Exhibitions & Loans Glossary

Borrower

The borrower is the institution requesting the loan of collections from another owner. For an outgoing loan, the borrower is the institution or other campus location requesting materials from a Harvard library. For an incoming loan, the borrower is the library within Harvard that has requested to borrow materials.  

Condition Check

A condition check documents the physical state of an object. Prior to the shipment of an outgoing loan or upon the receipt of an incoming loan, it is recommended that a conservator document the condition of all works associated with the loan. During the course of the loan, the condition is regularly monitored and the condition check form is annotated with any changes noticed at any point.

Courier

A courier is a library staff member who oversees the transport, packing, installation, and deinstallation of loaned collections. A courier is required if:

  • The loaned work has a moderate to high insurance value
  • The loaned work is fragile or has special handling considerations
  • The transit is complex
  • The exhibit installation requires detailed knowledge of the object or expertise specific to Harvard Library staff

Custody

Custody is the safe-keeping and stewarding of works during collection movement, off-site storage, and off-site use. Custody is tracked between locations with the transfer form/loan receipt, which requires a “released by” and a “received by” signature each time works are moved. "Chain of custody" is a legal term used by law enforcement for matters of evidence and is not applicable to movement of collections for Harvard exhibitions and loans.

Exhibition

An exhibition is an organized display of collections held by a library in its own gallery space. If an exhibition includes an object borrowed from another campus location or external institution, this is considered an incoming loan. If the exhibition gallery space is at another campus location or external institution and not at the owning library, this is considered an outgoing loan.

Exhibition Organizer

The exhibition organizer acts as the point person for exhibition content (e.g., initial checklist of works, label text), and works directly with the library contact (performing registrarial functions) to finalize decision-making and to meet deadlines. This role can be filled by a single person or a team of people with defined responsibilities and is typically filled by the appropriate collection manager, bibliographic subject specialist, curator, or appointed individuals from the faculty and student team.

Exhibition Review

An exhibition review is a meeting to assess the condition of collection items and determine the overall design and content needs of the exhibition. The meeting requires a completed exhibition checklist (Checklist Template), an exhibition organizer to act as the point person for the exhibition, as well as stakeholders from collections (collection manager, curator, bibliographic/subject specialist) and conservation (e.g., format-specific conservator) and a preparator (e.g., conservation technician). Additional stakeholders may include imaging staff, AV coordinator, digital projects coordinator, and designer, as well as relevant input from guest curators, donors, or school deans.

External Hand Carry

A hand carry is a transport that is personally supervised from start to finish by Harvard library staff and which complies with requirements established by Harvard Risk Management and Audit Services' Risk Financing and Insurance Department. The requirements for hand carry security and packing differ between external loan and internal (on-campus) loan and transfers.

For an external loan with a borrower or lender outside the University, an external hand carry using a vehicle or airplane may be appropriate and is subject to the following requirements: 

  • Objects must be small or lightweight
  • Objects must be packed into a hard-sided, waterproof case
  • Transport must be accompanied by one library courier and one or more vendor transport staff
  • Vehicle cannot be a personal vehicle or taxi
  • Objects must be immobilized within the vehicle/airplane
  • Objects must be protected from weather during loading and unloading
  • Package is never left unattended
  • Additional security (i.e., armed guard arranged through a customs broker/agent) may be required for loaned works with significant insurance value

External Loan

An external loan involves any off-campus transport to or from non-Harvard institutions or any Harvard institutions outside the Boston area. The loan may be either an outgoing loan being lent from a Harvard library, or an incoming loan being borrowed by a Harvard library. Because transport and packing of loans are similar when the loan is off-campus, the Guidelines for Transport & Packing uses this term.

Fine Arts Carrier

A fine arts carrier is a commercial firm that specializes in both packing and transport of works of art and other items of high value, fragility, or security needs. Their vehicles offer temperature and/or humidity control, air-ride suspension or other vibration control, and their staff are highly trained in handling fragile items. They are often selected for external loans, and only occasionally used for internal loans or Preservation Services transfers.

Incoming Loan

An incoming loan results from a request by a Harvard library to borrow materials from another campus location, external institution, or private individual. Such loans are often undertaken to augment an exhibition, or to assist in teaching, research, and instruction held at a Harvard library. To properly prepare for an incoming loan, please consult the guidelines for incoming loan processing & recommended timelines. If the lender does not have their own agreement, please complete the Incoming Loan Agreement.

Internal Hand Carry

A hand carry is transport that is personally supervised from start to finish by Harvard library staff and which complies with requirements established by Harvard Risk Management and Audit Services' Risk Financing and Insurance Department. The requirements for hand carry security and packing differ between external loan and internal (on-campus) loan and transfers.

