Modeling loans in the spectrum profile

I'm getting ready to set up some digital support for keeping track of the collection of a museum in its early days. We currently have about 70 works under our wings, partly our own, partly (long- and short term) loans.

Since the spectrum standard seems to be widely used here (we're in the Netherlands), it seems to make sense to start with the spectrum profile. However, I'm a bit confused how loans are modeled: I noticed there are 'loan in'/'loan out' screens 'under' the object editor, but loans are also 'top-level' objects as part of the generic data model. How is that supposed to be used? Should I ignore the 'top-level' loan objects when using spectrum, and use the loan screens 'under' the object editor instead? Those screens seem to be geared towards a single loan though - how would I model one work being loaned twice? Or am I misunderstanding things entirely?


  • In general you'd want to use loan in/out records to track administrative loan activity. The top-level "loan" objects are meant to be used to track incoming loaned objects while they're in your custody. Many (but not all) museums track loaned objects at item-level in the same way they track their own objects while they have custody. For long-term loans, where the object may be resident for years or decades (or forever), most museums will track it as part of their collection, but with a distinction. That distinction could be a "we don't actually own this" check box, or it could be a specific object type, or it could be something else.


  • Thanks for your reply!

    So when we have a temporary exhibition and get, say, 3 pieces in loan by the artist or some other entity, we would:

    1. create those pieces as 3 separate "New -> Object -> Art" with all the details of the artworks (including the 'loan in' page under those objects)
    2. create one 'New -> Loan -> loan in' object representing 'the loan as a whole', filling in the 'Related objects' in its 'relationships' with the 3 Art objects

    Does that make sense?

  • Yes, that's the way you'd do it in this configuration. Many museums handle this differently though. If you find this construction unwieldy there are other options.

  • To be quite honest, we're a rather small and inexperienced (not to mention unfunded :) ) team, so we'll likely just pick the Spectrum profile and use it as-is rather than going into customization - taking for granted that it might be unwieldy for certain operations. I was mainly trying to verify we're not adding extra complexity by trying to use it the wrong way :).

    Thanks for your confirmation!

  • What sort of museum is it? Art? Local history?

  • It's contemporary art, both from the Nul/ZERO movement (~1960) and now -

  • edited June 2

    Ah ok, you might want to look at the GRAM profile, which is for a medium-sized regional art museum. It is attached. It's simpler than SPECTRUM and possibly better suited to the scale you'll be working at.

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