Information and documentation - Key indicators for museums

This document specifies a set of key indicators for assessing the quality of museums:
— for the purpose of strategic planning and internal management of museums;
— for reporting to stakeholders such as funding institutions, policy makers, or the public;
— to promote the museums' role and value for learning and research, education and culture, social and economic life;
— for comparing results over time and between museums.
The aim of this document is to provide a selection of key indicators applicable to a wide range of museums. It is recognized that not all indicators are pertinent for each individual museum category or each individual museum. Limitations on the applicability of individual indicators are listed in the scope clause of the description of each indicator (see Annex A).
This document is not intended to exclude the use of other indicators not specified in it.

Information et documentation - Indicateurs clés des musées

Informatika in dokumentacija - Ključni kazalniki za muzeje

General Information

Status
Published
Public Enquiry End Date
20-Oct-2019
Publication Date
14-Jan-2021
Current Stage
6060 - National Implementation/Publication (Adopted Project)
Start Date
08-Dec-2020
Due Date
12-Feb-2021
Completion Date
15-Jan-2021

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SLOVENSKI STANDARD
SIST ISO 21246:2021
01-februar-2021
Informatika in dokumentacija - Ključni kazalniki za muzeje
Information and documentation - Key indicators for museums
Information et documentation - Indicateurs clés des musées
Ta slovenski standard je istoveten z: ISO 21246:2019
ICS:
01.140.20 Informacijske vede Information sciences
97.195 Umetniški in obrtniški izdelki. Items of art and handicrafts.
Kulturne dobrine in kulturna Cultural property and
dediščina heritage
SIST ISO 21246:2021 en

2003-01.Slovenski inštitut za standardizacijo. Razmnoževanje celote ali delov tega standarda ni dovoljeno.

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SIST ISO 21246:2021
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SIST ISO 21246:2021
INTERNATIONAL ISO
STANDARD 21246
First edition
2019-11
Information and documentation —
Key indicators for museums
Information et documentation — Indicateurs clés des musées
Reference number
ISO 21246:2019(E)
ISO 2019
---------------------- Page: 3 ----------------------
SIST ISO 21246:2021
ISO 21246:2019(E)
COPYRIGHT PROTECTED DOCUMENT
© ISO 2019

All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, or required in the context of its implementation, no part of this publication may

be reproduced or utilized otherwise in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting

on the internet or an intranet, without prior written permission. Permission can be requested from either ISO at the address

below or ISO’s member body in the country of the requester.
ISO copyright office
CP 401 • Ch. de Blandonnet 8
CH-1214 Vernier, Geneva
Phone: +41 22 749 01 11
Fax: +41 22 749 09 47
Email: copyright@iso.org
Website: www.iso.org
Published in Switzerland
ii © ISO 2019 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 4 ----------------------
SIST ISO 21246:2021
ISO 21246:2019(E)
Contents Page

Foreword ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................iv

Introduction ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................v

1 Scope ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 1

2 Normative references ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

3 Terms and definitions ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

4 Functions and quality aspects of museums ...........................................................................................................................11

4.1 Core functions of museums .......................................................................................................................................................11

4.1.1 Collecting .............................................................................................................................................................................11

4.1.2 Preserving ...........................................................................................................................................................................11

4.1.3 Exhibiting (Presenting) ...........................................................................................................................................11

4.1.4 Educational activities ................................................................................................................................................12

4.1.5 Research ...............................................................................................................................................................................12

4.1.6 Management .....................................................................................................................................................................12

4.2 Quality aspects of museums .....................................................................................................................................................12

5 Key indicators for museums ..................................................................................................................................................................13

5.1 General ........................................................................................................................................................................................................13

5.2 Criteria for museum indicators .............................................................................................................................................13

5.3 Use of museum indicators ..........................................................................................................................................................14

5.4 Selection of museum indicators ............................................................................................................................................14

5.5 Comparability of results ...............................................................................................................................................................14

5.6 Descriptive framework .................................................................................................................................................................15

5.6.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................15

5.6.2 Name .......................................................................................................................................................................................15

5.6.3 Background........................................................................................................................................................................15

5.6.4 Objective of the indicator ......................................................................................................................................15

5.6.5 Scope .......................................................................................................................................................................................15

5.6.6 Definition of the indicator.....................................................................................................................................15

5.6.7 Method ...................................................................................................................................................................................15

5.6.8 Interpretation and use of results ....................................................................................................................16

5.6.9 Source(s) ..............................................................................................................................................................................16

6 List of key indicators for museums ................................................................................................................................................16

6.1 General ........................................................................................................................................................................................................16

6.2 Museum functions and key indicators .............................................................................................................................16

6.2.1 Collections ..........................................................................................................................................................................16

6.2.2 Exhibitions .........................................................................................................................................................................16

6.2.3 Digitization.........................................................................................................................................................................17

6.2.4 Visits/Visitors/General awareness ...............................................................................................................17

6.2.5 Educational activities and events ...................................................................................................................17

6.2.6 Research ...............................................................................................................................................................................17

6.2.7 Management .....................................................................................................................................................................17

6.3 List of key indicators for museums ....................................................................................................................................17

Annex A (normative) Description and calculation of indicators ..........................................................................................20

Annex B (informative) Checklist of additional information for the quality assessment

of museums .............................................................................................................................................................................................................66

Bibliography .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................68

© ISO 2019 – All rights reserved iii
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SIST ISO 21246:2021
ISO 21246:2019(E)
Foreword

ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards

bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is normally carried out

through ISO technical committees. Each member body interested in a subject for which a technical

committee has been established has the right to be represented on that committee. International

organizations, governmental and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO, also take part in the work.

