GLAM/OpenGLAM Benchmark Survey/FAQ

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Note that the webpages related to the OpenGLAM Benchmark Survey are no longer maintained; an archived version is available at Zenodo.

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The present FAQ serves as our living project handbook. Feel free to add your questions, help formulating the answers and join the discussion on the talk page.

What is the OpenGLAM Benchmark Survey?[edit]

The OpenGLAM Benchmark Survey is an online survey that is conducted among heritage institutions throughout the world in the second half of 2014 and early 2015. The main purposes of the survey are to:

  • Measure the state of advancement of OpenGLAM (digitization, inter-organisational cooperation involving the exchange of metadata, open data, crowdsourcing, linked data) in the participating countries and to identify the main challenges and obstacles with regard to the promotion of OpenGLAM and free access to knowledge.
  • Inform the GLAM community about the latest developments in the area of OpenGLAM and relate them to the state of advancement of OpenGLAM in their country.
  • Identify potential partners for open data and/or crowdsourcing projects (R&D projects, GLAM-Wiki cooperations, open cultural data hackathons, consulting mandates, etc.)
  • Use the study report as a communication instrument to promote OpenGLAM within the local GLAM community and related sectors.
  • Use the study report as an instrument for lobbying activities in favour of OpenGLAM and the advancement of free knowledge.

"OpenGLAM" is an initiative run by the Open Knowledge Foundation that promotes free and open access to digital cultural heritage held by Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums. The survey is carried out in a collaborative effort of national chapters of the Open Knowledge Foundation, by Wikimedia chapters, NGOs, heritage institutions, and research institutions.

Please refer to the Concept for more details.

Getting started[edit]

For whom is the OpenGLAM Benchmark Survey?[edit]

Participation in the development and roll out of the survey is for people interested in actively promoting free access to cultural heritage in their country as well as for researchers studying issues related to digitization, inter-organizational cooperation, crowdsourcing, or open data among heritage institutions.

The survey as such is carried out among heritage institutions in the participating countries (we are using the same definition of heritage institutions as the ENUMERATE project).

The survey results will benefit the cultural heritage sector as a whole as they provide information about the advancement of open data and crowdsourcing practices in the sector, about challenges and driving forces, and about the benefits and potential beneficiaries of such practices. While the study is designed as an instrument to promote open access to cultural heritage, it tries to paint an objective picture of the situation and to take the challenges and reservations of heritage institutions seriously. The project team is committed to an open dialogue with heritage institutions, funding agencies, and public authorities responsible for the implementation of policies in the cultural heritage sector and invites them to participate in the development of the survey.

What countries and organisations are participating?[edit]

See the list of participating countries for an overview of the countries that are participating. Click on the coordinator's name in order to get in touch with one of the national teams.

Most people contribute to the survey on a volunteer basis; some organizations make available some staff time on an informal or formal basis. So far, the people involved in the survey are from local chapters of the Open Knowledge Foundation, from Wikimedia chapters, NGOs, heritage institutions, and research institutions.

Official partners and sponsors are listed on our partners & sponsors page. If your organization would like to officially support our survey, please follow the instructions contained on that page.

How can I get involved?[edit]

The OpenGLAM Benchmark Survey is organized in a federative manner, which means that the organization depends on volunteers and partners in each country. Local teams get in touch with local partners and sponsors, compile lists of e-mail addresses of GLAMs in their country, help develop, translate and administer the questionnaire, and write country reports. If your country is not listed yet among the participating countries, maybe you are interested in coordinating the effort in your country. Just leave us a message on the discussion page or contact the project coordinator (beat.estermann﹫! If you would like to join one of the existing teams, you may directly get in touch with the local coordinator.

If you are a researcher or a cultural heritage practitioner and would like to contribute to the development of the questionnaire, you are invited to do so on our Questionnaire Development Page and related documents. If you are unsure how and at what stage of the process it would be best for you to contribute, please contact the project coordinator (beat.estermann﹫

If you are a representative of a national umbrella organization (e.g. national association of museums, archives, or libraries) or one of the leading institutions or agencies in the cultural heritage sector in your country, we would be grateful if you supported the survey by advertising it among your members or key partners and and/or by helping the project team to gather the necessary e-mail contacts that will allow us to invite the heritage institutions in your country to participate in the survey. To this effect, we suggest that you get in touch with the national coordinator in your country or with the project coordinator (beat.estermann﹫

I am from a cultural heritage institution and want to participate in the survey, where can I do that?[edit]

E-mail invitations to participate in the survey are sent out based on lists of contact addresses of heritage institutions in each participating country. So, you could just wait and see whether you get an e-mail invitation to fill in the survey questionnaire. If you prefer to take a more active approach, you may want to get in touch with your national project team, help the team to assemble the e-mail contacts for your country, or set up a local team if no such team exists yet in your country. In this case, please refer to the question "How can I get involved?"

