Navarrete From Networked Museums to Isolated Consumers
From networked museums
to isolated consumers
Trilce Navarrete | Erasmus University Rotterdam
The Art Museum in the Digital Age | Belvedere | 9-10 January 2020
In short• How do we imagine the true museum without walls?
• Pictures tell stories
• Stories can be told with pictures
• Digital technology was first adopted for object administration (1960s)
• Remote access and federated searchers remain a current challenge
• New hard/software may facilitate broader access (XR)
• Museums can become key repositories in the information economy
Vienna from the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) self-scanned by contributor
How did we get here?
• In The Netherlands, digitisation was fuelled by the Ministry of Internal
Affairs (1990s). The goal was to improve administration (inventory,
• One of the main results (2008) was the estimation of the size of the
national collection (± 45.2 million objects) and its value (of which 15%
were ‘category A’ and 24% category B)
• (This did not include the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre with 37 million objects)
• The focus is on administration (identification, location, value, state).
• Information organisation follows systems of knowledge.
• Mostly static systems, a few exploring with dynamic representation
Dutch museums adoption of technology (and us
1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015
Museums using compute
museums connected to th
Collections registered dig
Collections published onl
Ideal: remote access and federated searches
• Museum collections are not all accessible online (>10%) (Enumerate, 20
• Hindering interconnectivity 100
Percentage of digitised collections in museums (not weighte
Major labour / expense / task
Europeana Strategy 2020
• Digitisation includes images / media
• Story telling
• Digitisation and preservation of EU cultural
memory is key area of Digital Agenda 2020.
• Member states are encouraged to digitise
objects in public domain in a way that these
remain in the public domain.
Copyright status museum collections
EU Recommendations on digitisation
EU Directive on the re-use
public sector informati
• (5) Access to information is a fundamental right.
• (19) Digitisation is an important means of ensuring greater access to an
re-use of cultural material for education, work or leisure (L 175/2)
• (19) It also offers considerable economic opportunities, allowing for an
easier integration of cultural material into digital services and products,
thus supporting job creation and growth (L 175/2)
• (23) Libraries, museums and archives should also be able to charge
above marginal costs in order not to hinder their normal running… the
prices charged by the private sector for the re-use of identical or similar
documents could be considered when calculating a reasonable return o
investment (L 175/2)
Museum’s perception of technology
• Open data = open format that can be freely used, re-used and shared
by anyone for any purpose.
• Open data is desirable but museums want to restrict use: generally
not for commercial uses and with no modifications (Estermann, 2013)
• Crowdsourcing = outsourcing labour to the crowd
• Crowdsourcing is more a risk than an opportunity (Estermann, 2013)
• But in 1.5 years a crowd did the job of 18 years (1FTE)
• Crowdsourcing projects related to the digital collections are not very
popular – considering the benefits (high speed, low cost, engagement).
• Information systems will remain limited as long as objects remain at the
centre, rather than the multiple stories that can be told with the objects.
Objects are polysemic.
• Crowdsourcing may provide new socially constructed digital commons.
• Private parties (e.g. Google) have already tapped into the resource,
particularly for AI.
e 1 of Alias Grace on Netflix, featuring two highlights from SMK’s public domain collection; Pilo’s Frederik V in his Anointing Robes (1750) and Juel’s The Dancing Glade at Sorgenfri (c. 1800).
The value of museums as information
• Museums are millenary information repositories, with vast collections
of organised, classified, authentic, and diverse information.
• Digital technology can contribute to reposition museums as key
agents to enrich the service information economy.
• Being everywhere requires a new value framework: online clicks on
the museum website will not represent the museum information
How do we imagine the true (digital) museum without wa