April 13-17, 2010
Denver, Colorado, USA

Sessions: Abstract

Think Globally, Digitize Locally: charting an institution’s course toward the digital social good   go to paper

Brian Dawson, Canada Science and Technology Museum Corporation, Canada

Digitized collections afford significant museum experiences, and can result in a wide range of satisfying outcomes and benefits – both planned and emergent – for the visitor. Collections also represent a broader benefit – a public good. They are specific instances of the global “Utopian” project of digitizing the sum total of human knowledge and making it available on-line – the potential benefits of which cannot be fully anticipated, and continue to emerge.

Cultural institutions are enmeshed in the broader debates of digital policy and strategy. Some countries are seen as leaders, with digital initiatives that thrive, while others appear to fall behind. This paper examines an institution’s role in the broader social project of digitization today. specifically the context in Canada, and considers a range of projects at three of Canada’s national museums, looking at how these projects support institutional mandates and objectives vs. external priorities. It examines the intersection of policies, priorities and strategies between the institutional and national levels, and how this intersection influences the path that institutions take with their digitization and access initiatives.

This may provide insights on the broader context in which cultural institutions digitize, helping institutions understand their digitization priorities and challenges, and their relationship to their environment and external stakeholders, so they can better articulate rationale and strategy for digital content.


Session: Organizational Strategy [organizations]

Keywords: digitization, digital content, collection access, cyberinfrastructure, strategy, public good