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Designing a system to chart the development of the UK museum sector: an iterative approach

Alexandra Poulovassilis (Birkbeck Knowledge Lab, University of London, London, UK)
Valeri Katerinchuk (Birkbeck Knowledge Lab, University of London, London, UK)
Fiona Candlin (Department of History of Art Birkbeck, University of London, London, UK)

Journal of Systems and Information Technology

ISSN: 1328-7265

Article publication date: 12 May 2023

Issue publication date: 12 June 2023




This paper aims to present the methodology for designing a system providing comprehensive data about the UK’s museums and enabling research into the history, status and long-term development of the entire sector.


The authors have devised and applied an iterative methodology to deliver a knowledge base, web application and website through which these and related resources are publicly accessed, allowing incorporation of the requirements of user stakeholders drawn from across the UK museum sector.


The methodology has enabled the elicitation of usage scenarios, research questions and feedback from a broad range of user stakeholders, allowing the system to be successfully delivered within the time and staffing constraints of a single publicly-funded research project. Feedback received from external evaluators and users of the system has been overwhelmingly positive.


The system includes the only comprehensive data set of the UK’s museums and is enabling new research by museum studies scholars and museum professionals. The methodology can inform other projects aiming to create specialist knowledge resources involving a wide range of user stakeholders, particularly within constrained time and staffing resources.



The authors thank all members of the Mapping Museums project, the project’s Advisory Board, the professionals who participated in the design and validation activities and the AHRC for their funding of the project (Grant No. AH/N007042/1, 2016-2021).


Poulovassilis, A., Katerinchuk, V. and Candlin, F. (2023), "Designing a system to chart the development of the UK museum sector: an iterative approach", Journal of Systems and Information Technology, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 192-218.



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