ISO collaborates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on all matters of

electrotechnical standardization.

The procedures used to develop this document and those intended for its further maintenance are

described in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1. In particular, the different approval criteria needed for the

different types of ISO documents should be noted. This document was drafted in accordance with the

editorial rules of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (see www .iso .org/ directives).

Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of

patent rights. ISO shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights. Details of

any patent rights identified during the development of the document will be in the Introduction and/or

on the ISO list of patent declarations received (see www .iso .org/ patents).

Any trade name used in this document is information given for the convenience of users and does not

constitute an endorsement.

For an explanation of the voluntary nature of standards, the meaning of ISO specific terms and

expressions related to conformity assessment, as well as information about ISO's adherence to the

World Trade Organization (WTO) principles in the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), see www .iso .org/

iso/ foreword .html.

This document was prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC 46, Information and documentation,

Subcommittee SC 8, Quality — Statistics and performance evaluation.

Any feedback or questions on this document should be directed to the user’s national standards body. A

complete listing of these bodies can be found at www .iso .org/ members .html.
iv © ISO 2019 – All rights reserved
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SIST ISO 21246:2021
ISO 21246:2019(E)
Introduction

This document provides guidance to the museum community on the use of key museum indicators. It

specifies the requirements of a key indicator for museums and establishes a set of indicators to be used

by museums of all types.

Some of the indicators included in this document are already in use by museums, or have been proposed

in recent museum literature. Other indicators have been taken from library standards and adapted to the

requirements of museums. Annex A describes the key indicators that have been found useful for quality

assessment of museums. The data specified in Annex B can be used for complementing and supporting

the information gained by using the key museum indicators, though they are not in themselves such

indicators. This document has been developed in close cooperation with the International Council on

Museums (ICOM) and takes advantage of, particularly, the work of the European Group on Museum

Statistics (EGMUS).
© ISO 2019 – All rights reserved v
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SIST ISO 21246:2021
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SIST ISO 21246:2021
INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ISO 21246:2019(E)
Information and documentation — Key indicators for
museums
1 Scope

This document specifies a set of key indicators for assessing the quality of museums:

— for the purpose of strategic planning and internal management of museums;

— for reporting to stakeholders such as funding institutions, policy makers, or the public;

— to promote the museums’ role and value for learning and research, education and culture, social and

economic life;
— for comparing results over time and between museums.

The aim of this document is to provide a selection of key indicators applicable to a wide range of

museums. It is recognized that not all indicators are pertinent for each individual museum category or

each individual museum. Limitations on the applicability of individual indicators are listed in the scope

clause of the description of each indicator (see Annex A).

This document is not intended to exclude the use of other indicators not specified in it.

2 Normative references
There are no normative references in this document.
3 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply.

ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:

— ISO Online browsing platform: available at https:// www .iso .org/ obp
— IEC Electropedia: available at http:// www .electropedia .org/
3.1
accessibility
ease of reaching and using a service or facility
[SOURCE: ISO 11620:2014, 3.2]
3.2
accession
addition
formal act of entering an object into the collections of a museum

Note 1 to entry: Once an object has been accessioned, it has a status beyond that of merely being the property

of the organization and can only be disposed of by referring to the governing body of the organization, e.g. the

trustees or director.
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.5.1]
© ISO 2019 – All rights reserved 1
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SIST ISO 21246:2021
ISO 21246:2019(E)
3.3
accession register

itemized list or record of the objects properly added to a museum collection during a specified

period of time
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.8.1]
3.4
acquisition

process of gaining legal possession of an object for a museum collection through purchase, donation

(3.16), bequest, transfer or fieldwork
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.5.2]
3.5
capital expenditure

expenditure which results in the acquisition (3.4) of, or addition to, fixed assets

Note 1 to entry: This includes expenditure on building sites, new buildings and extensions, furnishings and

equipment for new and expanded buildings, computer systems (hardware and software), etc. When applicable,

local and national sales/purchase taxes [e.g. Value Added Tax (VAT)] are included.

[SOURCE: ISO 2789:2013, 2.6.1]
3.6
catalogue

collection of records filing/storing relevant information about an object in a museum collection

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.8.2, modified — The phrase “all known” has been excluded.]