Project organisation[edit]

What is the institutional set-up of the project?[edit]

The project is implemented by an international project team which organises its tasks in work packages, which are coordinated by one or two work package leaders, and by national project teams which take care of the tasks that are carried out in a de-centralized manner in each country. Each national project team is led by a national coordinator which at the same time serves as a liaison person with the international team. The Concept contains a description of the tasks that are carried out at the international level and the tasks which are carried out at a national level.

The international project team and the national coordinators meet online in monthly intervals. These international coordination meetings serve as the main forum for decision-making of the project. Decisions are taken by rough consensus, and the minutes are made available online. The members of the different work packages and the national teams hold separate meetings if deemed useful.

The project team believes that this rather informal project set-up corresponds best to the voluntary nature of the endeavour at this early stage of the project (as of March 2014). A more formal project organisation may be required if formal partnerships are established or in the case of substantial external funding.

Who is responsible for project management?[edit]

The project management tasks are part of work package 1 which is led by Beat Estermann from Bern University of Applied Sciences.

What is the current status of the project?[edit]

A pilot survey was carried out in Switzerland in 2012. In 2014, a first round of an international benchmarking survey is carried out. The actual state of progress is tracked in the implementation plan, which is updated in quarterly intervals.

Where can I find the project's work plan?[edit]

An outline of the project's work plan can be found in the Concept. A more detailed work plan is established in an agile manner on a quarterly basis.

Project resources[edit]

What are the funding requirements of the project?[edit]

Coming soon (we are planning to apply for funding for data analysis and dissemination of results, i.e. translation, printing costs).

Where can I find the resource plan?[edit]

The resource plan of the second half of the project (starting from the moment when the English version of the questionnaire has been finalized and set up in the online tool), can be found here.

Which are the funding partners / sponsors of the project?[edit]

At the moment, there is no project funding for centrally managed tasks. Several (but by far not all) partners receive funding for some of their locally managed tasks. A large part of centrally managed tasks are ensured by the project coordinator (Beat Estermann) who's work is partly (~50%) paid for through the PhD scheme at Bern University of Applied Sciences. Some coordination support is also provided by Open Knowledge. The lion's share of the project work is carried out by volunteer contributors.

National teams[edit]

What is the role of the national teams?[edit]

According to the project's concept, the core tasks of the national teams are:

  • to ensure a high quality translation of the questionnaire in their local language(s) (including taking into account any local particularities),
  • to provide a coherent and well documented set of valid e-mail addresses of heritage institutions in their country, and
  • to answer questions of survey participants during the administration of the questionnaire.

In return, they will get an overall report of the survey in English with comparative statistics for the various countries (the report may not necessarily address the particularities of each country).

In order to enhance the impact of the study in their country, national teams are encouraged to engage in extra activities, such as:

  • contributing to the elaboration of the questionnaire
  • using the survey as an occasion to reach out to national umbrella organizations, lobby groups, public authorities, or leading heritage institutions
  • participating in data analysis and report writing
  • carrying out additional data analyses to get insights that are of particular interest to their country
  • translating the report into their local language(s), possibly adding some content that is specific to their country
  • distributing an electronic copy of the report to the heritage institutions in their country
  • having the report printed and distributing it at conferences and other events
  • presenting the survey results at various events
  • organizing the follow-up of heritage institutions that indicated that they would like to be contacted (This may imply that they need to enhance the capacity of their GLAM outreach team or build up such a team from scratch.)
  • exchanging experiences and best practices at the international level within the GLAM-Wiki and the OpenGLAM communities.

What is the minimal requirement for a country to join the survey?[edit]

Most importantly, national teams need to be able to provide a coherent and well documented set of valid e-mail addresses of heritage institutions in their country and to answer questions of survey participants during the administration of the questionnaire. In case the translation of the questionnaire into their local language(s) isn't provided for by another national team, they also need to be able to provide a high quality translation of the questionnaire.

