Tag Archives: archive

What difference does a website make?

A website that presents the collection through gorgeous visuals is now considered a must for any self-respecting museum. Photographs of objects, of exhibitions and of the museum itself are increasingly frequent interfaces, linking museums, visitors, experts, collections. How are users engaged by these interfaces? Which skills and strategies are needed for this engagement? What are the consequences of visually mediated interfaces for users of digital knowledge in/about/from museums, archives, and other collections? These developments are discussed in terms of their consequences for how museums view their role in a recent article written with Sarah de Rijcke, Image as Interface: consequences for users of museum knowledge. It appears in a special issue of the journal Library Trends on ‘Involving Users in the Co-Construction of Digital Knowledge in Libraries, Archives, and Museums.’


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Insights on visual digital scholarship

A geat piece by Tara McPherson has recently appeared. Not only does it contain important insights about the first few years of experimentation at the journal Vectors, but is also describes important efforts to rethink scholarly communication in relation to the visual and to the archive. Topics close to our hearts here at Net Real.

Go read this!

Scaling Vectors: Thoughts on the Future of Scholarly Communication

Tara McPherson
Journal of Electronic Publishing
Volume 13, Issue 2, Fall 2010
DOI: 10.3998/3336451.0013.208


This essay proposes that bold new forms of experimentation and bookishness are necessary if we are to advance (and perhaps save) scholarly publishing in the humanities. Possible issues facing presses are considered through consideration of two examples in scholarly publishing that involve the author. The first example, the experimental journal Vectors, highlights the advantages and limits of certain types of multimodal scholarly communication for the humanities. The second example, the new Alliance for Networking Visual Culture, points toward new methods of workflow and publishing that link archives, scholars, and presses. The essay ends with a list of key questions that presses will need to address as various stakeholders collectively expand what we understand humanities publishing to be.


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Archival Practices and Network Realism

With great pleasure, I’ve been reading Martin Hand‘s book Making Digital Cultures. It is a very rich account of practices that constitute digital cultures, with practices to be understood in a layered, complex sense. It’s been great to think about our investigation of database practices in relation to the concepts and fieldwork laid out by Hand in this book.

In particular, the passages about the shifts in ‘the archive’ are stimulating:

“If archival practices have been concerned to locate and fix meaning in relation to the specific contextual qualities of material things, what are the implications for this understanding of modern memory when archival things have become largely digitally mediated? What happens when these things are seen to ‘lack context’, to lack the authenticity of their analogue equivalents, where their meaning can be lost in translation? (Hand, chapter 6, page 132).”

In our fieldwork, we are witnessing and conveying the answers to this crisis, as they are enacted by actors on the ground. We seek to identify the ontologies that are effective in these settings, and to understand the work needed to  encounter, produced and interact with digital mediations. We are also interested in the  (practical) resolutions to issues of trust, authenticity, access, context, etc, so that these “things” that are known through the database can be involved in knowledge practices.

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