ENUMERATE project conducts survey report on digitization efforts in Europe

ENUMERATE project conducts survey report on digitization efforts in Europe

Posted by Christina Powers on July 5, 2012 in Blog.

The European Union-funded ENUMERATE project recently released “A Survey on Digitisation in European Cultural Heritage Institutions,” a report in which 29 European countries and 2,000 museums, libraries, archives, and other cultural heritage institutions were surveyed on their digitization practices. The final report offers baseline statistical data on the current state of digitization in Europe. The study, conducted online from January to March of 2012 by a consortium of ten major European institutions, is the first to examine the current state of digitization efforts in Europe’s cultural heritage sector. The survey questions focused on four major aspects: 1) the state of digitization activity, 2) access to digital collections, 3) digital preservation strategy, and 4) digitization expenditures.

The findings from the study revealed significant progress in participating institution’s digitization efforts, as well as room for improvement in certain areas. While on average 83% of institutions surveyed already have a digital collection, or are currently involved in digitizing a collection, only 20% of the whole collection tends to be digitized. This statistic was particularly low for libraries: only 4% of their collections are digitized, though their ultimate goal is to increase the figure to 62%.

In terms of digital preservation less than a quarter of surveyed institutions have a written digital preservation strategy that outlines future digitization plans. However, about 30% of institutions operate within a national digital preservation infrastructure. The amount of time and effort allotted to digitization efforts comprises only a fraction of the overall expenditures of cultural institutions:  3.3% of paid staff in the surveyed institutions work full time on digitization. At national libraries, for example, a staff of 15 is the average size of the team responsible for digitization efforts.

The report is the first of a three-part series. The ENUMERATE project will conduct an in-depth “thematic” survey later this year. Funded by the European Commission under the ICT Policy Support Programme, the three-year project is expected to continue through 2014.

Read the full report here.

Photo courtesy Craig Elliott on Flickr; used under a CC BY 2.0 license.

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