Shaping the Big Picture: Interactively Mapping Our Digital Activities and Relationships

Workshop - register now

Wednesday, April 03, 2019: 9:00am - 12:00pm - Fairfax A (3F): Shaping the Big Picture: Interactively Mapping Our Digital Activities and Relationships

Duane Degler, Design for Context, USA

Working with “digital” activities in museums and cultural heritage means many different things. And the range of activities involving digital keeps expanding! Would you like to join others and map out the extended role of “museum digital” and explore its inter-dependent relationships? This highly immersive, interactive workshop draws together people who work in a wide range of departments, roles, and responsibilities.

We will start by identifying the current and known-future areas of digital across museum practice to collaboratively create a wide-ranging inventory. Then we will look at how these areas relate to each other — how do our activities build on each other, share information, avoid silos, maintain consistency, evolve over time, provide flexible outputs for future uses and interpretations, adapt to new technologies, and most importantly remain respectful and supportive of the populations they serve? With these insights, we will create an ecosystem map, and discuss the implications and opportunities it presents, including how it changes our perspective on our work and collaborations, and fosters ethical and sustainable digital practices. Finally, we will identify ways that we can share this systemic view of our digital ecosystem within our institutions and with the community.

As a participant, you will take away knowledge of the “big picture” for digital and language that can help you organize collaborations and help others in your institution understand the important, systemic role that digital practices play in your museum and for your visitors. You should be able to more easily identify where your project outputs offer contributions across the institution.

Grant-making organizations encourage the community, including some long-standing examples:
IMLS Focus Summary Report: National Digital Platform, 4.28.2015 (focus on "forming a decentralized ecosystem can unite memory institutions").
NEH news announcement: Digital Humanities Advancement Grants, 7.21.2016 (focus: "we are encouraging applications that involve innovative collaborations between museum or library professionals and humanities professionals").

Community members reflecting on current challenges, for example:
Smith, Koven J. "Is the Museum Technology Sector Shrinking?" 19 April 2018 blog post.

Digital standards, integration initiatives, and projects: Linked.Art (standards emerging out of the AAC project), IIIF, digital publishing (e.g. Quire, others from the OSCI project), annotation, VR education/initiatives (such as the recent AAM conference in Detroit), WCAG, etc.

The wide scope of professional interest groups and networks that are struggling with the emergent or changing role of digital in their efforts (for example, see AAM's Professional Networks:

Recent focus on the role and challenges of technology generally within society, that could affect museum use of technology, such as the newly-announced The Markup project (, Data & Society (, and numerous academic studies.

Numerous projects with linked data to create ecosystems to integrate departments and multi-institution projects (case study publications forthcoming), digital scholarly publishing, in-gallery experience installations, social media, taxonomy/classification standards, multimedia, etc..