general public
  • To help staff to look after objects in their care, by making collections information readily available
  • To ensure that objects can be found quickly when needed and used to their full potential
  • To help staff to answer enquiries from other museums, researchers and the general public
  • To help staff to identify potential topics for exhibitions and educational events
  • To assist the service in proving legal ownership of objects if there is a dispute over title
  • To allow the service to respect the rights of others (e.g. Data Protection Act, Freedom of Information Act) whilst also protecting its own rights (e.g. copyright)
  • To enable the service to provide descriptions of lost or stolen objects to insurers or the police


Bolton Museum, Smithills Hall & Hall I’Th’Wood are Accredited museums.

One of the requirements of the ACE Accreditation Scheme is the setting up of SPECTRUM Primary Procedures (Object Entry, Acquisition, Cataloguing, Location & Movement Control, Loans In, Loans Out and Exit).

These procedures are in place and are applied to all current collections management activities. However, the information held by the service about objects in the existing collections does not always meet the minimum standard for these procedures.

The aims of the documentation policy and plan are:

  • To maintain the SPECTRUM Primary Procedures to the standard required by the ACE Accreditation Scheme and to continue to apply them to all collections management activities
  • To apply the SPECTRUM Primary Procedures retrospectively to all items in the permanent collections and on loan
  • To document targeted groups of items according to current legal, ethical and practical requirements
  • To introduce additional SPECTRUM procedures according to the demands of the service

Each SPECTRUM primary procedure is outlined in individual policy notes relating to the procedure.

All primary procedures are outlined in the Documentation Manual.

These documents are available on the shared computer drive and in hard copy in the Collections Office.