Welcome to the Digging Digital Museum Collections blog series! The Alexandria Archive Institute and Open Context (AAI / OC) advocate for data sharing, data literacy, open access, and community collaborations. In this series, we explore user experiences with online museum collections and question what we can do to use museum collections data in more accessible, inclusive, and efficient ways.
We will highlight how different museums are sharing their digital collections, interview users of digital content, share “how tos” about using online collections, and try our hand at integrating content from different institutions.
Part 5: Digging Digital Museum Collections is looking for guest bloggers!
by Pınar DURGUN
Are you someone who loves interacting with museums online or digitally? You have come to the right place!
The blog series Digging Digital Museum Collections started in November 2020 with several goals in mind: We envision a platform to think critically about the fast-changing landscape of digital and online museums. We want to discuss some of the ethical issues surrounding the digital use of museum collections. We showcase what can be done with online museum data. We hope to inspire future museum goers and be inspired by current ones.
Since November, we have interviewed around 30 museum professionals, educators, researchers, students, and social media content creators. Informed by these interviews, we have curated and created resources for educators. All of our interviewees have shared valuable experiences and resources with our readers. Some of these we have previously never come across! This has been an exciting process and we learned a lot. And we know that there are many more of you out there with stimulating reflections and resources.
Do you have thoughts on digital or online museum collections? Have you created or used helpful resources? Why not share them in a fun and informative blog post? All you have to do is pitch us a 150 word idea for your post!
Our one requirement is that you explore topics that relate to the digital/virtual/online museum world in a critical yet constructive and accessible way. You can pitch us something entirely out of the box too. We love creative engagements with digital museum collections.
In terms of our audience, we want to reach all readers interested in digital museums, not just academics or museum professionals. Our current audience is informed yet curious. They come from all walks of life, with a love for all kinds of different museums. As the AAI / OC focuses on archaeological data and engagement, we like including examples and museum collections that are archaeological or related to the ancient world (in the broadest sense possible!).
As the former curator of this project, I found it liberating to talk about issues concerning digital museums without limiting myself to one institution, one position, or one perspective. For example, if you work in a museum yet want to talk about your experience as a visitor, you can do that on this platform. Our views in the blog posts are personal and do not represent an institution or organization.
In our blog posts, we have tried to focus on the good examples, to inspire others with solutions, rather than criticize bad examples without offering an alternative. But we appreciate constructive suggestions on how to make something better!
In your post, you can always refer to books and articles that are not online or open-access. However, we prefer to cite or point to references and examples that are easily accessible and free. Not everyone reading our posts may have library or institutional access to an academic article or a subscription to a magazine. But, if you cite something from a public-facing reliable open access platform such as Sapiens, others can read what you are citing too.
The blog post could be a teaser for your own upcoming project, resource, conference presentation, academic article, or exhibit related to digital museum collections. You can showcase your work in a short and sweet format and reach a different audience through this platform.
You are welcome to suggest contributions with a translation in a second language. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to provide translations. But if you are bilingual and willing to submit the same piece in English and another language of your choosing, we would love that!
Our blog posts are usually around 1000-1500 words. They can be shorter or longer depending on the subject. They should be easy to digest, which is why the writing style and tone of our posts are pretty relaxed.
Our blog posts often contain some images. Since the posts are rather short, we use images to further explain some points. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words! Make sure that you own the rights to the images that are not under public domain license (Creative Commons 0-No copyright). Images can be photos, artworks, museum objects, graphs, charts, or maps. You can refer to our suggestions on citing museum objects and image licenses here. Please make sure that the captions describe the images visually as well.
We are looking forward to digging into digital museum collections together. Do you have any questions or a pitch? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find our previous blog posts here.
Our first guest bloggers will be Dr. Jen Thum (Assistant Director of Academic Engagement and Assistant Research Curator at the Harvard Art Museums) and Dr. Carl Walsh (Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Barnes Foundation and Museum). Stay tuned!