Collections Management in Canadian Museums: 2016 Results

Table of Contents

Overview

In the spring of 2016, the Public Opinion Research (POR) unit of the Department of Canadian Heritage launched a Collections Management System (CMS) Survey on behalf of the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) to gain a better understanding of the current realities in collections documentation and digitization in Canadian museums. This report provides an overview of the data as well as an analysis of the results.

Survey methodology and results

POR sent an initial email introducing the CMS survey to 1411 client organizations for whom CHIN had a valid email address. This was followed by an invitation from POR to respond to the survey. The survey was available from May 25 to June 29, 2016. CHIN received 236 responses for a participation rate of 17%, which is slightly higher than the average response rate of 10–15% for external surveys. The responses yield information which will be very useful in planning CHIN’s resources.

The survey contained 18 questions of a general nature about the responding museum and its collections, the state of its documentation and digitization, and standards used in documenting the collections. Key results reveal that:

  • 82% of respondents use an automated system to document their collections;
  • 74% of those systems have been in place for three or more years;
  • 26% of respondents plan to purchase a new CMS in the next three years; and
  • the most widely used object classification system is Nomenclature and/or the Parks Canada Visual Dictionary.

The survey questions are included in Appendix A. Please note that because some questions were broken down into multiple potential responses, there are more than 18 questions listed in the results. For several questions, respondents could choose to write in a response under an “Other” option. These responses were then grouped into categories for ease of reporting.

Collections

Size of collections

Respondents were asked to indicate the size of their collections, ranging from less than 1000 to more than 3,000,000 objects.

Figure 1. Number of items in collections

Graphic of results to question regarding size of collections.
Figure 1: Number of items in collections – text version
[Q1] How many items are in your institution's collections?
Response Count Percentage

Not applicable

7

3%

3,000,000 objects or more

4

2%

1,500,000 – 2,999,999 objects

2

1%

700,000 – 1,499,999 objects

2

1%

350,000 – 699,999 objects

8

3%

150,000 – 349,999 objects

6

3%

50,000 – 149,999 objects

13

6%

10,000 – 49,999 objects

77

33%

1000 – 9999 objects

81

35%

Less than 1000 objects

33

14%

Total 233 100%

The majority of respondents were from smaller institutions. In fact, the three smallest institution categories combined make up 82% of the 233 respondents:

  • 1000–9999 objects (34%);
  • 10,000–49,999 objects (33%); and
  • Fewer than 1000 objects (14%)

Digitized collections

The next series of questions related to electronic documentation of museum collections.

Figure 2. Institutions with digital collection records in an automated system

Graphic of results to question regarding digital collection records. Long description
Figure 2. Institutions with digital collection records in an automated system – text version
[Q2] Does your institution have digital collections records in an automated Collections Management System, spreadsheet, or other system?
Response Count Percentage

Yes

186

82%

No

40

18%

Total 226 100%

While 82% of respondents responded that they use some sort of electronic system for recording their collections, the remainder have no electronic system.

Figure 3. Software used to manage collections

Graphic of results to question regarding software used to manage collections.
Figure 3. Software used to manage collections – text version
[Q3] What software is used to manage your collections information?
Response Count Percentage

FileMaker, MS Access or Excel

62

34%

PastPerfect

41

22%

Collections Virtuelles

18

10%

Mimsy

10

5%

Collective Access

9

5%

TMS Gallery Systems

7

4%

inMagic

4

2%

Minisis

4

2%

Not stated

4

2%

Custom built

3

2%

Ultima

3

2%

K Emu

2

1%

Single users

16

9%

Total 183 100%

The most commonly used systems were:

  • FileMaker, MS Access or Excel (34%);
  • PastPerfect (22%); and
  • Collections Virtuelles (10%)

A number of software products were used by only one respondent each (totalling 16 of the responses). They include Adlib, Alpha, Argus, Canadian Forces Artefact Management System, Drupal, EmbARK, Info-Muse, MIMS, Mobydoc, Nomenclature, SNBase, TRIM, ResourceMate, Yukon Museums DB and Zoological Information Management System. Although there is a wide range of software in use, 66% of respondents are users of the three largest categories.

