Most objects in the museum's collections have been digitally photographed. Some of these objects have been carefully photographed by professional photographers for commercial publications. Some have numerous photographed to show all their details. In all cases, one particular photograph that best shows the object as a whole is used for insurance purposes.
In Towneley's documentation system, this photograph is called the primary image and a jpeg version is given the same filename as the object's object number together with a caption that is a brief description of the object.
In 2016, while almost all objects in the fine art collections had primary images with the same filename as the object name, this was not true for objects in the sculpture collection nor in the decorative arts collections. The sculpture collection was among the first objects digitally photographed in 2005 and these images included one or two leading zeros in the numeric part of the name, eg scu009.jpg for scu9 and scu049.jpg for scu49 . At that time Burnley Borough Council was still using an old version of Windows that used literal sorting where scu10.jpg to scu19.jpg would appear before scu2 to scu9 etc., so using a leading zero would allow scu02.jpg to be listed before scu10.jpg . Later versions of Windows use numerical sorting with scu2.jpg being listed before scu10.jpg so there is no longer any purpose in including leading zeros.
Many objects in the ceramics collections share one primary image, for example po167.1-10 with one primary image po167.jpg . There are also many individual objects with two or more photographs using a suffix a,b,c etc. , where the primary image has the a suffix as in poN255a.jpg for poN255 .