3.7
cataloguing

process of recording and filing/storing relevant information about an object in a museum collection

Note 1 to entry: Such information can include origin, age, creator, title (e.g. for works of art), physical description

(materials and/or techniques used in its making, physical dimensions), use, provenance, etc. of the object.

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.8.3, modified — The phrase “all known” has been excluded]

3.8
collection
body of acquired objects held in title by a museum
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.5.9]
3.9
collection management

all practices and procedures implemented by a museum in acquiring, documenting, handling, accessing,

cataloguing (3.7), storing, securing, lending, conserving and disposing of collection objects

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.5.10]
3.10
collection policy

museum’s scope and its aims, practices and procedures of collection management (3.9)

Note 1 to entry: The collection policy also identifies the kinds of objects a museum will collect, the terms and

conditions governing acquisitions and the deaccession policy.
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.5.11]
2 © ISO 2019 – All rights reserved
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SIST ISO 21246:2021
ISO 21246:2019(E)
3.11
conservation

preservation measures and actions applied to prevent, arrest or delay deterioration of a document

(3.15) or other material object
[SOURCE: ISO 5127:2017, 3.12.1.01]
3.12
digital collection

all objects in digital form in the museum collection, whether born digital or digitized

Note 1 to entry: Documents (3.15) are included.
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.5.13]
3.13
digitization
process of converting analogue materials into digital form
[SOURCE: ISO 2789:2013, 2.3.15]
3.14
digitized object
digitally reproduced object

Note 1 to entry: A two-dimensional or three-dimensional object is counted as digitized if its metadata and at

least one image of it are available in digital format.

Note 2 to entry: Documents such as autographs, books or audiovisual documents are counted as digitized if their

metadata and their contents are available in digital format.
Note 3 to entry: Documents (3.15) are included.
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.5.15]
3.15
document

recorded information or material object which can be treated as a unit in a documentation process

Note 1 to entry: Documents can differ in form and characteristics.

[SOURCE: ISO 5127:2017, 3.1.1.38, modified — Note 1 to entry of ISO 2789:2013, 2.3.17 has been

included.]
3.16
donation
gift

acquisition (3.4) without monetary compensation but with change of ownership and legal title

[SOURCE: ISO 5127:2017, 3.6.2.2.11]
3.17
educational services

learning sessions and learning materials and programmes in all formats for children and adults for the

purpose of enhancing skills and knowledge

Note 1 to entry: This includes the provision of services for schools and the cooperation with other partners in

preparing and offering educational services.

[SOURCE: ISO 21248:2019, 3.22, modified — The phrase “in library and information use” has been

excluded and the terms “and knowledge” added. Note 2 to entry has been omitted.]
© ISO 2019 – All rights reserved 3
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SIST ISO 21246:2021
ISO 21246:2019(E)
3.18
effectiveness
measure of the degree to which given objectives are achieved

Note 1 to entry: An activity is effective if it maximizes the results it was established to produce.

[SOURCE: ISO 11620:2014, 3.15]
3.19
efficiency
measure of the utilisation of resources to realize a given objective (3.35)

Note 1 to entry: An activity is efficient if it minimizes the use of resources, or produces better performance with

the same resources.
[SOURCE: ISO 11620:2014, 3.16]
3.20
evaluation

process of determining the effectiveness (3.18), efficiency (3.19), utility and relevance of a service or

facility
[SOURCE: ISO 11620:2014, 3.19]
3.21
event

pre-arranged singular activity having an intent within the mission (3.28) of the museum

Note 1 to entry: The activity would usually be of a cultural, educational, social, political or scholarly nature,

and would take the form of lectures, film screening, theatre performances, round table discussions, vernissage,

finnisage, museum night, etc.
Note 2 to entry: Events can be organized inside or outside the museum premises.

Note 3 to entry: Events inside the museum premises organized by institutions outside the museum without the

museum’s participation should be counted separately.

Note 4 to entry: Guided tours, programmes, exhibitions and virtual events are excluded.

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.4.5]
3.22
exhibition

curated display of museum objects or other items of cultural heritage on a clear concept and

communicating a message

Note 1 to entry: Exhibitions can take place inside or outside the museum premises.

Note 2 to entry: Exhibitions can be temporary or permanent.
Note 3 to entry: Virtual exhibitions are excluded.

Note 4 to entry: Exhibitions inside the museum premises organized by institutions outside the museum without

the museum’s participation should be counted separately.
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.4.6]
4 © ISO 2019 – All rights reserved
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SIST ISO 21246:2021
ISO 21246:2019(E)
3.23
full-time equivalent
FTE

measurement equal to one staff person working a full-time work schedule for one year

Note 1 to entry: For example, if out of three persons employed as museum employees, one works quarter-time,

one works half-time, and one works full-time, then the FTE of these three persons would be 0,25 + 0,5 + 1,0 = 1,75

employees (FTE).
[SOURCE: ISO 11620:2014, 3.23]
3.24
goal
desired state of affairs to be achieved by the implementation of agreed policies
[SOURCE: ISO 11620:2014, 3.24]
3.25
income generated

income generated by museum operations and from fees, charges, subscriptions and donations (3.16)

