Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out our Museum Collection Data Survey for 2018. We have never had as many participants as we have this year, with 116 responses. N=116
If you would like to have a look through all of the 2018 Museum Survey results, you can find them here.
Rather than reviewing all the results, we are going to take a closer look at just three questions.
How do you record collection data?
Commercial collection management software is clearly the most common way to record collection data. It has been consistently popular, but this year has made gains. There is also a significant increase in the use of custom databases. When added together to see how many collections use a computerised database it is a clear majority.
The next most popular method of recording the collection data is paper-based systems. Paper-based systems are almost always used in combination with some other digital method of recording. (2018=77.59%,2017=53%,2016=67.12%)
Speaking of Excel, this is another recording method that has enjoyed a resurgence in 2018. (2018=34,2017=17,2016=23).
How much of your collection records do you share publicly?
Still the most popular results to the question “How much of your collection records do you share publicly” are either highlights or none.
The “A large proportion (more than 20%, but not all records)” option made the largest growth in the 2018 results, moving up 8% to 24.35% (2018=24.35%,2017=16.22%,2016=12.50%)
These gains have been reflected in a steep reduction in the collection that published “All records, regardless of the level cataloguing completed”. This has halved from 9.46% in 2017 to 4.35% in 2018. Anecdotally larger institutions are spending considerable funds and effort in digitising as much of their collections as possible. While this goal may be aspirational across the museum sector the reality how big a job it is to publish the entire collection is hard to justify with the benefits and cost.
Additionally the final category “All records which have linked images” has also changed significantly, almost tripling from 1.35% in 2017 to 3.48% in 2018. This underscores the importance of images to the discovery of collection objects by visitors.
What other specialist software do you use to manage your collection?
In 2018 we have introduced a new question that has given us some very interesting results. We often have instances of other specialist software being used either in parallel or in combination with Vernon CMS. It is interesting to take a look at the numbers.
Firstly we have to acknowledge that the majority of collections surveyed did not nominate any additional software. Just on 60% either skipped the question or answered none in the “Other” category.
Of those that said they use other specialist software there are clearly more using Environmental Monitoring Software. (23.29%). This is followed at 9.56% by both Digital Asset Management and Content Management software.