Figure 4. Length of time the software has been in use

Graphic of results to question regarding how long current software has been in use.
Figure 4. Length of time the software has been in use – text version
[Q5] How long has it been in use?
Response Count Percentage

Less than one year

10

6%

1 – 3 years

37

20%

More than 3 years

135

74%

Total 182 100%

Anecdotally, it is known that software in museums tends to be used for several years and is not always kept up to the current version. The survey results confirm this fact:

  • 74% of respondents reported that their software had been in use for more than three years;
  • 20% had been using their software for one to three years; and
  • Only 7% of were using a system for less than a year.

Software that is older and has not been updated can pose a risk for museums.

Figure 5. Plans to acquire a new collections management system

Graphic of results to question regarding future plans to acquire new software (next three years).
Figure 5. Plans to acquire a new collections management system – text version
[Q6] Is your institution planning on acquiring a new collections management system or other software to manage its collections in the next three years?
Response Count Percentage

Yes

59

26%

No

165

74%

Total 224 100%

Slightly more than one-quarter of respondents are planning to purchase a new collections management system in the next three years.

In a cross-tabulation looking at the use of a system (Q4) compared to plans to purchase a system (Q6), 25% of respondents with an electronic software system (46 out of 186) plan to acquire a new one while 33% respondents without any software for managing their collections (13 out of 40) plan to acquire one.

Figure 6: Importance of specific aspects of collections management

Graphic of results to question regarding the importance of different aspects of collections management.
Figure 6: Importance of specific aspects of collections management – text version
[Q7] How important are each of the following aspects of collections management to your institutions?
Collection management Very important Somewhat important Not very important Not at all important Don't know Total

Managing movement of collections

110

61

32

18

3

224

Managing collections documentation and materials

174

40

6

2

2

224

Managing intellectual property rights

81

83

38

16

6

224

Providing internal access for reuse of content (eg. images)

128

68

14

10

4

224

Providing research access to collections information internally

142

54

21

5

2

224

Providing research to collections externally

77

96

27

17

7

224

Providing broad public access to collection images

83

90

27

19

5

224

Increasing awareness and visibility of current collections

132

65

17

7

3

224

In terms of important aspects of collections management:

  • 96% of respondents said that managing collections documentation and materials was either very important or somewhat important;
  • 88% said that increasing awareness and visibility of collections was either very important or somewhat important;
  • 88% said that providing research to collections information internally and providing internal access for reuse of content were either very or somewhat important; and
  • 88% responded that providing research access to collections externally and providing broad access to collection images were either very or somewhat important.

The next highest areas of concern were managing movement of collections (77%) and managing intellectual property rights (73%).

For this question, respondents could choose an “Other” category and write in a response. Additional responses included: managing conservation information, public and educational online content, and looking for public comments for additional information. Some institutions also noted the lack of resources to properly document their collections electronically.

Table 1: breakdown of institutions with records and images available internally by size of collection (Q1)
Size of collection < 1000 1000–9999 10,000–49,999 50,000–149,999 150,000–349,999 350,000–699,999 700,000–1.5 million 1.5 million+
Institutions with records for internal use only 12 59 49 10 5 4 1 5
Institutions with images for internal use only 13 57 54 11 5 5 1 5
Institutions with future plans to add more images 11 46 49 11 4 4 1 5
Total number of respondents by category 33 81 75 12 6 8 2 7

In a cross-tabulation of Q1 and Q8a, the largest percentage of institutions that have records available for internal use only are those with between 50,000–149,999 (10 out of 12 or 83%) and 150,000–349,999 records (5 out of 6 or 83%). Images for internal use also are highest in these groups. The 50,000–149,999 category is also the highest percentage of respondents that have future plans to add more images (11 out of 12 or 92%). However, the categories with the bigger collection sizes have fewer respondents than those of smaller institutions. A good proportion of the categories with smaller collection sizes also have records available internally: 72% of respondents in the 1000–9999 objects category (59 out of 81) and 65% of respondents in the 10,000 – 49,999 object category (49 out of 75).