[SOURCE: ISO 2789:2013, 6.6.3, modified — the term “library” has been replaced by “museum”. The

phrase “that is available to the library for expenditure” has been excluded.]
3.26
inventory

itemized list or record of all objects contained in a museum collection during a specified period of time

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.8.7]
3.27
loan

lending of an object in the museum’s collection to, or borrowing an object from, other collecting

organisations, private collectors, or agencies
Note 1 to entry: Deposits (permanent loans) are counted separately.
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.4.7]
3.28
mission

statement approved by the authorities formulating the organization's goals (3.24) and its choices in

services and products development
[SOURCE: ISO 11620:2014, 3.33]
3.29
museum

non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public,

which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage

of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment

Note 1 to entry: Natural, archaeological and ethnographic monuments and sites and historical monuments and

sites of a museum nature are included, if they maintain a collection similar to museums.

Note 2 to entry: Zoos, aquaria, arboreta and botanical gardens are included, but should be reported separately.

Note 3 to entry: Collections in institutions of higher education that serve only the purposes of teaching and study

are excluded.

Note 4 to entry: Conservation institutes and exhibition galleries in libraries and archives centres are included if

they conform to the definition of museum.
© ISO 2019 – All rights reserved 5
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SIST ISO 21246:2021
ISO 21246:2019(E)

Note 5 to entry: To conform to the definition it is not necessary that an institution be called a museum, but that it

has the role and function of a museum.
[SOURCE: ICOM, Museum definition, 2007]
3.30
museum employee
person who works for a museum in return for payment

[SOURCE: ISO 2789:2013, 2.7.1, modified — The term “library” has been replaced by “museum”.]

3.31
museum key indicator

numerical, symbolic or verbal expression assessing the activity of a museum in view of its mission (3.28)

Note 1 to entry: The indicators can be derived from museum statistics and from other data used to characterize

the museum activities.
3.32
museum staff research publication
research publication by museum staff on professional and academic subjects

Note 1 to entry: Includes publications in all formats, and presentations at conferences.

[SOURCE: ISO 2789:2013, 2.5.4, modified — The term “library” has been replaced by “museum”.]

3.33
museum website

unique domain on the Internet consisting of a collection of web pages that is published by a museum to

provide access to the museum’s services and resources

[SOURCE: ISO 2789:2013, 2.2.18, modified — The term “library” has been replaced by “museum”. Notes

to entry 1 to 3 have been omitted.]
3.34
object
item which forms part of a museum’s collection

Note 1 to entry: For objects in natural science collections the term “specimen” is generally used.

Note 2 to entry: Documents (3.15) are included.
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.5.24]
3.35
objective

specific target for an activity to be attained as a contribution to achieving the goal (3.24) of an

organization
[SOURCE: ISO 11620:2014, 3.34]
3.36
online access
successful request of a museum-provided online service

Note 1 to entry: An online access is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to a

museum-provided online service and ends by a terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the service

through log-out or exit) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity).

Note 2 to entry: Online accesses to the museum website are counted as virtual visits.

Note 3 to entry: If possible, requests by robots/web crawlers should be excluded.

6 © ISO 2019 – All rights reserved
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SIST ISO 21246:2021
ISO 21246:2019(E)

[SOURCE: ISO 2789:2013, 2.2.1, modified — The term “access” has been changed to “online access”. The

term “library” has been replaced by “museum”. Note 3 to entry has been omitted.]
3.37
online catalogue

database of records and images describing objects of one or more museums presented for public access

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.4.11]
3.38
open access
unrestricted access to information, documents (3.15) or information services

Note 1 to entry: This does not necessarily imply that the access is free of charge.

[SOURCE: ISO 5127:2017, 3.11.1.05, modified — Note 1 to entry has been added.]
3.39
opening hours
hours in a normal week when the museum is accessible to visitors
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.6.4]
3.40
permanent exhibition
long-term exhibition

exhibition showing, over a long period of time, objects which are in long-term custody of the museum

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.4.13]
3.41
physical visit

act of entering the museum premises with the aim of experiencing its exhibitions, programmes or other

services directed towards the public

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.4.14, modified — The terms “into one or all of the parts of” have been

deleted, and the phrase “with the aim of experiencing its exhibitions, programmes or other services

directed towards the public” has been added.]
3.42
preservation

all measures taken, including financial and strategic decisions, to maintain the integrity and extend the

life of documents (3.15) or collections

[SOURCE: ISO 5127:2017, 3.2.1.39, modified — Notes 1 and 2 to entry have been omitted.]

