The programme of the event is a great combination of talks by academics and practitioners from multiple relevant stakeholders from Bulgaria and Romania. While this event marks the completion of the LIVE project, I hope that it will indeed open a new page of building large-scale collaborations between the institutions which already developed capacity in the domains of digitalisation, visualisation and popularisation and will also bring on board more institutions.
I am personally looking forward to present my work on disruptive technologies in the GLAM sectors (galleries, libraries, archives, museums) and the DISTILL project.
And while these days we can not expect a group of attendees in such elaborate costumes (and will wear our masks so a group photo needs to be quickly tagged while we remember who is who:), all of the participants will come to share stories about the tools we use to capture and share cultural heritage. Stay tuned for updates in real time from the event next week!
There are numerous movies which feature galleries, libraries, archives and museums and the people working in these institutions. There were also documentaries and studies exploring what are the images captured and delivered in movies. A popular one about the libraries is ‘The Hollywood Librarian’ released back in 2007. Those who have seen the documentary probably would remember one of the impressive summaries on the spread of library services:
“They have more cardholders than VISA, more customers than Amazon, and more outlets than McDonald’s. Meet America’s librarians.”
(from ‘The Hollywood Librarian’, 2007).
‘The Hollywood Librarian’ brings together fragments from movies looking at the stereotypes of the profession, but also personal stories of professionals. It is one of the professions which is frequently featured in movies, and unfortunately it is really capture for what it is. The last example I have seen recently is from the Disney’s animation Soul. When Soul 22 is trying to find out what could be exciting in his/her future life, s/he is prompted it may like libraries. And this unborn soul is quick to answer “Who wouldn’t like working at a thankless job you are always in danger to use due to budget cuts?
In the last years the libraries were extremely busy with implementing an immense range of educational programmes. They are instrumental in introducing skills and providing access to innovative technologies. They are defining and implementing digital transformation. And they were extremely entrepreneurial in adapting their services to the pandemics conditions.
It is sad to be so deeply immersed in the cliche of a thankless and repetitive job. But let’s hope that more of the future souls would be seeing libraries as places of inspiration, creativity and innovation.
Представяне на книгата “Да отворим GLAM лаборатория”
11 май 2021, 11.00-13.00, онлайн
E-инфраструктурите КЛаДА-БГ и УНИТЕ и проектът DISTILL имат удоволствието да ви поканят на представянето на книгата „Да отворим GLAM лаборатория“. Книгата е издадена от Издателството на БАН “Проф. Марин Дринов” с подкрепата на КЛаДА-БГ. Акронимът GLAM обобщава институции от сектора на културното и научно наследство – галерии (galleries), библиотеки (libraries), архиви (archives) и музеи (museums). Лабораториите за иновации в културните институции отговарят на нарастващата нужда от прилагане на интелигентни методи за анализ на големи сбирки от културни обекти и данни. В България има няколко инфраструктури, които подпомагат работата в тази област, вкл. КЛаДА-БГ и УНИТЕ. Книгата има 16 автори от цял свят, двама от които – Армин Щраубе и Милена Добрева – ще участват във уебинара. Тя е написана за кратко време и представлява синтезиран наръчник за процеса на създаване на иновативна лаборатория в галерии, библиотеки, архиви и музеи. Уебинарът ще представи и гледните точки на професионалисти от различни сектори, свързани с дигиталното културно наследство. Той е насочен към изследователи, студенти и музейни, библиотечни и архивни специалисти, които се интересуват от дигитализация на културно и научно наследство.
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Effective contemporary strategic development requires to integrate digital transformation with efficient inclusivity and diversion components on all strategic levels – and adapting to the new conditions of the pandemic times.
Digital transformation is one of the major change agents across all sectors of human activity. For this consultancy, we adhere to the recent definition suggested by Europeana: “Digital transformation is both the process and the result of using digital technology to transform how an organisation operates and delivers value. It helps an organisation to thrive, fulfil its mission and meet the needs of its stakeholders.” Our recent contacts with various libraries show that there is a real need to provide guidance and support in digital transformation. In some cases, digital transformation is seen more narrowly as the deployment of a specific new technological development in the institutional processes and services, e.g. introducing artificial intelligence or digital twins. We do not underestimate the importance of these processes, but they are more on the technological watch and advice side.
Diversity, inclusion, anti-racism and intersectionality
Likewise, diversity and inclusion is being advocated by staff and users worldwide. This is manifested through calls to action in the form of Anti-Racism Training and an understanding of Intersectionality to eradicate structural racism and other oppressive practices and transform institutions into inclusive and fair opportunity entities. Researchers using digitised resources and datasets have a privileged and influential position to advocate equal representation through daily practices. Digital representations of artefacts inevitably include a description, captured in different metadata elements and referred in thesauri, vocabularies, ontologies and other knowledge organisation tools. These descriptions hold an authority and influence language used within the sector and beyond. As the descriptions and knowledge structures are based on assessment and also interpretation, they must be Anti-Racist and Intersectional in their approach. To support research adequately, the library sector will need to provide resources such as training and devising policies to ensure that individuals capture various views on digitised content in a balanced way.
The influence of the pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic caused significant changes in the way institutions are operating. The analysis of 77 reopening plans from libraries worldwide curated by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) identified measures deployed in the libraries across four main areas – Safety, Sanitisation, Space remodelling, and Services.
Safety measures are considerably more popular than the introduction of new library services, in most cases digital ones. The time has come to look into the adaptations of services influenced by the pandemic systematically and rigorously.
Digital transformation is a major driver for change in the institutional strategies of today. But in 2021 we also need to look into the influence and demand of the continuing pandemic and into putting all matters related to inclusivity and diversity right. We will look into more practical advice around these topics in our future blogs. Stay tuned!
Back in 2005, Franco Moretti argued that the accumulation of literary works requires new methods for studying and exploring its contents because it was totally impossible for one scholar to read all texts published and analyse the trends over time. In the domain of the Humanities scholarships, this is one of the visionaries on what big Humanities data mean and how they can be tackled.
This same process is true also for the academic publications which numbers grow at unprecedented speed. An interesting current project explores how to organise the research literature in a way which clearly demonstrates the current level of knowledge and the answers to specific research questions.
ORKG offers an interesting approach introducing human curators who put together sets of publications in an environment which allows various useful visualisations.
Currently the project has a competition for curators who will contribute to gow the number of curated sets of papers seeking to answer research questions from different domains of knowledge. A good place to watch in the future!
Milena Dobreva was one of the international experts interviewed during the report preparation by Jane Finnis from Culture24. The last book Milena contributed to, ‘Open a GLAM Lab’, is also featured in the report.
Digital transformation is a complex concept – and Europeana defined it as follows:
Digital transformation is both the process and the result of using digital technology to transform how an organisation operates and delivers value. It helps an organisation to thrive, fulfil its mission and meet the needs of its stakeholders. It enables cultural heritage institutions to contribute to the transformation of a sector powered by digital and a Europe powered by culture.