The preparations for the Europeana Network Association (ENA or the Network) impact assessment and satisfaction survey were initiated in Autumn 2019, with the aim to measure and report the level of satisfaction of the ENA members with services that the Network offers as a KPI under DSI4. In March 2020, the ENA Members Council and Management Board reviewed and provided feedback on the survey format and content. Based on their feedback, the survey was further refined and simplified. However, due to the COVID-19 crisis, an agreement was reached to postpone the research until June 2020, when we sent a digital questionnaire to all registered Network members.
The questionnaire asked questions related to impact, drawing on a change pathway developed for this exercise. It also asked questions relating to Network members’ satisfaction. Both components were kept quite short to encourage completed responses. 308 Network members responded to the survey, representing an estimated response rate of 10.5%.
The following themes emerged from this research:
The Network provides its members with knowledge useful for their profession. 74% of Network members agree or strongly agree that the Network provides access to knowledge about trends and good practice. We see that most respondents report that the Network is a little bit important (32%) or moderately important for their work (30%). 14% of respondents suggest that Network membership has a great deal of importance for their daily work (most prevalent among those who have been members for more than six years), and only a small number of respondents suggest that it has no value for them (most likely for those who have been members for between 2 - 4 years).
The information shared with the Network reaches beyond its members. We learn that 64% of Network members encourage others to explore Europeana services and opportunities.
The Network provides an opportunity for professionals to improve their professional digital heritage practice and knowledge. 11% of respondents suggested that the Network provides opportunities to shape and drive policy in digital cultural heritage. 11% of Network members also report a link between membership and applications for project funding. Some respondents directly reference funded projects or levered funding. This suggests that there is a relatively small but discernible link between Network membership and the leverage of funding for activity in digital cultural heritage. We can say, then, that the Network helps to support the overall sustainability and growth of the sector, but further research is necessary to quantify what the scale of contribution might be.
Only 16% of respondents suggested that an outcome of Network membership was the opportunity to get more involved in the Europeana ecosystem. Similarly, when we surveyed whether Network members felt that the Network provided access to opportunities and events, only 58% agreed or strongly agreed. Similarly, there is a higher response to the ‘neither agree nor disagree’ choice, suggesting that the sharing of opportunities and events is an area that could be improved for Network members.
The Network supports the development of a more collaborative and connected sector thanks to information flow and network development. 40% of Network members encourage others to join the Network, and we learn from the Net Promoter Score (NPS) that 48% of respondents can be considered ‘promoters’ of the Network and 15% are detractors. 50% follow Europeana on social media. 70% of Network members agree or strongly agree that the Network facilitates access to other sector professionals. This network development is strengthened by the fact that the longer someone is a Network member, the more likely they are to go to the main annual Europeana conference (formerly the AGM), at which a separate impact assessment found that network development was the strongest outcome. Yet when we looked at this more closely by asking Network members to report their personal experience of membership, only 34% of Network members suggested that the extension of their personal network was one of the most important outcomes of Network membership.
The Europeana Network Association provides a structure through which the majority of members feel connected to other sector professionals. It keeps them up to date with sector knowledge and best practice. Though the Network is considered positively to provide access to other professionals, members do not seem to feel that network development, or the opportunity to collaborate with others, is as strong an outcome as others, such as gaining knowledge about best practice or learning something that they can apply in their work. That this content is designed to relate to best practice and innovation in digital cultural heritage, shows that the Network is positively contributing towards its goal of improving the quality of digital heritage, and thereby supporting the digital transformation of the heritage sector.
The findings could be strengthened if combined with an interview programme where a representative cohort of Network members are surveyed.
Future impact assessment could focus on the impact of specific changes or innovations in the Network or how it is run, in order to capture impact for Network members.
This report shows initial findings that suggest a link between the Network and the levering of funding into digital cultural heritage, but more research is needed to understand the scale of this within the Network and to interrogate to what extent this is linked to Network membership.
It would be valuable to more clearly differentiate between what is considered as active/super-active and inactive/passive membership. It would be interesting to ascertain how outcomes change between members who are reportedly more active in the Network, compared to those who are inactive.
Validation and next steps
This report was shared with the ENA Members Council for their perspectives to help validate the interpretation and assumptions made in the report. The ENA Membership working group will begin to explore the membership potential and benefits, and to find new ways to actively involve ENA members.
You can download and read the full report through the link below.