3.43
process

set of interrelated or interacting activities which transform inputs into outputs (e.g. preparing an

exhibition, cataloguing, lending, reference service)
[SOURCE: ISO 16439:2014, 3.50]
3.44
professional staff member

museum employee (3.30) who has graduated at university level or in a special training course in the

museum sector and whose duty requires professional education or experience
© ISO 2019 – All rights reserved 7
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SIST ISO 21246:2021
ISO 21246:2019(E)
3.45
programme

pre-arranged on-going and repeatable activity having an intent within the mission of the museum

Note 1 to entry: The activity would usually be of a cultural, educational, social political or scholarly nature, and

would take the form of workshops, travel programmes, courses for school classes, etc.

Note 2 to entry: Programmes can be organized inside or outside the museum premises.

Note 3 to entry: Programmes inside the museum premises organized by institutions outside the museum without

the museum’s participation should be counted separately.

Note 4 to entry: Events, guided tours, exhibitions and virtual events are excluded, but are counted separately.

Note 5 to entry: Virtual programmes are included, but should be counted separately.

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.4.15]
3.46
project
unique process, consisting
...

INTERNATIONAL ISO
STANDARD 21246
First edition
2019-11
Information and documentation —
Key indicators for museums
Information et documentation — Indicateurs clés des musées
Reference number
ISO 21246:2019(E)
ISO 2019
---------------------- Page: 1 ----------------------
ISO 21246:2019(E)
COPYRIGHT PROTECTED DOCUMENT
© ISO 2019

All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, or required in the context of its implementation, no part of this publication may

be reproduced or utilized otherwise in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting

on the internet or an intranet, without prior written permission. Permission can be requested from either ISO at the address

below or ISO’s member body in the country of the requester.
ISO copyright office
CP 401 • Ch. de Blandonnet 8
CH-1214 Vernier, Geneva
Phone: +41 22 749 01 11
Fax: +41 22 749 09 47
Email: copyright@iso.org
Website: www.iso.org
Published in Switzerland
ii © ISO 2019 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 2 ----------------------
ISO 21246:2019(E)
Contents Page

Foreword ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................iv

Introduction ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................v

1 Scope ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 1

2 Normative references ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

3 Terms and definitions ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

4 Functions and quality aspects of museums ...........................................................................................................................11

4.1 Core functions of museums .......................................................................................................................................................11

4.1.1 Collecting .............................................................................................................................................................................11

4.1.2 Preserving ...........................................................................................................................................................................11

4.1.3 Exhibiting (Presenting) ...........................................................................................................................................11

4.1.4 Educational activities ................................................................................................................................................12

4.1.5 Research ...............................................................................................................................................................................12

4.1.6 Management .....................................................................................................................................................................12

4.2 Quality aspects of museums .....................................................................................................................................................12

5 Key indicators for museums ..................................................................................................................................................................13

5.1 General ........................................................................................................................................................................................................13

5.2 Criteria for museum indicators .............................................................................................................................................13

5.3 Use of museum indicators ..........................................................................................................................................................14

5.4 Selection of museum indicators ............................................................................................................................................14

5.5 Comparability of results ...............................................................................................................................................................14

5.6 Descriptive framework .................................................................................................................................................................15

5.6.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................15

5.6.2 Name .......................................................................................................................................................................................15

5.6.3 Background........................................................................................................................................................................15

5.6.4 Objective of the indicator ......................................................................................................................................15

5.6.5 Scope .......................................................................................................................................................................................15

5.6.6 Definition of the indicator.....................................................................................................................................15

5.6.7 Method ...................................................................................................................................................................................15

5.6.8 Interpretation and use of results ....................................................................................................................16

5.6.9 Source(s) ..............................................................................................................................................................................16

6 List of key indicators for museums ................................................................................................................................................16

6.1 General ........................................................................................................................................................................................................16

6.2 Museum functions and key indicators .............................................................................................................................16

6.2.1 Collections ..........................................................................................................................................................................16

6.2.2 Exhibitions .........................................................................................................................................................................16

6.2.3 Digitization.........................................................................................................................................................................17

6.2.4 Visits/Visitors/General awareness ...............................................................................................................17

6.2.5 Educational activities and events ...................................................................................................................17

6.2.6 Research ...............................................................................................................................................................................17

6.2.7 Management .....................................................................................................................................................................17

6.3 List of key indicators for museums ....................................................................................................................................17

Annex A (normative) Description and calculation of indicators ..........................................................................................20

Annex B (informative) Checklist of additional information for the quality assessment

of museums .............................................................................................................................................................................................................66

Bibliography .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................68

© ISO 2019 – All rights reserved iii
---------------------- Page: 3 ----------------------
ISO 21246:2019(E)
Foreword

ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards

bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is normally carried out

through ISO technical committees. Each member body interested in a subject for which a technical

committee has been established has the right to be represented on that committee. International

organizations, governmental and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO, also take part in the work.

ISO collaborates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on all matters of

electrotechnical standardization.

The procedures used to develop this document and those intended for its further maintenance are

described in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1. In particular, the different approval criteria needed for the

different types of ISO documents should be noted. This document was drafted in accordance with the

editorial rules of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (see www .iso .org/ directives).

Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of

patent rights. ISO shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights. Details of

any patent rights identified during the development of the document will be in the Introduction and/or

on the ISO list of patent declarations received (see www .iso .org/ patents).