For an internal loan with another campus location or for a preservation services transfer, a staff member might walk while carrying the object or be transported in a vehicle. If the object is large or heavy, and/or if there are weather/safety concerns, then a vehicle should be used.

2.3.2.1 Internal Hand Carry (Walking)

An internal hand carry by walking is appropriate for internal loan and preservation services transfer and is subject to the following requirements:

  • Objects must be small or lightweight and can be packed safely in a soft-sided case
  • Transport must occur during good weather (no active precipitation, no slippery sidewalks)
  • Transport must be accompanied by two or more couriers
  • Package is never left unattended
  • Additional security (i.e., Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) escort) may be required for loaned works with significant insurance value

2.3.2.2 Internal Hand Carry (Vehicle)

An internal hand carry by vehicle is appropriate for incoming loan and preservation services transfer and is a useful option for transporting large/heavy items and for transporting time-sensitive items impacted by rain, snow, or other weather. An internal hand carry by vehicle transport is subject to the following requirements:

  • Vehicle cannot be a personal vehicle or taxi
  • Objects must be immobilized within the vehicle
  • Objects must be protected from weather during loading and unloading
  • Transport must be accompanied by two or more couriers
  • Package is never left unattended
  • Packing must follow hand carry packing requirements
  • Additional security (i.e., HUPD escort) may be required for loaned works with significant insurance value

Internal Loan

An internal loan is on-campus within the Boston area. The loan can be either an outgoing loan being lent from your library, or an Incoming Loan being borrowed by your Library. Because transport and packing of loans us similar when the loan is on-campus, the guidelines for transport & packing uses this term.

Lender

The lender is the institution or person that is loaning collections to another institution. For an outgoing loan, the lender is the individual library within Harvard that owns the collections to be loaned. For an incoming loan, the lender is the owning institution, other campus location, or private individual that is loaning their materials. 

Library Contact

The library contact facilitates exhibitions and loans by organizing review appointments with stakeholders, communicating with the borrower/lender, organizing transport and packing, tracking object movement, reviewing or creating facility reports, reviewing insurance coverage, being or designating a courier, completing required forms ( e.g., incoming or outgoing loan agreements and transfer form/loan receipt), managing deadlines and facilitating communication among all stakeholders. Within Harvard libraries, these duties may be assigned to one staff member or shared among staff members and are referred to as registrarial functions. In the museum community, these duties are typically assigned to the one staff member known as the registrar.

Outgoing Loan

An outgoing loan results from requests by external institutions and other campus locations to borrow collections from Harvard libraries. To properly prepare for an outgoing loan please consult the guidelines for processing outgoing loans and recommended timelines. If the request is approved, the completion of an outgoing loan agreement is required. Please note that the borrower for an outgoing loan cannot be a private individual.

Outgoing Loan Review

An outgoing loan review is a meeting to assess the condition of all works being requested by another campus location or external institution and to determine the overall needs of the loan, if the library decides to approve the loan. The meeting requires the registrar/library contact performing registrarial functions and stakeholders from collections (collection manager, curator, bibliographic/subject specialist) and conservation (e.g., format-specific conservator). An incoming loan does not require a loan review, but it is recommended that an incoming condition check form be completed for each work and the library may choose to organize a meeting with stakeholders (e.g., registrar/library contact performing registrarial functions, collection manager, curator, bibliographic/subject specialist, format-specific conservator).

Preservation Services Transfer

A preservation services transfer refers to the movement of collections to, from, or between a Harvard library and other Preservation Services locations such as the Audio Preservation Studio, Imaging Services, or the Weissman Preservation Center before collections are returned to the owning library. It requires the completion of a transfer form/loan receipt, which captures information relevant to the identification of works, locations that works moved between, dates works will be away from and return to the library, and insurance value of the works. 

Registrarial Functions

Registrarial functions are performed by the library contact and include:

Within Harvard libraries, these duties may be assigned to one staff member or shared among staff members and are referred to as registrarial functions. In the museum community, these duties are typically assigned to the one staff member known as the registrar.

 

 

Stakeholders

Stakeholders typically include representatives from collections (collection manager, curator, bibliographic/subject specialist), a conservator (format-specific), a Preparator (e.g., conservation technician), and a library staff member performing registrarial functions. Depending on the library undertaking the exhibition, specific collections being considered for display, and publicity for the exhibition, stakeholders may also include Imaging staff, AV coordinator, digital project coordinator, designer, facilities/operations staff, as well as relevant input from guest curators, donors, or school deans.  

Transfer Form/Loan Receipt

The transfer form/loan receipt is a document that captures information relevant to the identification of works, locations that works moved between, dates works will be away from and return to the owning library, and insurance value of the works. The primary function of the Transfer From/Loan Receipt is to track custody between locations by requiring a “released by” and a “received by” signature each time works are moved.