With great power comes great responsibility: Democratizing cultural heritage collections (or lack thereof)

Activity: Talk typesInvited presentation


Libraries and museums are well-positioned to positively affect their users with the knowledge they produce, especially when publishing online collections. Through a process called “grooving,” the way knowledge is produced and how technology presents it affects the way we understand the world. Libraries and museums are in a position of power because of the trust the public gives them. GLAM institutions need to be aware that some collection items are more difficult to fit into these systems than others. These records with a “higher barrier of entry” require additional attention to make them more visible and findable in online collections beyond just the bare-minimum metadata. In this presentation, we will use the University of Notre Dame’s Marble (Museum, Archives, Rare Books, and Library Exploration platform) project as a case study to explore how linked open data can enhance discovery of GLAM collections, as well as some of the ethical concerns preventing access. As trusted cultural institutions, libraries and museums need to do better at involving local communities in the cataloging process and communicating the ambiguity, bias, nuance, and changeability of the metadata in their online catalogs to users. Catalogers need to be aware that the systems that we use can still prevent certain collections from being found, even if they are available online.
PeriodMar 11 2022
Held atALA CORE Interest Groups