Any trade name used in this document is information given for the convenience of users and does not

constitute an endorsement.

For an explanation of the voluntary nature of standards, the meaning of ISO specific terms and

expressions related to conformity assessment, as well as information about ISO's adherence to the

World Trade Organization (WTO) principles in the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), see www .iso .org/

iso/ foreword .html.

This document was prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC 46, Information and documentation,

Subcommittee SC 8, Quality — Statistics and performance evaluation.

Any feedback or questions on this document should be directed to the user’s national standards body. A

complete listing of these bodies can be found at www .iso .org/ members .html.
iv © ISO 2019 – All rights reserved
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ISO 21246:2019(E)
Introduction

This document provides guidance to the museum community on the use of key museum indicators. It

specifies the requirements of a key indicator for museums and establishes a set of indicators to be used

by museums of all types.

Some of the indicators included in this document are already in use by museums, or have been proposed

in recent museum literature. Other indicators have been taken from library standards and adapted to the

requirements of museums. Annex A describes the key indicators that have been found useful for quality

assessment of museums. The data specified in Annex B can be used for complementing and supporting

the information gained by using the key museum indicators, though they are not in themselves such

indicators. This document has been developed in close cooperation with the International Council on

Museums (ICOM) and takes advantage of, particularly, the work of the European Group on Museum

Statistics (EGMUS).
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INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ISO 21246:2019(E)
Information and documentation — Key indicators for
museums
1 Scope

This document specifies a set of key indicators for assessing the quality of museums:

— for the purpose of strategic planning and internal management of museums;

— for reporting to stakeholders such as funding institutions, policy makers, or the public;

— to promote the museums’ role and value for learning and research, education and culture, social and

economic life;
— for comparing results over time and between museums.

The aim of this document is to provide a selection of key indicators applicable to a wide range of

museums. It is recognized that not all indicators are pertinent for each individual museum category or

each individual museum. Limitations on the applicability of individual indicators are listed in the scope

clause of the description of each indicator (see Annex A).

This document is not intended to exclude the use of other indicators not specified in it.

2 Normative references
There are no normative references in this document.
3 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply.

ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:

— ISO Online browsing platform: available at https:// www .iso .org/ obp
— IEC Electropedia: available at http:// www .electropedia .org/
3.1
accessibility
ease of reaching and using a service or facility
[SOURCE: ISO 11620:2014, 3.2]
3.2
accession
addition
formal act of entering an object into the collections of a museum

Note 1 to entry: Once an object has been accessioned, it has a status beyond that of merely being the property

of the organization and can only be disposed of by referring to the governing body of the organization, e.g. the

trustees or director.
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.5.1]
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ISO 21246:2019(E)
3.3
accession register

itemized list or record of the objects properly added to a museum collection during a specified

period of time
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.8.1]
3.4
acquisition

process of gaining legal possession of an object for a museum collection through purchase, donation

(3.16), bequest, transfer or fieldwork
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.5.2]
3.5
capital expenditure

expenditure which results in the acquisition (3.4) of, or addition to, fixed assets

Note 1 to entry: This includes expenditure on building sites, new buildings and extensions, furnishings and

equipment for new and expanded buildings, computer systems (hardware and software), etc. When applicable,

local and national sales/purchase taxes [e.g. Value Added Tax (VAT)] are included.

[SOURCE: ISO 2789:2013, 2.6.1]
3.6
catalogue

collection of records filing/storing relevant information about an object in a museum collection

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.8.2, modified — The phrase “all known” has been excluded.]

3.7
cataloguing

process of recording and filing/storing relevant information about an object in a museum collection

Note 1 to entry: Such information can include origin, age, creator, title (e.g. for works of art), physical description

(materials and/or techniques used in its making, physical dimensions), use, provenance, etc. of the object.

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.8.3, modified — The phrase “all known” has been excluded]

3.8
collection
body of acquired objects held in title by a museum
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.5.9]
3.9
collection management

all practices and procedures implemented by a museum in acquiring, documenting, handling, accessing,

cataloguing (3.7), storing, securing, lending, conserving and disposing of collection objects

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.5.10]
3.10
collection policy

museum’s scope and its aims, practices and procedures of collection management (3.9)

Note 1 to entry: The collection policy also identifies the kinds of objects a museum will collect, the terms and

conditions governing acquisitions and the deaccession policy.
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.5.11]
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ISO 21246:2019(E)
3.11
conservation

preservation measures and actions applied to prevent, arrest or delay deterioration of a document

(3.15) or other material object
[SOURCE: ISO 5127:2017, 3.12.1.01]
3.12
digital collection

all objects in digital form in the museum collection, whether born digital or digitized

Note 1 to entry: Documents (3.15) are included.
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.5.13]
3.13
digitization
process of converting analogue materials into digital form
[SOURCE: ISO 2789:2013, 2.3.15]
3.14
digitized object
digitally reproduced object

Note 1 to entry: A two-dimensional or three-dimensional object is counted as digitized if its metadata and at

least one image of it are available in digital format.

