Open Forum

 View Only
  • 1.  Level of Digitization

    Posted 03-07-2018 07:16 PM

    Hi –


    Does anyone know of any studies of the level of digitization in American museums?


    I'm primarily interested in three numbers:

    ·         percentage of the museum's object collection with standard digital records (with standard being defined by the museum itself)

    ·         percentage of the museum's object collection with at least one standard digital surrogate [images or reformatted media]

    ·         percentage of the museum's object collection that is searchable online by the public


    It would be helpful if the numbers are divided by museum size; for my purposes, I'm interested in studies of museums comparable to the size of our museum, 150 full-time employees and budget of about 50 million.


    Yes, we are huge and blessed.





    Laura Coyle, Ph.D.

    Head of Cataloging and Digitization

    National Museum of African American History and Culture


    If you need images or rights information, please contact

    Tel: 202-633-0249

    Pennsy: 301-238-1591


  • 2.  RE: Level of Digitization

    Posted 03-08-2018 09:24 AM

    ​I am also interested in learning more about this!

    At the Cincinnati Art Museum, I believe we have about 8% of our collection digitized (we have over 60,000 objects in our collection). Our photo services department is a staff of 2.

    I'd be interested in seeing if there are studies for museums overall in America. I'd also love to connect with more photographers/digital asset managers/people who work in digitization.

    Thanks for posting, Laura.

    Rachel Ellison, M.A. Public History
    Photo Services Assistant
    Cincinnati Art Museum

  • 3.  RE: Level of Digitization

    Posted 03-09-2018 03:55 PM
    Digitization stats for Smithsonian museums and other collecting units are available on the Smithsonian Public Dashboard:

    Metrics include total # collection items, #/% with a digital record, #/% that are prioritized, or intended for digital imaging, and of those, the #/% with a digital image. A wealth of information can also be found on the Smithsonian Digitization Program Office website:

    Kathy Ernst​​​​
    Smithsonian Organization and Audience Research

    Kathy Ernst
    Washington DC