Table 2: breakdown of institutions with records and images available on an institutional website by size of collection (Q1)
Size of collection < 1000 1000–9999 10,000–49,999 50,000–149,999 150,000–349,999 350,000–699,999 700,000–1.5 million 1.5 million+
Institutions with records on their institutional website 1 15 28 6 1 1 0 3
Institutions with images on their institutional website 2 22 21 6 1 1 0 3
Institutions with future plans to add more images 3 13 16 6 1 2 0 2
Total number of respondents by category 33 81 75 12 6 8 2 7

Few institutions responded that they have records and images available on their websites. However, of the 12 institutions in the 50,000–149,000 objects category, 50% reported having records and images on their sites with the same percentage reporting they have plans to add more images.

Table 3: breakdown of institutions with records and images available on social media by size of collection (Q1)
Size of collection < 1000 1000–9999 10,000–49,999 50,000–149,999 150,000–349,999 350,000–699,999 700,000–1.5 million 1.5 million+
Institutions with social media records 0 7 11 1 0 2 0 0
Institutions with social media images 1 7 9 1 0 2 0 0
Institutions with future plans to add more images 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Total number of respondents 33 81 75 12 6 8 2 7

Very few institutions make their images available on social media sites.

There was an open-ended option to this series of questions that allowed institutions to list other channels on which they posted collections records and images. Several responses to the question on other channels included information about posting images to specific social media channels, which may be because there was some confusion about the wording of the social media question. Other responses in the “Other access channels” category included Google Art, blogs and provincial collections as well as specialized networks.

Figure 7. Contribution to Artefacts Canada

Graphic of results to question regarding contribution to Artefacts Canada. Long description
Figure 7. Contribution to Artefacts Canada – text version
[Q11] Does your institution currently contribute to Artefacts Canada?
Response Count Percentage

Yes

59

30%

No

140

70%

Total 199 100%

More than two-thirds of respondents (70%) are not contributing to Artefacts Canada. Reasons in the survey are indicated below, with the highest proportion of the standard responses saying that they are waiting until digital images are available to share, followed by difficulty exporting data from a CMS.

Figure 8. Reasons for not contributing to Artefacts Canada

Graphic of results to question regarding the non-contribution to Artefacts Canada.
Figure 8. Reasons for not contributing to Artefacts Canada – text version
[Q12] Why is your institution not contributing to Artefacts Canada?
Response Count Percentage

Other (please specify)

88

65%

Reluctance to share some collections data online

7

5%

Lack of support from institution’s senior management

13

10%

Waiting until digital images are available to share

35

26%

Concern about data quality

13

10%

Duplication of effort

24

18%

Copyright concerns

10

7%

Difficulty in correcting information in Artefacts Canada

8

6%

Artefacts Canada’s contribution process is difficult

14

10%

Difficulty exporting data from collections management system

30

22%

Total 136 100%

Data can be contributed to Artefacts Canada without images, as these records still have value for museum professionals carrying out research on Canadian collections, so this need not be a deterrent to contribution. Difficulty in exporting data from a collections management system is of concern, particularly as data export for migration is a key component in digital preservation.

Breaking down the “Other” category provides additional information. Responses were grouped by similarity of responses such as “lack of time” or “not aware of the possibility.” Almost two thirds of the respondents cited time and/or money issues. The next highest grouping was for those who were unaware of the possibility of contributing (20%).

Figure 9. Other reasons for not contributing to Artefacts Canada

Graphic of results to question regarding other reasons for not contributing to Artefacts Canada.
Figure 9. Other reasons for not contributing to Artefacts Canada – text version
Other reasons for not contributing to Artefacts Canada
Other reasons for not contributing Count Percentage

Not aware of the possibility

18

20%

No collections or collections "not appropriate" for contribution

13

15%

Waiting to have more data

1

1%

Resource Issue: Time/Money

56

64%

Total 88 100%

Digital preservation

Figure 10. Digital preservation policies and plans

Graphic of results to question regarding if a digital preservation policy and plan is in place.
Figure 10. Digital preservation policies and plans – text version
[Q13] Does your institution have a digital preservation policy and plan in place?
Response Count Percentage

Yes

44

22%

No

154

78%

Total 198 100%

Less than one quarter of the respondents (22%) have a digital preservation policy and plan in place. Those who responded that they had a digital preservation policy and plan were presented with an open-ended question about what resources were used to guide the policy or plan.

