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NA 2 – Collections Management (SYNTHESYS 2)

Improving collections management, enhancing accessibility and conserving the unique value of European natural history collections

To improve the standard of European collections management, SYNTHESYS has supported the creation of EU-Com, a pan-European, multi-disciplinary group of collections management experts. The site will provide advice for collections managers. This, combined with SYNTHESYS run training courses, will give collection managers the information they need to implement best practice.

NA2 has created an online self-assessment tool to enable museums and herbaria to measure themselves against the SYNTHESYS benchmark. To ensure consistency and integrity of results, NA2 trained auditors will visit selected institutions to validate the results of self-assessments.

NA2 provides resources to help raise standards, including performance indicators and collection management policies enabling infrastructures to maximise use of their existing resources and avoid duplication of effort within Europe.

  • Provide Performance Indicators (PIs) in collections management
  • Quality assessment in collections management
  • Advanced training in collections management

Present and future access to European natural history collections will be optimized by meeting common standards of condition, management and availability of specimens and associated data. NA2 aims to significantly reduce the potential barriers to future access by targeting key areas for improvement in collection management.
Through the creation and use of an online self assessment form, NA2 will identify a clear and in-depth picture of the state of collections in Europe. this will assist in increasing accessibility as findings will be used to inform the content of subsequent SYNTHESYS training courses.

Performance Indicators

A set of PIs has been designed that reflect the activities of collections management and related policies. The traditional measures, such as numbers of loans, are limited in their value for determining genuine change or attainment of a benchmark. The PIs have been designed to allow institutions to create their own subset of indicators for internal management.

Performance Indicators

Develop a Web-based self-assessment process

An online self- assessment tool has been developed based on the collections benchmarks developed in the pervious SYNTHESYS project. This allows institutions to self-assess at institutional and departmental level. In order to ensure survey consistency, an efficient audit system has been developed to validate the results of the self- assessments.
Click here to access the Collections Self-Assessment Tool

Raise collections management standards and encourage best-practice in European institutions

SYNTHESYS is supporting the development of EU-CoM. An online portal and forum for collection managers. The portal is currently being beta tested.

Develop an EU-wide set of competencies for collections management

Competencies will be developed in association with requirements defined in the EDIT project. These will be a set of personal attributes, including skills and knowledge, which are a measure of staff performance. Uptake of these competencies will improve performance, and promote staff training and mobility within European institutions.

Advanced training in collections management

Training courses are available for collections managers and users. These courses will be broken down into specific modules.

There are currently no training courses available.  Details of previous  courses can be found here.

The Collections Self-Assessment Tool is complete and ready for use. Click here.

There are currently no training courses available.  Details of previous  courses can be found here.

Performance Indicators have been developed and are available for use.

A collections managers website EU-CoM) has been developed. Visit

NA2 deliverables include:

Performance Indicators have been developed and are available for use (Deliverable 2.2 of the SYNTHESYS2 project).

Workshop with non natural history collections managers (Deliverable 2.3).

Revised standards document integrating JRA derived protocols (Deliverable 2.4).

The Collections Self-Assessment Tool, which is now ready for use Click here to log in or register your institution. (Deliverable 2.5).

Report on state of collections in Europe (Deliverable 2.8).

A collections managers website (EU-CoM) has been developed. Visit (Deliverable 2.9).

Publish Set of EU competencies (Deliverable 2.10).

Training course on collections management training for potential European trainers (Deliverable 2.11).

5 Modular training courses on key collections management areas Details of previous  courses can be found here.  (Deliverables 2.13-17)

There are currently no training courses available.  Details of previous  courses can be found here.

If you are interested in completing the Collection Self-Assessment Tool please click here

If you are interested in becoming a “trainer” please contract