And, of course, a certain level of involvement with the international team is needed in order to ensure a smooth coordination of the tasks. For that purpose, each national team is required to appoint a national coordinator that serves as a liaison person with the international team.

What is the role of the national coordinators?[edit]

The national coordinators are responsible for the constitution of a national team in their country and the coordination of project activities at the national level. National coordinators serve as liaison persons with the international team and are invited to attend the monthly international coordination meetings in order to ensure smooth coordination of project activities. For that purpose they are also required to sign up to the international mailing list.

The national coordinators keep track of who is part of their national project team in the overview table of participating countries. They also serve as contact persons for new team members and potential partners in their country. For that purpose they are asked to indicate their e-mail address on the overview table of participating countries.

How big should the national teams be?[edit]

It is up to the national teams to manage their size. We recommend however to involve several people per country.

Why should national teams consider partnering with national umbrella organizations and other organizations?[edit]

In some cases such partnerships may be useful to obtain e-mail addresses of heritage institutions; furthermore, it is highly recommended to seek partnerships with institutions that provide additional legitimacy to the survey among the target group (i.e. partners with a positive reputation among heritage institutions in the respective country). National project teams that are not able to follow-up on interested heritage institutions identified during the survey all by themselves may want to consider partnering with a research institution or another organisation that my take over this task. Promoting OpenGLAM in an effective manner may require the involvement of many partners with complementary roles and competencies.

Do national teams need to apply for funding at a local/national level?[edit]

The concept details the minimal requirements for participation in the international benchmark survey. Local teams may want to carry out some extra activities (e.g. enter partnerships with local organizations; write their own country report in the local language; follow-up respondents that have shown interest in open data, etc.). It is up to each local team to decide whether they can carry out the planned activities on a volunteer basis or whether they need to apply for project funding.

It is recommended that national teams make a list of activities they would like to carry out in connection with the survey, estimate the needed resources (personnel – volunteers or paid staff; travel expenses; other costs) and see who can cover them.

Survey questionnaire[edit]

For which countries do we need to translate the questionnaire into the local language(s)?[edit]

If we are likely to reach a significantly higher response rate by providing the questionnaire in the local language(s), we should do so. It should however kept in mind that translating a questionnaire in the required quality and setting it up in yet another language version is a time consuming task, and accounting for slight differences between language versions during data analysis can be quite a burden. We should therefore abstain from offering the questionnaire in languages that are not really needed.

How is translation quality ensured?[edit]

Ensuring translation quality is important for the results to be truly comparable. We will put proper processes in place to ensure a high level of quality (further details will follow). It is worthwhile investing into translation quality upfront, as it is quite costly to check for translation quality afterwards, during data analysis. It is therefore important to make sure we all understand the terms in the questionnaire in the same way.

Do we provide the possibility to fill in the questionnaire on paper?[edit]

Yes, we are planning to provide PDF versions of the questionnaire, which institutions can download and print. In the Swiss pilot survey, the respondents were given the possibility to get a PDF-file to print out and to be filled in on paper (this possibility was mentioned in the reminder only). In the end, one institution made use of this possibility because they had trouble filling in the online version. The situation regarding the institutions' preferences may vary a lot from country to country. So the exact approach may be adapted by the national teams to their particular circumstances.

Survey results[edit]

Where can I find the results of the survey?[edit]

The international project team will publish a report with the overall survey results in electronic format (in English). The link to the report will be published on the project portal on the Outreach Wiki and will be communicated via various communication channels of the OpenGLAM and GLAM-Wiki communities. The survey report will be translated and/or adapted by the various national teams for different countries and target groups. The project team will try to keep a directory of such derivative reports.

What can I use the results for? Will they be available for re-use?[edit]

The survey results will be provided under a free copyright license and you may use them for whatever purpose you like. We encourage you to use the results from our survey to promote OpenGLAM among relevant stakeholders in your country and to critically reflect issues related to open data and crowdsourcing in the heritage sector.

Will the raw data be published under a Free License?[edit]

Yes, we will make the data file available to be freely re-used and re-analysed by third parties. Limitations apply regarding information that may be used to identify a particular responding institution, as we promise our respondents to keep their responses confidential.

Future plans[edit]

Will the survey be repeated?[edit]

The ambition is to repeat this survey every two years. Part of the current project is to look into ways of securing / institutionalising the repetition of the survey.