Published December 20, 2021 | Version v1
Report Open

International Benchmarking Review: A Towards a National Collection Report

  • 1. Towards a National Collection | Royal Holloway - University of London


The focus of the international benchmarking review are digital initiatives worldwide that fall under two categories: initiatives that are as close as possible to the scope and reach of the Towards a National Collection programme, meaning initiatives that are multi sectoral, multi collection, and that connect cultural objects and records at a national scale; and initiatives that offer models for best practice in relevant areas (public engagement; technological innovation; EDI practices; IPR and open access).

Following this summary, the first section contextualises the report within the broader research conducted and commissioned by Towards a National Collection; the second section describes the aims of the report; the third section defines the premises underlying the report and shaping the statistics considered in the report; the fourth section outlines the report’s scope, methodology, and the process of data acquisition; the fifth section explains the selection criteria of the general survey of initiatives and why some initiatives have not been included; the sixth section presents four case studies; finally, the last section outlines observations as well as recommendations for future work in the field and for the next phases of Towards a National Collection based on the report’s findings.

The report includes three appendices: Appendix A, the survey of all the initiatives considered; Appendix B, the list of the webinars of the International Series; and Appendix C, the bibliography.

Feeding into the Towards a National Collection Programme

The need for this International Benchmarking Report comes from the awareness that Towards a National Collection is not the first investment at an international level in creating a unified virtual ‘national collection’; in dissolving barriers between different collections across the GLAM sector; and in ensuring that user engagement is not only increased, but, first and foremost, diversified. Identifying and reviewing initiatives that have successfully achieved one or more of these aims will feed into the set of recommendations for the development of a future virtual national collection that the programme is developing based on its funded and commissioned research.

Towards a National Collection aims to have a transformative impact on the following areas, which correspond to the areas in analysis in this report:

  • Digital search and cataloguing tools for collections, and related technologies and methodologies.
  • Research capability: through enhanced researcher access and new cross-collection search tools, researchers will be able to exploit the potential of the nation’s research assets in innovative ways
  • Public access and public engagement with heritage: the programme will generate research-driven public-facing outputs, including major new exhibitions and immersive installations; extend public access beyond collections’ physical location, nationally and internationally; and facilitate wider and better-informed public engagement.


International Benchmarking Review.pdf

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Towards a National Collection Programme Directorate AH/V000802/1
UK Research and Innovation