For those who responded to this follow-up question, the most frequent resource (10 of 33 responses) used for policy guidance was provincial museum or archival associations. This was followed by institutions responding that their plan was for technical backup of the systems (9 of 33).

Institutions requiring guidance in setting up digital preservation plans can refer to CHIN’s Digital Preservation resources.

Standards

Object classification

The following figures illustrate the responses to the questions on object classifications used and how they are used. Figures 11, 12 and 13 provide the responses for those institutions that are using Parks Canada’s Descriptive and Visual Dictionary of Objects, Chenhall Revised Nomenclature or Nomenclature 3.0 or 4.0. These are the most widely used systems for object classification in responding institutions. For these questions, it was possible to choose more than option, as the classification systems could be used with different types of modifications, as specified in the question.

Figure 11. Managing collections with the Parks Canada object classification system

Graphic of results to question regarding Parks Canada classification.
Figure 11. Managing collections with the Parks Canada object classification system – text version
[Q15] Parks Canada Classification
Response Count Percentage

Use “as-is”

7

37%

Used with added/changed categories or classes

6

32%

Used with added local terms

8

42%

Used with other modifications

2

11%

 Total 19 100%

Figure 12. Managing collections with the Chenhall Revised Nomenclature object classification system

Graphic of results to question regarding the Chenhall revised nomenclature.
Figure 12. Managing collections with the Chenhall Revised Nomenclature object classification system – text version
[Q16] Chenhall Revised Nomenclature
Response Count Percentage

Use “as-is”

7

15%

Used with added/changed categories or classes

20

44%

Used with added local terms

23

50%

Used with other modifications

8

17%

 Total 46 100%

Figure 13. Managing collections with the Nomenclature 3.0 or 4.0 object classification system

Graphic of results to question regarding nomenclature 3.0 or 4.0
Figure 13. Managing collections with the Nomenclature 3.0 or 4.0 object classification system – text version
[Q17] Nomenclature 3.0 or 4.0
Response Count Percentage

Use “as-is”

14

26%

Used with added/changed categories or classes

16

30%

Used with added local terms

21

40%

Used with other modifications

11

21%

 Total 53 100%

Figure 14. Managing collections with the Info-Muse object classification system

Graphic of results to question regarding the Info-Muse classification system
Figure 14. Managing collections with the Info-Muse object classification system – text version
[Q18] Info-Muse Classification System
Response Count Percentage

Use “as-is”

21

60%

Used with added/changed categories or classes

8

23%

Used with added local terms

4

11%

Used with other modifications

5

14%

 Total 35 100%

Over three quarters of the respondents to questions 16 through 18 are using a version of Nomenclature or Parks Canada classification systems, either as is or in combination with modifications or added local terms, while 23% are using Info-Muse.

Figure 15. Managing collections with an internally developed object classification system

Graphic of results to question regarding managing collections with an internally developed system
Figure 15. Managing collections with an internally developed object classification system – text version
[Q19] Internally-developed system
Response Count Percentage

Yes

76

56%

No

60

44%

Total 136 100%

Over half of the respondents to this question are using internally developed systems, while 44% responded that they do not have an internally developed system. It was possible for respondents to answer that they used one of the classification systems in questions 16 through 18 and also that they used an internally developed system.

Additional classification systems mentioned in “Other” responses included Library of Congress, Rules for Archival Description and a number of specialized terminologies (e.g. Natural History, Maritime History).

Terminology standardization

The following questions indicate the level of standardization for various types of information in collections management systems.

