Building a future for museum documentation; with or despite of the democratisation of data?

Presenter: Simone Stoltz, Lecturer Information and Media, Reinwardt Academie

The internet profoundly changed audience communication and the proposition and role of the museum. We embrace our digital infrastructure -- which we see as an indispensable additional domain -- and we celebrate being always connected, everywhere, every time, and to everyone. Which means that each can carry his or her own control over what he or she wants to read, hear, discuss, share, and search; and at his or her desired time and location. This requires heritage institutions to take on a new attitude towards their proposition and their audience communication. Even more so, the future generation is already fully digital minded and (sometimes) completely ignores the justification for ‘correct’ use based on heritage theory.

Unfortunately, it is this lack of substantive heritage media knowledge that can problematize the future development and execution of museum tasks. Because the world is becoming more and more digital, one should be digitally literate in all areas of the field of heritage. Museums must understand that media is a structural part of heritage work, pertinent in areas such as exhibition, public outreach, education, curating, information and conservation. Future professionals should and shall be firmly digitally literate, they will make a difference and are already in motion. Also in the field of heritage, these competencies are no luxury. After all, it is essential for museums to exchange information in many different ways, to listen, and to be visible and accessible through a variety of channels, platforms, and communities. This is something that has not been a crystallized process for each museum, but is already a major issue for most institutions.

That technology develops is not the question. But how and in what direction it develops, is yet unknown. With each new development, we ask ourselves what the implications for the field of heritage are.

This workshop focuses on one specific aspect within the issues mentioned above: democratisation of data.
What consequences do museums encounter because of the shifting ownership of information that our current society calls for?

Participant will approach this question during interactive sessions and discussion.