Note 2 to entry: Documents such as autographs, books or audiovisual documents are counted as digitized if their

metadata and their contents are available in digital format.
Note 3 to entry: Documents (3.15) are included.
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.5.15]
3.15
document

recorded information or material object which can be treated as a unit in a documentation process

Note 1 to entry: Documents can differ in form and characteristics.

[SOURCE: ISO 5127:2017, 3.1.1.38, modified — Note 1 to entry of ISO 2789:2013, 2.3.17 has been

included.]
3.16
donation
gift

acquisition (3.4) without monetary compensation but with change of ownership and legal title

[SOURCE: ISO 5127:2017, 3.6.2.2.11]
3.17
educational services

learning sessions and learning materials and programmes in all formats for children and adults for the

purpose of enhancing skills and knowledge

Note 1 to entry: This includes the provision of services for schools and the cooperation with other partners in

preparing and offering educational services.

[SOURCE: ISO 21248:2019, 3.22, modified — The phrase “in library and information use” has been

excluded and the terms “and knowledge” added. Note 2 to entry has been omitted.]
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ISO 21246:2019(E)
3.18
effectiveness
measure of the degree to which given objectives are achieved

Note 1 to entry: An activity is effective if it maximizes the results it was established to produce.

[SOURCE: ISO 11620:2014, 3.15]
3.19
efficiency
measure of the utilisation of resources to realize a given objective (3.35)

Note 1 to entry: An activity is efficient if it minimizes the use of resources, or produces better performance with

the same resources.
[SOURCE: ISO 11620:2014, 3.16]
3.20
evaluation

process of determining the effectiveness (3.18), efficiency (3.19), utility and relevance of a service or

facility
[SOURCE: ISO 11620:2014, 3.19]
3.21
event

pre-arranged singular activity having an intent within the mission (3.28) of the museum

Note 1 to entry: The activity would usually be of a cultural, educational, social, political or scholarly nature,

and would take the form of lectures, film screening, theatre performances, round table discussions, vernissage,

finnisage, museum night, etc.
Note 2 to entry: Events can be organized inside or outside the museum premises.

Note 3 to entry: Events inside the museum premises organized by institutions outside the museum without the

museum’s participation should be counted separately.

Note 4 to entry: Guided tours, programmes, exhibitions and virtual events are excluded.

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.4.5]
3.22
exhibition

curated display of museum objects or other items of cultural heritage on a clear concept and

communicating a message

Note 1 to entry: Exhibitions can take place inside or outside the museum premises.

Note 2 to entry: Exhibitions can be temporary or permanent.
Note 3 to entry: Virtual exhibitions are excluded.

Note 4 to entry: Exhibitions inside the museum premises organized by institutions outside the museum without

the museum’s participation should be counted separately.
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.4.6]
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ISO 21246:2019(E)
3.23
full-time equivalent
FTE

measurement equal to one staff person working a full-time work schedule for one year

Note 1 to entry: For example, if out of three persons employed as museum employees, one works quarter-time,

one works half-time, and one works full-time, then the FTE of these three persons would be 0,25 + 0,5 + 1,0 = 1,75

employees (FTE).
[SOURCE: ISO 11620:2014, 3.23]
3.24
goal
desired state of affairs to be achieved by the implementation of agreed policies
[SOURCE: ISO 11620:2014, 3.24]
3.25
income generated

income generated by museum operations and from fees, charges, subscriptions and donations (3.16)

[SOURCE: ISO 2789:2013, 6.6.3, modified — the term “library” has been replaced by “museum”. The

phrase “that is available to the library for expenditure” has been excluded.]
3.26
inventory

itemized list or record of all objects contained in a museum collection during a specified period of time

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.8.7]
3.27
loan

lending of an object in the museum’s collection to, or borrowing an object from, other collecting

organisations, private collectors, or agencies
Note 1 to entry: Deposits (permanent loans) are counted separately.
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.4.7]
3.28
mission

statement approved by the authorities formulating the organization's goals (3.24) and its choices in

services and products development
[SOURCE: ISO 11620:2014, 3.33]
3.29
museum

non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public,

which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage

of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment

Note 1 to entry: Natural, archaeological and ethnographic monuments and sites and historical monuments and

sites of a museum nature are included, if they maintain a collection similar to museums.

Note 2 to entry: Zoos, aquaria, arboreta and botanical gardens are included, but should be reported separately.

Note 3 to entry: Collections in institutions of higher education that serve only the purposes of teaching and study

are excluded.

Note 4 to entry: Conservation institutes and exhibition galleries in libraries and archives centres are included if

they conform to the definition of museum.
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ISO 21246:2019(E)

Note 5 to entry: To conform to the definition it is not necessary that an institution be called a museum, but that it

has the role and function of a museum.
[SOURCE: ICOM, Museum definition, 2007]
3.30
museum employee
person who works for a museum in return for payment

[SOURCE: ISO 2789:2013, 2.7.1, modified — The term “library” has been replaced by “museum”.]

