Evaluating the Usage of Museum Digitized Collections
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Driven by perceived value, resources often are allocated to the digitization of museum collections. But what evidence supports this value? Calls for proof of digitized collections value may be met by data derived from a usage study. A usage study captures data relating to public consumption of a given dataset via implemented methods which collect related quantitative and qualitative statistics. These statistics represent reach and impact, respectively defined as number of viewers and instances of content use. In its capacity to reveal public interests, this usage data can be exploited to enact digitized collections change which best serves users. This change cultivates relevance, which supports the sustainability of digitized collections. Challenges may arise within the process of a usage study, but problems are navigable. These identified themes collectively indicate the practicality of usage studies of digitized collections and the advantageous nature of usage data ultimately to guide museum professionals in their own usage study experiences.