Published March 23, 2022 | Version v1
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Digital Collections Audit

  • 1. Collections Trust
  • 2. Intelligent Heritage


Between September 2021 and the end of January 2022, Collections Trust carried out an audit of digital collections in the UK’s leading cultural heritage institutions. The work was commissioned by the AHRC-funded research programme Towards a National Collection (TaNC). The aim of the audit was to understand the number, scale and attributes of digitally-accessible collections across the UK cultural heritage sector that might form part of a future national digital collection infrastructure.

The scope and methodology of the audit were established in an initial phase of the project between June and September 2021. On the basis of this preliminary work, it was agreed that the study would comprise three elements:

  • A survey-based audit of:
  • the collection-holding Independent Research Organisations (IROs);
  • museums within the National Museum Directors’ Council and/or Arts Council England’s National Portfolio;
  • the museums, libraries and archives within England’s Designated collections and Scotland’s Recognised collections;
  • members of Research Libraries UK;
  • other relevant national bodies within Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland;
  • some other major digital collections, such as the BBC Archives and Portable Antiquities Scheme.

In all, this cohort included 264 cultural heritage institutions.

  • Structured conversations with relevant staff from IROs and some other particularly large institutions to gather technical information of the kind needed to inform future data-sharing initiatives.
  • Roundtable discussions with representatives of smaller museums and archives to gain qualitative insights into their capacity to join any future national digital collection.


Digital Audit.pdf

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Additional details


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