Democratisation of Collections through Digitisation.

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Democratisation of Collections through DigitisationSimon TannerDepartment of Digital Humanities, Kings College London

Twitter: @SimonTanner05/02/2015 01:19ENC Public Talk 19 February 20131@SimonTanner1

Digital Humanities: the application of digital technology to humanities disciplinesreflection upon the impact of digital media upon humanity> 50 academics & researchers~ 2.5 million research income per annum>5 million digital objects, 130+projects200+million hits over 5 years: Tanner, KCL 2011 Humanities methods for historical analysis of Irish Immigrants in 19th Century London, England Tanner, KCL Models & Rights Strategy for Images in Museums

@SimonTanner@SimonTanner4 Research, Inspiring Scholarship Balanced Value Impact Model


The purpose of digitisation:to educate, enlighten & entertainMemory organisations are where a community nourishes its memory, imagination & creativity.Where it connects with the past & invents its future.7

Old Bailey Online reaches out to communities, such as family historians, who are keen to find a personal history, reflected in a national story... Digital resources both create a new audience, and reconfigure our analysis to favour the individual.Professor Tim Hitchcock, University of Hertfordshire

Digitised resources allow me to discover the hidden lives of disabled people, who have not traditionally left records of their lives. I have found disability was discussed by many writers in the Eighteenth Century and that disabled men and women played an important role in the social life of the time.Dr David Turner, Swansea University areas of research enabled8

Effective, efficient and world leading

Bringing collections out of the darkf. 23 detail


Digitising the Dead Sea Scrolls

Israel Antiquities Authority D.S.S Lab12Spectral Classification

Use of complete spectrum separates ink, parchment, backing and background Israel Antiquities Authority D.S.S Lab13

Bestowing economic & community benefits 2008National Museums Liverpool did a full economic impact assessment. They found that: "duringthe Capital of Culture period, 25% of all visitorsto Liverpool visited the Walker Art Gallery, 24%visited the Merseyside Maritime Museum and15% visited World Museum, while about 5% ofvisitors only visited a National Museums Liverpoolvenue and no other attraction during their visit.In total, National Museums Liverpool is reliablyestimated to beworth 115 millionto the economy ofthe Liverpool city region, a spend that supports2,274 full-time jobs


The Freeze Frame archive is invaluable in charting changes in the polar regions. Making the material available to all will help with further research into scientific studies around global warming and climate changePen Hadow, Polar Explorer

Interdisciplinary & collaborative - a tale of PuffinsShetland Isles Museum and Archives

Tanner, KCL 201117You want a massive digital collection: SCAN THE STACKS!... You agonize over digital metadata and the purity thereof... And you offer crap access.

If I ask you to talk about your collections, I know that you will glow as you describe the amazing treasures you have. When you go for money for digitization projects, you talk up the incredible cultural value...

But then if I look at the results of those digitization projects, I find the shittiest websites on the planet. Its like a gallery spent all its money buying art and then just stuck the paintings in supermarket bags and leaned them against the wall.

Nat Torkington (@gnat) Where It All Went Wrong 2011On the other hand...@SimonTanner@SimonTanner18Michelle Pickover, curator of manuscripts at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, argues that Cyberspace is not an uncontested domain. The digital medium contains an ideological base it is a site of struggle. The real challenges in collection digitisation in national memory institutions, she argues, are not technological or technical but social and political. Librarians and archivists are agents of social change who, through their appraisal, selection, arrangement and retention of material, are able to become active participants in the production of social memory, and who, by the nature of their work, cannot help but privilege certain narratives and silence or marginalise others

Kahn, R and Tanner, S (2014) Building Futures: The Role of Digital Collections in Shaping National Identity in Africa (chapter in African Studies in the Digital Age)

Contested Spaces@SimonTanner@SimonTanner19DiscoveringAnnotatingComparingReferringSamplingIllustratingRepresentingScholarshipFrom John Unsworths Scholarly PrimitivesReason 1: digital humanities digital research resources are recognisedReason 2: digital humanities enhances the research environmentReason 3: digital humanities has impact3 Reasons to say YES to DH

Democratisation of Collections through DigitisationSimon TannerDepartment of Digital Humanities, Kings College London

Twitter: @SimonTanner05/02/2015 01:17ENC Public Talk 19 February 201322@SimonTanner22


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