Figure 16. Method of standardizing terminology for object naming

Graphic of results to question regarding the method of standardizing terminology for object naming.
Figure 16. Method of standardizing terminology for object naming – text version
[Q21] Object Naming
Response Count Percentage

No vocabulary standard used

31

17%

Local vocabulary

27

15%

Other

27

15%

Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)

10

6%

Revised Nomenclature

28

16%

Nomenclature 3.0 or 4.0

55

31%

Parks Canada Classification System

23

13%

 Total 179 100%

Figure 17. Method of standardizing terminology for geographic names

Graphic of results to question regarding the method of standardizing terminology for geographic names
Figure 17. Method of standardizing terminology for geographic names – text version
[Q22] Geographic Names
Response Count Percentage

No vocabulary standard used

61

39%

Local vocabulary

66

42%

Other

15

10%

Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)

11

7%

NRCAN Geographical Names of Canada

20

13%

 Total 157 100%

As seen in the responses to the previous questions regarding classification systems, Parks Canada Classification System and Nomenclature are widely used in object naming, making up 59% of responses for this category. Only 18% of respondents did not use a vocabulary standard for object naming.

For geographic names, on the other hand, 42% use a local vocabulary, while 39% use no vocabulary standard.

Figure 18. Method of standardizing terminology for artist/creator names

Graphic of results to question regarding methods of standardizing terminology for artist/creator names
Figure 18. Method of standardizing terminology for artist/creator names – text version
[Q23] Artist/Creator Names
Response Count Percentage

Artists in Canada

26

17%

Getty Union List of Artist Names

8

5%

Other

15

10%

Local vocabulary

58

37%

No vocabulary standard used

66

43%

 Total 155 100%

Figure 19. Method of standardizing terminology for materials/medium/support/technique

Graphic of results to question regarding the method of standardizing terminology for materials/medium/support/technique
Figure 19. Method of standardizing terminology for materials/medium/support/technique – text version
[Q24] Materials/Medium/Support Technique
Response Count Percentage

CHIN Materials/Techniques (Ewing)

28

18%

Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)

12

8%

Other

23

15%

Local vocabulary

42

28%

No vocabulary standard used

60

39%

 Total 153 100%

Figure 20. Method of standardizing terminology for culture

Graphic of results to question regarding the method of standardizing terminology for culture Long description
Figure 20. Method of standardizing terminology for culture – text version
[Q25] Culture
Response Count Percentage

Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)

10

7%

Other

12

8%

Local vocabulary

63

41%

No vocabulary standard used

73

48%

Total 152 100%

For artist names, the option of “No vocabulary standard used” was the most widely chosen response at 43%, followed by use of a local vocabulary at 37%. For materials/medium/support/techniques, the “No vocabulary standard” response (39%) was followed by a local vocabulary (28%). For culture, almost half did not use a standard (48%), while over four in ten applied a local vocabulary.

Figure 21. Method of standardizing terminology for time periods

Graphic of results to question regarding the method of standardizing terminology for time periods
Figure 21. Method of standardizing terminology for time periods – text version
[Q26] Time Periods
Response Count Percentage

No vocabulary standard used

71

46%

Local vocabulary

60

39%

Other

19

12%

Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)

6

4%

Total 154 100%

For time periods, 46% of respondents do not use a vocabulary standard, while 39% use a local vocabulary. These results indicate that the most standardized type of information is for object name. For other data types, only in geographic standards did a local vocabulary outnumber no vocabulary standard used in responses, perhaps not surprisingly, as local vocabularies may include regionally specific terms.

In Q27 respondents were provided with an open space to list other vocabularies used. There were several responses mentioning additional specialized vocabularies such as for coins or stamps. Also, some mentioned that they have standards incorporated into their CMS. Some respondents in the “Other” responses pointed out that natural history standards were not part of the potential responses as the options were more relevant to humanities collections.

An additional open question asked respondents for input on the anticipated future needs for controlled vocabularies. The most frequent responses to Q28 related to the need for guidance and/or developing internal guidelines, as well as overall work on collections documentation (38%). This was followed by 28% of respondents who identified no anticipated need or no change from current practices. There were some specialized needs identified, including terminology related to new technologies and born-digital art. Most responses focused on the time and resources required in order to standardize the vocabulary in their collections.

