Maria Economou, University of Glasgow (Hunterian Museum & HATII), UK
The use of digital in the cultural heritage sector continues to expand, whether it takes the form of an online catalogue, mobile application, or social media exchange, increasingly affecting our cultural encounters and shaping our perception of cultural organizations. Cultural and higher education institutions around the world are investing vast resources on digitization and making their collections available online but still know very little about who uses these and how they interact with the data. In order to address this gap, the Scottish Network on Digital Cultural Resources Evaluation (ScotDigiCH) was initiated in January 2015, bringing together academics from different disciplines and professionals from Scotland’s key cultural organizations and interweaving international perspectives. The aim of the network was to investigate how cultural digital resources are used by diverse user groups, how to record their impact, and how to maximize their potential. It integrated different methodologies and perspectives (from digital humanities, computing science, museology, social sciences) and used as a case study the Kelvin Hall Project in Glasgow. The Network has organized a series of four workshops, a knowledge exchange event and an international symposium on evaluating digital cultural resources (EDCR2016). All these activities have certainly given all partners a lot of food-for-thought and are informing all partners’ digital strategies and how evaluation can be integrated to support all core areas of operation form collections documentation to exhibition interpretation and visitor engagement. The paper discusses the lessons learned from the ScotDigiCH research network, particularly the EDCR2016 Symposium, and the wider implications for other researchers and organizations working in digital cultural heritage.
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