I would like to propose a session about how people are forging fruitful partnerships between DH (digital humanities) initiatives and the world of LAMs (libraries, archives, and museums).
In my own experiences in the LAM world, I have witnessed many opportunities for symbiotic partnerships between the two go unexplored. At museums in particular, many important cultural heritage collections remain hidden, due to lack of technological infrastructure, as well as fears about treading into new policy territory, exhausting resources, transgressing museum traditions, or ceding control of collections by making information available online.
Many museum collections are cultural heritage treasure troves and could become incredibly powerful scholarly resources if combined with DH tools and strategies like linked data and information visualization. Additionally, museum professionals have great expertise to offer in the way of understanding and serving users, as well as organizing and presenting visual information. There exists a growing contingent of technology-friendly professionals within the greater museum community, but many of them work for larger, more generously funded institutions like the Smithsonian, or they are working on finite, grant-funded projects. At museum conferences, too many of the conversations focus on “making the case” for broader technology implementation to policy-makers, as opposed to actually implementing powerful digital collections solutions.
If LAMs were more routinely and directly engaged with the DH community, and more dialogue focused on the goal of sharing resources and combining available and developing DH tools with long-standing LAM knowledge, expertise, and traditions, I sense that both communities of practice would be benefited.
I would love to hear about other people’s experiences working at the intersection of DH and LAM practices, and to gain new insights into how to bring the two closer together.
Looking forward to meeting you all!