Numbers > Number 16 > The arrival of Data to museums
ISSN: 1885-365X
VACAS-GUERRERO, Trinidad Contact 0000-0002-7555-0985

The arrival of Data to museums

30 de octubre de 2019
10 de diciembre de 2019


The development of new information technologies (ICTs) has led to the generation of a large amount of information by museum-related audiences at the international level. Having this information is essential to help organizations make decisions that affect, among other things, the communication they make with their stakeholders. This article reflects on the state of the question of the management of large data as a key element in communication decision making, with the aim of finding out how the managers of museological institutions can deal with this large volume of data from different sources in order to get to know their audiences better and make decisions. This article has reviewed the bibliography and state of the art of Data and museums. The result shows the possibilities of Data development and possible scenarios for research work in this field.



In today’s society with the evolution and democratization of the Internet, a large amount of data has been produced that has changed the way people, companies and organizations communicate and relate, making it more direct and faster.

New information and communication technologies have contributed to this generation of data, not only by companies, but also by users generating information, and this is essential for organizations; But the problem arises when it comes to managing it, organizing it and generating knowledge with it. For its treatment, different technologies have been developed such as Business Intelligence, Data Mining, Machine Learning, Data Science and Big Data, which facilitate the processing and analysis of these data, with the aim of improving the knowledge of people by part of companies or institutions to meet their needs and demands, through patterns or predictive models.

Web 2.0 brought with it the development of social media, which caused users to achieve a greater role in society. Castells (2001: 11) calls it “online society” and defines it as: «The most interesting thing is the idea that they are personal communities, communities of people based on individual interests and on the affinities and values ​​of people. That is, to the extent that individual projects are developed in our societies, projects to give meaning to life from what I am and want to be, the Internet allows this connection by jumping over the physical limits of everyday life, both in the place of residence as well as in the workplace and therefore generates networks of affinities ».

The Internet is a tool that allows users to find information, but also to generate and share it, which makes them feel an active part of the institutions (García Fernández, 2015; Díaz De Mendívil, 2018). “Thanks to the proliferation of computers and mobile devices -tablets and smartphones-, the possibilities for the public to share experiences in real time have become an increasingly common reality” (Cordón Benito and González González, 2016: 153). In the case of museums, this reality takes on special importance since the opinions of visitors are an influential factor in attracting the public to their facilities (Celaya, 2012; (García Fernández, 2015; Cordón Benito and González González, 2016 ; Gómez Martínez, Rodríguez Herráez and Pérez-Bustamante Yábar, 2016; Rodríguez-Díaz, Rodríguez-Díaz and Espino-Rodríguez, 2018).

For the public, “… virtual communities allow users to get closer to the documentary services offered” (Sánchez-Arce; Saorín-Pérez, 2001: 226) and thus be able to generate a perception of what they can find. Public studies of museums reflect the importance of knowing the factors that explain the influx of visitors to a museum, especially today, given the increasing competitiveness and turbulence of the environments that museum institutions are facing (Vivant, 2011 ).

But the studies carried out to date do not contemplate that a large majority of visitors plan and value their visit to museums more and more, through the tools that the Internet offers them, such as: websites of the museums themselves, blogs, forums , Apps and virtual communities (Kim and Park, 2017; Rodríguez-Díaz, Rodríguez-Díaz and Espino-Rodríguez, 2018).

The large volume of information that is generated with new information and communication technologies (ICT) grows more and more rapidly, becoming a very useful data source for companies, institutions and researchers. But the data itself does not contribute anything if it is not managed in the proper way (Martínez-Martínez and Lara-Navarra, 2015), by obtaining it from the different sources, structuring it (Bonacchi and Krzyzanska, 2019) and its subsequent analysis for obtain or disclose knowledge (De-la-Rosa-Troyano and Martínez-Gasca, 2007). Some studies have been carried out that study the benefit in communication of using new technologies to obtain, represent and analyze data (Schroeder, 2014; Penney, 2014; D’Heer and Verdegem, 2014; Fischer, 2014), determining the notorious significance that the treatment of large databases with content analysis techniques is acquiring (López-Cantos, 2015).

There is little research on the implementation of Data technologies in Spanish museums, despite the fact that they play an increasingly important role in the cultural field, both for museum managers and for visitors. This study analyzes this technology and its management in museum institutions at the international level in general and in Spain in particular.

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