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72 DigiCULT
T
ECHNOLOGY
A
DOPTION
BY
H
ERITAGE
I
NSTITUTIONS
: A B
IRD
'
S
E
YE
V
IEW
S
IZE
MATTERS
I
n the summary of input from the heritage sector
experts and practitioners, no distinction was made
between large institutions or smaller ones. However,
when it comes to adopting, implementing and using
technologies... size obviously matters! Smaller insti-
tutions, trying to match the large ones in providing
community services, face major disadvantages with
the new technologies, especially in finding qualified
personnel and funding resources.
When assessing the feasibility of a heritage institu-
tion making use of advanced information and com-
munication technology (ICT), two important points
need consideration.
First is the institution's capacity in terms of budg-
et, staff, collections and users. The second factor is the
smaller institutions' fiscal restrictions against following
up new technology ventures.
In order to establish quantitative reference points,
DigiCULT gathered data on the varying sizes of her-
itage institutions. The survey could not find widely
used and empirically based schemes, so compared
available data from statistically relevant surveys and
other sources.
97
The table below summarises the
results in a scheme that may be elaborated further,
but is sufficiently detailed for the present purpose
(for example, there is no category for `very large' or
`major' institutions which may have an annual opera-
tional budget of over
10 million).
This overview should make clear that most of the
smaller and even many of the medium-size institu-
tions will not find it easy to cover the total cost of
ownership (TCO) for certain more advanced ICT
applications beyond, for example, a simple Web site.
The most pressing factor that hampers heritage
institutions in their efforts to leverage their IT envi-
ronment is the lack of staff. A typical small institu-
tion will have fewer than five full-time equivalents,
with only a fraction of them being professionals con-
cerned with the institution's core business (e.g. cura-
tors, librarians, archivists, pedagogues). A common
problem for small institutions is that, while the limit-
ed number of professional staff available may be able
to ensure that the institution provides its core servic-
es, there will be little time to track down the neces-
sary funds that would allow them to finance any ICT
venture.
Smaller institutions' efforts in following up new
technology ventures are limited by lack of financial
leeway. A typical small institution will work on an
operational budget of no more that
100,000 while
a medium-sized institution may have up to
1 mil-
lion at its disposal.
Needless to say, these budgets leave scarcely any
room to finance ICT projects out of the operation-
al financial resources. Consequently, institutions inter-
ested in developing and realising technology projects
need additional funding. However, for many institu-
tions, even the preparation of applications for project
grants stretches limited personnel resources already
hard-pressed during planning and implementation
phases of a project.
Furthermore, experience from many initiatives
Small
Medium
Large
Annual operational budget (in
)
< 100,000
100,000- 1 million
> 1 million
Staff in full-time equivalents (FTEs)
(professional, support); volunteers not
included
< 5 FTEs
5-10 FTEs
> 10 FTEs
Number of collection objects
< 10,000
10,000-100,000
> 100,000
Number of annual visitors: museums
< 7,000
7,000-30,000
> 30,000
97
Most useful surveys
were Canadian Heritage
Information Network
(CHIN): Information
Technology in Canadian
Museums (1999), http://
www.chin.gc.ca/English/
Reference_Library/
Information_Technology/;
CHIN 2004 National
Membership Study.
Summary Report, http://
www.chin.gc.ca/English/
Members/Reports/
Membership_Survey/
index.html; Library and
Information Statistics Unit
(LISU) at Loughborough
University (2001): UK
Museums Retrospective
Statistics Projects,
http://www.mla.gov.
uk/documents/ev_domus1.
pdf; Scottish Museums
Council: National Audit of
Scotland's Museums and
Galleries (2002), http://
www.scottishmuseums.org.
uk/audit/index.asp
DCTHI7_271104.indd 72
06.12.2004 8:39:03 Uhr