Text size
  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large
  • Standard
  • Blue text on blue
  • High contrast (Yellow text on black)
  • Blue text on beige

    Reaping the Benefits of Digitisation: Pilot study exploring revenue generation from digitised collections through technological innovation

    Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2018)

    London, UK, 9 - 13 July 2018


    Foteini Valeonti, Andrew Hudson-Smith, Melissa Terras & Chrysanthi Zarkali



    In the last decade significant resources have been invested for the digitisation of the collections of a large number of museums and galleries worldwide. In Europe alone, 10 million EUR is annually invested in Europeana (Europeana 2014). However, as we gradually move on from “the start-up phase” of digitisation (Hughes 2004), revenue generation and sustainability must be considered (Hughes 2004). Even beyond digitisation, generating revenue through innovation and in particular “finding new business models to sustain funding” (Simon 2011) ranks amongst museums’ top challenges (Simon 2011). More importantly, despite the significant wealth of digitised assets museums now own, little has been done to investigate ways these institutions could financially benefit from their digitised collections.

    For art institutions in particular, this has been largely limited to the sale of image licenses, with the fear of losing this revenue posing as one of the key reasons art museums are reluctant to join the Open Content movement (Kapsalis 2016). This paper examines how recent technological advancements, such as image recognition and Print-on-Demand automation, can be utilised to take advantage of the wealth of digitised artworks museums and galleries have in their possession. A pilot study of the proposed solution at the State Museum of Contemporary Art (SMCA) in Thessaloniki, Greece, is covered and the findings are examined.

    Early feedback indicates that there is a significant potential in the utilisation of the aforementioned technologies for the monetisation of digitised collections. However, challenges such as blending the real-world experience with the digital experience, as well as flattening the learning curve of the technological solution for museum visitors, need to be addressed. Based on the pilot study at SMCA, this paper investigates how emerging technologies can be utilised to facilitate revenue generation for all museums and galleries with digitised collections.


    PDF Icon PDF Version of this Paper 937(kb)