3.31
museum key indicator

numerical, symbolic or verbal expression assessing the activity of a museum in view of its mission (3.28)

Note 1 to entry: The indicators can be derived from museum statistics and from other data used to characterize

the museum activities.
3.32
museum staff research publication
research publication by museum staff on professional and academic subjects

Note 1 to entry: Includes publications in all formats, and presentations at conferences.

[SOURCE: ISO 2789:2013, 2.5.4, modified — The term “library” has been replaced by “museum”.]

3.33
museum website

unique domain on the Internet consisting of a collection of web pages that is published by a museum to

provide access to the museum’s services and resources

[SOURCE: ISO 2789:2013, 2.2.18, modified — The term “library” has been replaced by “museum”. Notes

to entry 1 to 3 have been omitted.]
3.34
object
item which forms part of a museum’s collection

Note 1 to entry: For objects in natural science collections the term “specimen” is generally used.

Note 2 to entry: Documents (3.15) are included.
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.5.24]
3.35
objective

specific target for an activity to be attained as a contribution to achieving the goal (3.24) of an

organization
[SOURCE: ISO 11620:2014, 3.34]
3.36
online access
successful request of a museum-provided online service

Note 1 to entry: An online access is one cycle of user activities that typically starts when a user connects to a

museum-provided online service and ends by a terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the service

through log-out or exit) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity).

Note 2 to entry: Online accesses to the museum website are counted as virtual visits.

Note 3 to entry: If possible, requests by robots/web crawlers should be excluded.

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ISO 21246:2019(E)

[SOURCE: ISO 2789:2013, 2.2.1, modified — The term “access” has been changed to “online access”. The

term “library” has been replaced by “museum”. Note 3 to entry has been omitted.]
3.37
online catalogue

database of records and images describing objects of one or more museums presented for public access

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.4.11]
3.38
open access
unrestricted access to information, documents (3.15) or information services

Note 1 to entry: This does not necessarily imply that the access is free of charge.

[SOURCE: ISO 5127:2017, 3.11.1.05, modified — Note 1 to entry has been added.]
3.39
opening hours
hours in a normal week when the museum is accessible to visitors
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.6.4]
3.40
permanent exhibition
long-term exhibition

exhibition showing, over a long period of time, objects which are in long-term custody of the museum

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.4.13]
3.41
physical visit

act of entering the museum premises with the aim of experiencing its exhibitions, programmes or other

services directed towards the public

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.4.14, modified — The terms “into one or all of the parts of” have been

deleted, and the phrase “with the aim of experiencing its exhibitions, programmes or other services

directed towards the public” has been added.]
3.42
preservation

all measures taken, including financial and strategic decisions, to maintain the integrity and extend the

life of documents (3.15) or collections

[SOURCE: ISO 5127:2017, 3.2.1.39, modified — Notes 1 and 2 to entry have been omitted.]

3.43
process

set of interrelated or interacting activities which transform inputs into outputs (e.g. preparing an

exhibition, cataloguing, lending, reference service)
[SOURCE: ISO 16439:2014, 3.50]
3.44
professional staff member

museum employee (3.30) who has graduated at university level or in a special training course in the

museum sector and whose duty requires professional education or experience
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ISO 21246:2019(E)
3.45
programme

pre-arranged on-going and repeatable activity having an intent within the mission of the museum

Note 1 to entry: The activity would usually be of a cultural, educational, social political or scholarly nature, and

would take the form of workshops, travel programmes, courses for school classes, etc.

Note 2 to entry: Programmes can be organized inside or outside the museum premises.

Note 3 to entry: Programmes inside the museum premises organized by institutions outside the museum without

the museum’s participation should be counted separately.

Note 4 to entry: Events, guided tours, exhibitions and virtual events are excluded, but are counted separately.

Note 5 to entry: Virtual programmes are included, but should be counted separately.

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.4.15]
3.46
project

unique process, consisting of a set of coordinated and controlled activities with start and finish dates,

undertaken to achieve an objective conforming to specific requirements, including the constraints of

time, cost and resources

Note 1 to entry: An individual project can form part of a larger project structure.

Note 2 to entry: Adapted from ISO 9000:2015.
[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.8.10]
3.47
record

set of data on one person, object or event (3.21), selected and presented for a predefined purpose

Note 1 to entry: The record can include elements such as title, creator, subject, description, date of origin, etc.

[SOURCE: ISO 18461:2016, 2.8.11]
3.48
reliability
degree to which a measure repeatedly and consistently produces the same result
[SOURCE: ISO 11620:2014, 3.44]
3.49
restoration

actions taken to return a document (3.15) or other material object which has suffered deterioration or

damage as closely as practicable to its original state

Note 1 to entry: In archival restoration, no attempt is made to recreate missing text, etc., and all restoration work

is kept clearly evident.
[SOURCE: ISO
...

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