Paolo Ferri, Marco Sottilotta, Luca Zan

Museum data for regional policies. Addressing center-periphery issues

  • Abstract

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Keywords: museum national and regional data, policy making, cultural observatory

Drawing on a research project carried out in collaboration with Istituto Beni Artistici Culturali Naturali Emilia-Romagna (IBACN), this paper adopts the perspective of the policy maker to highlight the problems experienced during the collection, processing, and interpretation of museum-related data. The paper maps the primary and secondary sources of data on Emilia-Romagna-based museums. These include the survey conducted annually by ISTAT; the survey used by IBACN for the administration of Regional Law 18/2000; the museum information included in a recent investigation of the creative economy in the Region; and data contained in an online digital catalogue build by IBACN. For benchmarking purposes, few selected sources outside Emilia-Romagna are also included in the analysis. Using Zan’s framework (2006), each survey question or data is then classified according to the focus area it intends to address (governance; back-office; demand-side; supply-side) and the kind of information it provides (substantive or procedural). By mapping and analyzing the aforementioned sources of data, the study reveals the different logics that inform each data source, from the most inclusive to the selective one. The abundance of procedural information and the lack of substantive data, especially in the area of financial resources, are also observed.

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