Definitions and Explanations
Since the establishment of one of the two predecessors of EGMUS, the Working Group for Museum Statistics in 1999, much effort has been spent on definition and selection of indicators.
The Luxembourg and Dutch co-ordinators of the Working Group designed a set of key indicators; the so called Abridged List of Key Museum Indicators (ALOKMI).
The feasibility of ALOKMI was discussed extensively during successive meetings of the group and, consequently, the list was revised in view of the participants’ comments. It soon became clear that different headings included in ALOKMI needed a further specification.
Eventually all EGMUS members agreed on definitions and explanations, that cover all the headings. Notwithstanding the agreement on definitions, the presentation of the data itself still requires quite a lot of explanatory remarks. The source of these data, national statistics and surveys, still vary considerably. The main reason for these differences are differences in the scope of these sources. For instance, some national statistics only cover museums which are financed by the state, or professionally-run, while other statistics omit certain aspects of the museums such as staff, income or expenditure. Such explanatory remarks are provided in the footnotes.
The ALOKMI table shows that there is quite some potential in the existing data sources to contribute to comparability. However, the number of footnotes to the existing table indicates that at present, a large number of restricting factors must still be considered when reading the data side by side.