Data entry rules

Figure 22. Use of CHIN Data Dictionary for data entry rules

Graphic of results to question regarding the use of CHIN Data Dictionary for data entry rules
Figure 22. Use of CHIN Data Dictionary for data entry rules – text version
[Q29] CHIN Data Dictionary
Response Count Percentage

Used with adapted local data fields

18

30%

Used with adapted local rules

26

43%

Used “as-is”

22

36%

Total 61 100%

Figure 23. Use of Cataloguing Cultural Objects (CCO) for data entry rules

Graphic of  results to question regarding the use of Cataloguing Cultural Objects (COO) for  data entry rules
Figure 23. Use of Cataloguing Cultural Objects (CCO) for data entry rules – text version
[Q30] Cataloguing Cultural Objects (CCO)
Response Count Percentage

Used 'as-is'

13

43%

Used with adapted local rules

11

37%

Used with adapted local data fields

7

23%

Total 30 100%

Figure 24. Use of Info-Muse Network Documentation Guide for data entry rules

Graphic of results to question regarding the use of Info-Muse Network Documentation Guide for data entry rules
Figure 24. Use of Info-Muse Network Documentation Guide for data entry rules – text version
[Q31] The Info-Muse Network Documentation Guide
Response Count Percentage

Used “as-is”

31

71%

Used with adapted local rules

10

23%

Used with adapted local data fields

4

9%

Total 44 100%

Figure 25. Use of data entry rules dictated by Collections Management System

Graphic of results to question regarding the use of data entry rules dictated by Collections Management System
Figure 25. Use of data entry rules dictated by Collections Management System – text version
[Q32] Data entry rules dictated by Collections Management System
Response Count Percentage

Used “as-is”

27

28%

Used with adapted local rules

40

41%

Used with adapted local data fields

44

45%

Total 97 100%

Figure 26. Use of local data entry rules

Graphic of results to question regarding the use of local data entry rules
Figure 26. Use of local data entry rules – text version
[Q33] Local Data Entry Rules
Response Count Percentage

Yes

108

74%

No

38

26%

 Total 146 100%

In response to the question regarding data entry rules

  • the highest number of responses was for local data entry rules (108 of 338 total responses to these questions or 32%);
  • the next highest response was for data entry rules dictated by the collections management system (97 of 338 total responses or 29%), mostly with adapted local data fields (44 of the 97 respondents citing data entry rules dictated by collections management system or 45%);
  • the CHIN data dictionary was the third most frequent response with 61 respondents or 18%.

The total number of responses for this series of questions (338) is higher than the total number of survey respondents, indicating that respondents may be using different data entry rules in different situations.

Institutional information

Figure 27. Provincial Participation

Graphic of results to question regarding in which province or territory the institution is located.
Figure 27. Provincial Participation – text version
[Q34] In which province or territory is your institution located?
Response Count Percentage

Alberta

11

6%

British Columbia

38

20%

Manitoba

6

3%

New Brunswick

12

6%

Newfoundland and Labrador

5

3%

Northwest Territories

0

0%

Nova Scotia

11

6%

Nunavut

0

0%

Ontario

57

30%

Prince Edward Island

1

1%

Quebec

39

21%

Saskatchewan

7

4%

Yukon

2

1%

Total 189 100%

The largest number of responses came from the three largest provinces.

Figure 28. Type of internet access

Graphic of results to question regarding what type of internet access the institution has
Figure 28. Type of internet access – text version
[Q36] What type of internet access does your institution have?
Response Count Percentage

No internet access

6

3%

Dial-up

4

2%

High speed (broadband)

180

95%

Total 190 100%

The majority of institutions have high speed internet access (95%). Less than 3% have dial-up access, while just over 3% have no internet access. A 2016 report by the Canadian Radio and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) found that over 80% of Canadian households had access to speeds of at least 50 Mbps. Responses to this question show high speed access to be even more prevalent in Canadian museums.

