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Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

Authority Records, Future Computers and Other Unfinished Histories


What becomes the role for institutions and scholars charged with the study and safe-keeping of the past and the near-future when traditional methodologies like "authority records" are forced to compete with automated data collection, machine learning, the now suddenly practical reality of "big data" and the rise of broad communities of participation?

The breadth and reach of the Internet and the availability of alternative data sources, whether they are harvested programmatically or fashioned by amateur communities of interest has created a world where both the conceptual and financial economics of traditional scholarship are rapidly being undermined. Further, in the absence of a way for non-experts to feel as though they can participate in the discourse outside of established venues and vocabularies the opinions and assumed meritocracies of experts are increasingly being overlooked entirely.

What would it mean to change the role of digital preservation and scholarly interpretation from one where it looks and feels, to those the outside, like castle walls to be more like a rough guide composed of road signs and fence-posts? To consider a project whose goal is no longer to weave elaborate tapestries of the past facts but to produce textiles, and patterns, to be fashioned into reflections of the present?


Paper - in formal session


Aaron Cope's picture
Aaron is Canadian by birth, American by descent, North American by experience et Montréalais au fond. Aaron was a senior engineer at Flickr, focusing on mobile and geo/mapping related tools, before leaving to join Stamen Design. Once upon a time, he was still a practicing painter. Aaron does not...

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