Publishing / 5 min read

Historical institutions adopting digitalisation

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By Graham / June 12, 2018

Over recent years, digital transformation has presented challenges to various industries and organisations as they grapple with managing the obstacles and opportunities that digitalisation brings.

Migrating to a digital business model takes time and effort. Organisations are gradually adopting more digital tools and assessing how their internal resources can deliver against new digital strategies and goals.

Moving content online to a digital platform is one option that organisations are considering to broaden the availability of their content to a digital audience.

Many organisations are adopting the digitalisation

Historical institutions in the UK are a good example of an organisation adopting digitalisation, opening up their content to an online audience. 

Townsweb Archiving ran their first UK Digital Heritage Survey at the end of 2017 to get a picture of which archives, museums and libraries were publishing their collections digitally.

The results indicated a digital revolution stirring amongst the cultural heritage institutions of the UK, digitising their collection archives for the dual purpose of improving online accessibility and increasing potential revenue generation.

Digital Heritage Survey

In October 2017, Townsweb conducted a survey of over 170 UK heritage institutions. The survey involved the likes of local history centres and business archives, to rare book libraries and national museums.

Insights were gathered regarding:

Key findings from the institutions

1. Digital collections are already available online

“Almost 60% of UK cultural heritage institutions have digital collections available online”

At the moment many of the institutions have begun to digitalise their archiving.

2. Short term goal to move online in the next 12 months

“72% of institutions are planning to make more collections accessible online in the next 12 months”

There was a strong indication amongst survey respondents to move towards publishing more digital heritage collections online. Even those institutions who had no collections accessible online at the time of the survey, 54% were planning to publish their first digital content within the next 12 months.

This research highlights the trend towards digital archiving and making content accessible online. For these organisations it increases the opportunity to share information and knowledge to a digital savvy audience. 

In addition, 95% of institutions that already have existing content online plan to add more content within the next year. This is an indication of positive results and engagement on their existing digital platforms.

3. Revenue generation is a huge motivator for the digital shift

“32% of institutions state that revenue generation is ‘Important’ or ‘vital’.”

The opportunity to generate income is a contributing factor for some organisations and their shift to digital. Institutions have incorporated means of revenue generation by charging for downloads, allowing access to files, and if requested providing physical copies of documents.

By generating revenue, the initial cost of the online platform, along with its maintenance is covered.

4. Obstacles to moving collections online

“40% have no system for publishing their collections online”

For some institutions there is a resistance to digital transformation, due to:

The Page Lizard solution to digital archiving

Page Lizard provides digital solutions for various companies and membership organisations. We acknowledge that there is an encouraging shift toward digital which strengthens the ability to share knowledge and content.

We understand that for many organisations, archiving and categorising is important for content distribution. We have worked with such clients and provided solutions that meet their needs in an innovative way.

Our digital tools are customisable to suit your needs and maintain your information systems, whilst supporting your moves to a digital platform.

We pride ourselves in the high quality work that we do, and actually limit the number of projects we take on each year to maintain that focus on quality.

If you are an organisation that wants to discuss digital transformation then we would love to talk with you and discuss how our digital tools can create content assets.


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