Cost of Online Collections

Dan Zambonini made this Freedom of Information request to The National Portrait Gallery

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Sir or Madam,

With regards to your online collections (i.e. website(s) that allow users to browse your collection(s)), can you please detail:

1) How much it cost to put your collections online? (Not including digitisation costs)

2) How many page views, on average, the online collections receive per month?

3) If you have participated in any cross-institutional collections projects (e.g. Europeana, People's Network, NMOLP), how much it cost to make your collections available to the project (or how much it is expected to cost, for current projects)?

Yours faithfully,

Dan Zambonini

P.S Please note that this same request has been made to a number of UK museums and galleries covered under the Freedom of Information Act, and that your response will be automatically made public at

Archive Enquiry, The National Portrait Gallery

Thank you for your enquiry which has been received by the Heinz Archive & Library at the National Portrait Gallery.

If you are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 please can you re-direct it to [email address]. It will be answered within 20 working days of receipt.

If your enquiry is not a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 it will be answered as part of the general portrait enquiry service provided by the Archive & Library. At the present time we are aiming to respond to enquiries within 15 working days. Please note, however, that we are unable to respond to enquiries that relate to foreign portraiture or aspects of art unrelated to portraiture; or to provide advice concerning valuations; or answers to competition, crossword puzzle and quiz questions. For enquiries relating to these subjects we would recommend you contact your nearest public reference library in the first instance to identify appropriate sources for such information.

Yours sincerely

Robin Francis
Head of Archive and Library
National Portrait Gallery
St Martin's Place
London WC2H 0HE
Tel: 020 7312 2410
Fax: 020 7306 0056

Archive Enquiry, The National Portrait Gallery

Dear Dan Zambonini

Thank you for your e-mailed request for information under the Freedom of Information Act. You will receive a response to your enquiry within the next twenty working days, i.e. by the 10th March 2009.

Yours sincerely

Robin Francis

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Robin Francis, The National Portrait Gallery

Dear Mr Zambonini

Thank you for your e-mailed request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act which you sent to the Gallery on 10 February 2009.

In response to the information you have requested I can confirm the

1. The Gallery spent £18,000 to put its collections online in 1999.
During a ten year period up to 2008 another £10,000 was spent on minor
developments and adjustments and in 2008 and 2009 a further £11,000 was
spent. This gives a total figure of £39,000.

2. The online collections receive 4.5 million page views per month.

3. We have participated in NMOLP. The contract to build the federated
search for the whole project was in the region of £10,000, and this sum
was part of the project budget and so not paid for by the Gallery.
However, we additionally had to spend £1,500 to make our collections work
within this federated search framework.

Under the terms of the Act, I am required to inform you of our appeals
procedure in case you are not satisfied with this response. A copy of our
public leaflet on Freedom of Information, which advises you how to appeal
to the Gallery and of your right to appeal to the Information
Commissioner, can be found on the Gallery website at:

If you have any queries about this letter, please do not hesitate to
contact me.

Yours sincerely

Robin Francis

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Francis Irving left an annotation ()

Blog post with background to this request:

John Cross left an annotation ()

tech dirt article:

"The National Gallery is claiming that a big part of the reason for why it's doing this is that it has cost £1 million to digitize the photos,...However, someone decided to check on those numbers, and put in a Freedom of Information request, and discovered that the actual costs to digitize and put the collection online was significantly lower than what the Gallery is claiming: ..Now, that's not nothing, but £39,000 is significantly lower than £1 million, yes? "