Self-assessment guidelines for data holding institutions

This self-assessment tool enables data-holding institutions to carry out a high-level review of their readiness and progress in delivering digital information on the materials they hold.

This questionnaire-based approach aims to establish the status and capacity of an institution in five key areas: 

  1. Strategy: Planning how to execute the data mobilization. Key considerations include the purpose for mobilization; prioritization of what materials to digitize; labour/expertise; equipment; data standards; choice of database system; and intellectual property rights and licensing issues. 
  2. Digitization: Conversion and capture of data associated with physical specimens and artefacts into electronic formats and databases. This process may involve imaging. 
  3. Publishing: Making digital data (including associated images and multimedia) publicly available online, whether through dedicated institutional and community websites or major Internet repositories. 
  4. Curation and Maintenance: Ongoing performance of tasks including cleaning, correcting and updating data, in part based on feedback. 
  5. Preservation and Archiving: Long-term conservation of digital content and databases to ensure its integrity and persistence. 

We welcome your feedback. Please send comments and questions to

En français: Modèle d’auto-évaluation pour les institutions détentrices de données

Production of this document is funded by the European Union.