Libraries as Cultural Heritage Institutions: A Review of the Literature

This weeks topic for my class was Libraries as Cultural Heritage institutions.  Many of the articles focused on digitizing cultural items with some of the others focusing on the interaction between libraries, museums, and archives as cultural heritage institutions.

I talked about the first article for my discussion board post, copied here.  Davison focused on building digital special collections and the process that went into creating two collection at UCLA, Hypercities and the UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology. Hypercities is a digital archive of maps, photographs, and other historic information on various cities around the world that builds a picture in space time of the history of the city.  Accessible online, this project assists students of all ages in studying the history of cities and how the develop, grow, and change over time and “aims to provide an environment in which exploration and authorship are possible.”  Cities include Los Angelos, Lima, Peru, Berlin, Rome, New York, and Tel Aviv, Israel.   The Encyclopedia of Egyptology is a digital collection of materials to support scholarship and create an online encyclopedia.  Material included in the project consists of scholarly articles, illustrations, maps, and video and audio recordings.  “Rather than only presenting a conveniently accessible body of excellent content, the UEE will ultimately open up new research methods, through combining and interweaving the knowledge of eminent scholars with original data in completely new ways.”  In this way, both the Hypercities and Encyclopedia of Egyptology support scholarship and teaching.  They also support library services to the public by being open access.  The Hypercities project also assists in the preservation of the cultural heritage of the participatory cities, and hopefully in the future will include more cities worldwide that have rich cultural histories such as London, Paris, Venice, Tokyo, and other cities across the globe and on every continent.

Given and McTavish focused on the re-convergence of museums, libraries, and archives.  They focused on the link between museums and libraries by shedding light on current forms of their convergence.  The article also gives a history of museums and libraries and their interaction over the years.  Both kinds of institutions foster knowledge and learning.

Henjum talked about the Florida Heritage Collection.  Conceived in 1998, the collection went online in the Fall of 2000.  It encompasses the areas of Arts, Culture, History, the Sciences, and Social Sciences.  The collection is perfect for students of all ages and K-12 teachers to implement in their classrooms.

Lloyd talked about assigning significance to items preserved.  Lloyd talks about the concept of whether or not something is significant enough to be saved and the problems that can arise when deeming something significant.  How do we determine what is significant?  Is one item more significant over another?  And how do we make sure we don’t miss any significant items just because they aren’t significant to a minority group?  Lloyd attempts to address those questions.

Paulus has an interesting article about the collection of Myron Eells.  Eells collected a massive collections of books, paper, and artifacts in his life which he donated to the Museum and Library at Whitman College.  The article addressed how the collection was used and treated and the connections between the library and museum.

Dupont’s article discussed the interaction between museums, libraries, and archives in the 21st century through statements submitted by attendees of the 47th annual conference of the Rare Books and Manuscripts division of the Association of Research and College Libraries.  He asked the questions:  “Intersecting missions, converging futures?” and  “Can they work together?”

We were also asked to explore the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.  The institute is “dedicated to the preservation of cultural material” and “plays a crucial role in establishing and upholding professional standards, promoting research and publications, providing educational opportunities, and fostering the exchange of knowledge among conservators, allied professionals, and the public.”

References

Davision, S. (2009). If We Build It, Will They Come? Strategies for Teaching and Research with Digital Special Collections. RBM10(1), 37-49.

Dupont, C.  (2007). Libraries, Archives, and Museums in the Twenty-First Century: Intersecting Missions, Converging Futures? RBM, 8(1), 13-19


Given, L. M., & McTavish, L. (2010). What’s old is new again: The reconvergence of libraries, archives and museums in the digital age. Library Quarterly, 80(1), 7-32.

Henjum, Elaine.“Introducing the Florida Heritage Collection: A Cooperative Digital Library Initiative,” Florida Libraries 43 (Fall 2000): 8-9.

Lloyd, Annemaree (2007). Guarding Against Collective Amnesia? Making Significance
Problematic: An Exploration of Issues. Library Trends. 56(1), 53-65.

Paulus, M. J. (2011). The Converging Histories and Futures of Libraries, Archives, and Museums as Seen through the Case of the Curious Collector Myron Eells. Libraries & the Cultural Record, 46(2), 185-205.

 

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