Bex lecture 5 - digitisation and the museum

download Bex   lecture 5 - digitisation and the museum

If you can't read please download the document

  • date post

  • Category


  • view

  • download


Embed Size (px)


Lecture given on Thursday 6th May to first years on History module "Creating and Consuming History", encouraging them to think about the possibilities of digitisation in museums (the heritage sector/historical research), and the benefits and otherwise of some of the tools currently available.

Transcript of Bex lecture 5 - digitisation and the museum

  • 1. Lecture Week 9: Digitisation and the Museum Dr Bex Lewis

2. Where are we going today?

  • Is it all about the technology?
    • Defining Digital
  • Think
    • What have you seen/experienced?
    • What can you see as the possibilities?
  • Examples
    • Digital Projects
    • Digitisation in Museums
    • Interactive apps
  • Research Opportunities

3. Technological Determinism

  • Technological determinists interpret technology in general and communications technologies in particular as the basis of society in the past, present and even the future. They say that technologies such as writing or print or television or the computer 'changed society'. In its most extreme form, the entire form of society is seen as being determined by technology: new technologies transform society at every level, including institutions, social interaction and individuals. At the least a wide range of social and cultural phenomena are seen as shaped by technology.
  • Daniel Chandler

4. Marshall McLuhan (1964)

  • we become what we behold that we shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us

1967 5. Technological Determinism

  • Other Factors
    • Economic
    • Political
    • Legal
    • Social
    • Cultural 6. Parry, p.2

  • today and for many years to come our expectations of automated cataloguing must be in tune with practical constraints imposed by the limited resources and technology available to museum collections. Further, there is the welter of problems that must be solved with respect to data standards, preparing collections for cataloguing, and training adequate personnel for the task of computer cataloguing.
  • Quoting Humphrey & Clausen, 1976

7. Gertrude Himmelfarb

  • Like postmodernism, the Internet does not distinguish between the true and the false, the important and the trivial, the enduring and the ephemeral. Every source appearing on screen has the same weight and credibility as any other; no authority is privileged over any other.
  • November 1996

8. Some Key Texts

  • Jones-Garmil, K.,The Wired Museum: Emerging Technology and Changing Paradigms , 1997
  • Cohen, D.J., & Rosenzweig, R.,Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web,2006
  • Cameron, F. & Kenderdine, S. (eds),Theorising DigitalCultural Heritage: A Critical Discourse , 2007
  • Parry, R.Recoding the Museum: Digital Heritage and the Technologies of Change , 2007
  • Conference: Museums and the Web 2010:

9. MuseWeb 2010: Some Paper Titles

  • On Being Social
  • NaturePlus Developing a Personalised Visitor Experience Across the Museums Virtual and Physical Environments
  • Delivering Gallery Interactives Using Web Technologies: Multimedia and Web Delivery at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in 2009
  • Van Goghs Letters: Or How to Make the Results of 15 y Years of Research Widely Accessible for Various Audiences and How to Involve Them
  • The iPhone Effect? Comparing Visitors and Museum Professionals Evolving Expectations of Mobile Interpretation Tools
  • The Impact of Blogs and Other Social Media on the Life of a Curator

10. Symbiotic Relationship

  • Digital Technology
    • Activate
    • Engage
    • Transform
  • Museums/Heritage Organisations
    • Institutionalised Authority
    • Custodians of the Past
    • Intellectual Capital
  • Cultural Heritage:
    • Appropriate
    • Adapt
    • Incorporate
    • Transform
  • The digital technologies that they adopt.


  • The UNESCO Charter on the Preservation of Digital Heritage, 2008 (first adopted October 2003)
  • The digital heritage consists of unique resources of human knowledge and expression. It embrace cultural, educational, scientific and administrative resources, as well as technical, legal, medical and other kinds of information created digitally, or converted into digital form from existing analogue resources. Where resources are born digital, there is no other format but the digital object.

12. Historical Research 13. 14. 15. 16. What defines digital?

  • Digital technology are implicated with historical transformations in language, society, and culture, and with shifting definitions of the museum.
  • The Digital Age
    • Virtual simulacra
    • Instantaneous communication
    • Ubiquitous media
    • Global interconnectivity

17. Qualities of Digital Information

  • Capacity
  • Accessibility
  • Flexibility
  • Diversity
  • Manipulability
  • Interactivity
  • Hypertextuality
  • Quality
  • Durability
  • Readability
  • Passivity
  • Inaccessibility
  • Dan Cohen, 2006
  • Benefits
  • Dangers

18. Dan Cohen, p18

  • Writing history requires that you first immerse yourself in the styles, conventions, and methods of historical writing and that you understand the differentgenresof history books, whether scholarly monograph, popular narrative textbook, or reference work. The same holds true for those who want to create history museum exhibits, make history films, and teach history classes. and of course history websites.

19. Exhibits Online? (Cohen, p.35)

  • Most digital interpretative historical materials simply translate analogue materials like museums exhibits, scholarly articles, and popular essays to the new medium.
  • Online museum exhibits, for example, transcend the barriers of time distance and space that have often frustrated museum curators.

20. Cameron/Kenderdine, p.4

  • The idea that real objects and works of art are under threat, exacerbated by theories of mechanical reproduction and simulation by proponents such as Walter Benjamin and more recently Jean Baudrillard, has had a persuasive effect on the way museum collections and digital objects have been viewed, used, and assigned meaning.

21. Cameron/Kenderdine, p.6

  • Cameron illustrates how digital historical collections have been bounded by an object-centred museum culture and material culture paradigms. The author argues that the roles and uses of the digital object must also be understood as part of the broader heritage complex an institutionalised culture of practices and ideas that is inherently political, socially and culturally circumscribed.

22. Virtual Museums

  • Uses & Interpretations?
  • Hallmark of authenticity
    • Accurate 3D replication
  • Qualities
    • Real-time
    • Immersive
    • Interactive


  • What have you seen in museums that may fit into the descriptor digital?
    • What worked well?
    • What needed improvement?
    • What other ideas do you have for possible uses?
    • What qualities could you add to Dan Cohens list?
  • 10 minutes to discuss/write ideas on flip-chart paper


  • A couple of minutes to feedback a few ideas that were particularly interesting

OK, So what did you think? 25. OK, LETS PLAY. 26. PhD Thesis: Database

  • A database is simply a collection of related data, a device for holding structured, machine-readable information together. It is an electronic version of the card box system, using a relational database management system, with relationships defined by the author as the database builder. Itsaves on the use of repetitive information , as it is difficult to store such information on card indexes without overlapping. It allows foreasier multiple access pointsto the data, which card catalogues can allo