Speaker Deck

Towards a Model of Openness in Digital Cultural Heritage

by Ethan Watrall

Published September 27, 2013 in Education

My keynote for the Network Detroit conference (detroitdh.org):

Encouraged by exciting advances in digital technology, the issue of openness has swept into almost every corner of the scholarly world in recent years. Research, publication, teaching, public engagement, and even the very fabric of scholarly ethics - have all been touched by this discussion. The domain of cultural heritage is hardly immune from the debate. Disciplines such as History, Archaeology, Anthropology, and Classics along with cultural heritage institutions such as libraries, archives, and museums are all wrestling with how openness within a digital space impacts their core identity and unique professional practice.

If one thing has emerged from this discussion, it is that there is no universal set of practices that can be homogeneously applied to all fields, disciplines, and types of institutions that address the challenge of openness. Each domain demands an approach that is clearly and thoughtfully tailored to its unique professional circumstances.

It is within this context that this talk will parse the idea of openness, exploring the issue both broadly and within the unique context of praxis in digital cultural heritage. In order to maximize its value to scholars, professional practitioners, and institutions, the talk will also suggest a series of thoughtful strategies that can be leveraged in order to better embrace a more open approach to work within digital cultural heritage.