Digital Footprints and Search Pathways

A clear understanding of how people access national collections online can make cultural institutions better prepared for digital service provisions in general, and especially for a crisis situation should there be another lockdown for COVID-19 or a similar catastrophe. This project will undertake a longitudinal study of the digital footprints of users in two national collections – National Museums of Scotland and National Galleries of Scotland – over a 12-month period to investigate:

  • how people engaged with heritage collections during the lockdown/post-lockdown period;
  • whether the lockdown changed digital access patterns;
  • which collections/objects drew more users; and
  • where users are accessing these: through the institutions websites, or through external platforms like Google Arts and Culture, Youtube, etc

The Digital Footprints and Search Pathways project has been funded as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Towards a National Collection programme for new digital research into the impact of COVID-19 on the heritage sector.


Research areas
Digital Cultures
Research team

Professor Gobinda Chowdhury, University of Strathcylde

Dr Jen Ross, Centre for Research in Digital Education

Christopher Ganley, National Galleries of Scotland

Chanté St Clair Inglis, National Museums of Scotland

Key contact
Dr Jen Ross

AHRC Towards a National Collection fund


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