A new knowledge ecology for museums
Theo Meereboer - E30 Foundation
When George Pór stated in 2000: “By "knowledge network" we mean the frequently unmapped web-like
connections not among people, but their knowledge and insights interacting with one another, that
organizations produce in their normal course of action,” he could hardly forsee which role social media
would play in the decade to come. This fundamental change in how we connect and interact, got Knowledge
Ecologies (KE’s) back on the map, but sited them outside the digital domain as well.
Although many tools are webbased and connectivity leans firmly on web and mobile technology, Knowledge
Ecologies take that technology further along in the direction of Human Resources, Public Relations and
Reputation Management. It changes the way we work with volunteers, the way we build and maintain
relations in order to gain public support, share and exchange knowledge and helps us to find funding on the
long term. Which is disruptive and reassuring.
If museums can take advantage of this, how will they be able to organize their networks as a KE?
Based on the case study 'Collectiewijzer (Collection Guide)', a network-like web presence designed to share
knowledge and innovate collection care and management and another one called ‘Digital Education’, a series
of network meetings, online and offline, for the members of the VSC (Association of collaborating centers
and museums in science and technology), we can draw an outline for a new kind of Knowledge Ecology.
This will have an effect on the vision, mission and strategy of an organization. It will enhance crowdsourcing
and social tagging. It gives us the wisdom and velocity of the swarms.
We are forced to re-define our networks, to consider how social factors can override ICT-infrastructure but
most of all puts the question: who we are and with whom we want a sustainable relationship in knowledge?
E30 Foundation / Theo Meereboer 2011