Digital benchmarks for the culture sector

There is a lot of activity in museums about ‘going digital’ that it can make it confusing to know where to start. Our digital benchmarking toolkit is a free, easy to use tool for auditing your museums digital skills, equipment, activity and needs. It is available as a free download and based on a simple excel spreadsheet making it accessible for everybody from technicians to beginners.

The tool is built on projects like the EU-funded ENUMERATE and the fantastic Let’s Get Real research from Culture24. It is a simple self-assessment tool to enable you to step back, look at where you are in your use of technology, and think about the areas that you need to prioritise and develop. It is developed using the Benchmarks in Collections Care tool as a template. It is used to measure the current activity and standards of collections care in your museum.

Who’s it for?

The toolkit is not just for ‘digital people’ but is intended to be useful and accessible for all levels of staff and volunteers. However, it is very useful for:

  • Anybody looking to begin a digitisation project – you will find the tool useful for auditing your existing skills and equipment.
  • Any organisation undertaking strategic or operational planning – you will find this useful for identifying current areas to develop.
  • Those seeking funding for digital projects – you will find this useful for planning aspirations and mapping them against current activity.

How it works

The tool addresses 8 core areas in which digital is likely to impact on your organisation. Working through a series of range-statements for each area, the tool enables you to map your museums development from ‘we don’t do that’ to ‘digital, creative media and engagement are fully integrated across every aspect of what we do’. The range-statements are then mapped on a spider-diagram, providing you with a visualisation of your current situation and enabling you to identify areas you’d like your organisation to develop.

The 8 core areas are:

  • Strategy
  • People
  • Systems
  • Digitisation
  • Content
  • Delivery
  • Analytics
  • Engagement
  • Revenue

It is important to know that using the tool is not about seeking linear improvement based on the range statements; not everybody can, or wants to be, a 5/5, and we are not encouraging that. The tool will enable you to work through the areas of activity and consider what you’re currently doing and also plan what your museum would like to be doing with reference to capacity, skills, mission and policy.


Benchmarking the digital progression of your organisation does some very helpful things in terms of your strategic development:

  • Clarifies your current level of activity in all areas of work.
  • Demonstrates success in terms of digital development.
  • Helps make the case for prioritisation of and investment in digital development.
  • Brings all of the different elements of the organisation together, irrespective of technical skills.
  • Enables planning for growth and aspiration.

Feedback and development

The updated version of the free digital benchmarks tool is now available for download from this page. This has been updated following consultation with the sector. As with all of our work, we will continue to review it and gather responses from our users. Should you require assistance with rolling out your digital strategy using the tool please do not hesitate to contact Collections Trust staff for advice.

All feedback or enquiries related to the tool should be sent to us via email.

Clicking the link on this page will allow you to download this resource as an XLS file.

Date created: 2017

Author: Collections Trust

Publisher: Collections Trust