Figure 29. Institution types

Graphic of results to question regarding the classification of the institution’s primary collections
Figure 29. Institution types – text version
[Q36] How would you classify your institution’s primary collections?
Response Count Percentage

Art

28

15%

History

117

61%

Archaeology

4

2%

Natural History/Natural Science

9

5%

Science & Technology

6

3%

Other

21

11%

Archival/library material

7

4%

Total 192 100%

Institutions were asked to classify their institutions according to their primary collection type, including: art, history, archaeology, natural history/natural science, science and technology, archival/library material and other.

Almost two-thirds of respondents identified their primary collections as historical. This was followed by art (15%) and then other (11%). This profile can impact some of the results, particularly in standards used.

Figure 30. Budget ranges

Graphic of results to question regarding the institution’s current annual operating budget
Figure 30. Budget ranges – text version
[Q37] What is your institution’s current annual operating budget?
Response Count Percentage

$0 – $4,999

10

5%

$5,000 – $24,999

14

7%

$25,000 – $49,999

15

8%

$50,000 - $99,999

17

9%

$100,000 – $199,999

24

13%

$200,000 – $399,999

18

10%

$400,000 - $699,999

24

13%

$700,000 - $999,999

14

7%

$1,000,000 – $1,499,999

16

8%

$1,500,000 – $1,999,999

8

4%

$2,000,000 – $2,999,999

4

2%

$3,000,000 – $3,999,999

2

1%

$4,000,000 and over

13

7%

Don’t know

11

6%

Total 190 100%

Respondents were asked to indicate their organizational budget within a series of 16 budget categories, ranging from a low of $0 to $4999 per year to a high of over $4,000,000 per year. The largest proportions represented were in the $100,000 to $199,000 and $400,000 to $699,000 ranges, with 13% of respondents in each category.

Respondents in the survey represented institutions from every budget category.

Conclusions

Although a high percentage of respondents are using electronic systems to document their collections, there is a lot of room for improvement in terms of standards followed, as well as in digital preservation planning. Systems are older, and roughly one quarter plan on purchasing new systems. Some of the outdated systems that are in use are no longer supported, presenting potential areas of danger for institutions who may have difficulty migrating their data to a new system. Museums using proprietary software should be sure to have a backup of their collections data in a non-proprietary application-independent format.

The findings of this survey will help CHIN establish priorities in developing resources to assist museums in upgrading and improving electronic documentation of their collections.

Appendix A

This is a copy of the survey for reference only.

Collections

1. How many items are in your institution’s collections?

  • Less than 1000 objects
  • 1000 – 9999 objects
  • 10,000 – 49,999 objects
  • 50,000 – 149,999 objects
  • 150,000 – 349,999 objects
  • 350,000 – 699,999 objects
  • 700,000 – 1,4999,999 objects
  • 1,500,000 – 2,999,999 objects
  • 3,000,000 objects or more
  • Not applicable

2. Does your institution have digital collection records in an automated collections management system, spreadsheet or other system?

  • Yes
  • No

If no skip to Question 6

3. What software does your institution use for managing collections?

Product Name:

4. What version of the software does your institution currently use?

5. How long has it been in use? (Check one)

  • Less than one year
  • 1 – 3 years
  • More than 3 years

6. Is your institution planning on acquiring a new collections management system or other software to manage its collections in the next three years?

  • Yes
  • No

7. How important are each of the following aspects of collections management to your institutions?

Very important Somewhat important Not very important Not at all important
Managing movement of collections
Managing collections documentation and materials
Managing intellectual property rights
Providing internal access for reuse of content (e.g. images)
Providing research access to collections information internally
Providing research to collections externally
Providing broad public access to collection images
Increasing awareness and visibility of current collections

Others

Please specify:

8a. How many of your institution’s objects have digital records in the following channels?

Access channel Number of digital records currently available Number of objects for which you have one or more digital images Number of additional objects for which you plan to have digital images made available in the next 2 years
Internal access only
Institutional website
Online access through collections management vendor’s site
Provincial aggregator
Artefacts Canada
Social media platforms like Flickr, Wikimedia or Pinterest
Institutional API
(application program interface)

8b. Please provide any other access channels that are not listed above.

9a. Does your institution currently contribute to Artefacts Canada?

  • Yes
  • No (Go to Q9b)

9b. Why is your institution not contributing to Artefacts Canada?

  • Difficulty exporting data from collections management system
  • Artefacts Canada’s contribution process is difficult
  • Difficulty in correcting information in Artefacts Canada
  • Copyright concerns
  • Duplication of effort
  • Concern about data quality
  • Waiting until digital images are available to share
  • Lack of support from institution’s senior management
  • Reluctance to share some collections data online
  • Other (please specify)

10a. Does your institution have a digital preservation policy and plan in place?

  • Yes
  • No

10b. What digital preservation resources have guided the policy or plan? (please specify)

Standards

11a. What object classification system does your institution use to manage its collections? Select all that apply.

Used “as-is” Used with added/ changed categories or classes Used with added local terms Used with other modifications
Parks Canada Classification
Chenhall Revised Nomenclature
Nomenclature 3.0 or 4.0
Info-Muse Classification System
Internally-developed system

11b. Please provide any additional classification systems that your institution uses to manage its collections that are not listed above.

12. Howdoes your organization standardize the terminology in its object records (e.g. controlled vocabulary or authority lists)?

Note: A controlled vocabulary is an organized arrangement of words and phrases used to index content and/or to retrieve content through browsing or searching.

Authority lists (also called authority files) are lists of terms that can be used by a museum to control the terms or variants that are used in their collections documentation.

Data Type Vocabulary Standard (select all that apply)
Object Naming (object name, object type) Parks Canada Classification System
Nomenclature 3.0 or 4.0
Revised Nomenclature
Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)
Other
Local vocabulary
No vocabulary standard used
Geographic Names NRCAN Geographical Names of Canada
Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)
Other
Local vocabulary
No vocabulary standard used
Artist/Creator Names Artists in Canada
Getty Union List of Artist Names
Other
Local vocabulary
No vocabulary standard used
Materials/Medium/Support
Technique
CHIN Materials/Techniques (Ewing)
Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)
Other
Local vocabulary
No vocabulary standard used
Culture Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)
Other
Local vocabulary
No vocabulary standard used
Time Periods Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)
Other
Local vocabulary
No vocabulary standard used
Please list any other data types used that are regulated with a controlled vocabulary


13. What are your institution’s anticipated future needs for controlled vocabularies?

14. Data Entry Rules

What content standards (data entry rules) are in use at your institution? (Select all that apply)

Data Entry Rules Used “as-is” Used with adapted local rules Used with adapted local data fields
CHIN Data Dictionary
Cataloguing Cultural Objects (CCO)
Le guide de documentation du Réseau Info-Muse (available in French only)
Data entry rules dictated by collections management system
Local data entry rules: Rules to determine how data are entered in fields which dictate the order, syntax and format the museum uses to record data.

Basic profile information

15. In which province or territory is your institution located?

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Nunavut
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

16. What type of internet access does your institution have? (Check one)

  • No internet access
  • Dial-up
  • High speed (broadband)

17. How would you classify your institution’s primary collections? (Please check the one phrase that best describes your collections)

  • Art
  • History
  • Archaeology
  • Natural History/Natural Science
  • Science & Technology
  • Other (please specify)

Do you have archival/library material?

18. What is your institution’s current annual operating budget? Please provide your best estimate. (Check one)

  • 0 – 4,999
  • 5,000 – 24,999
  • 25,000 – 49,999
  • 50,000 – 99,999
  • 100,000 – 199,999
  • 200,000 – 399,999
  • 400,000 - 699,999
  • 700,000 – 999,999
  • 1,000,000 – 1,499,999
  • 1,500,000 – 1,999,999
  • 2,000,000 – 2,999,999
  • 3,000,000 – 3,999,999
  • 4,000,000 and over
  • Don’t know
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