Collaboration between museums & libraries

Discussion included the problem of library & archival staff interacting with collections staff, due to the different taxonomies used by archivists, librarians, & catalogers & registrars. Each specialty has its own language, and uses different software. Fusing them is also complicated due to different attitudes regarding the appropriate use of collections, “Librarians share, archivists are learning to share; museum curators primarily want to protect the objects in their collections”.

However, large digital projects requires collaboration, often because of the need to raise large amounts of money—projects that involve collaborative between different institutions are often favored by granting institutions.

Incentive for collaboration between libraries and museums must come from the directors or deciders from each institution.

RDA—Research Description App—new software which may work as the software of choice for all three, if there is willingness to change “the way we do things here” and learn new software.

Are taxonomic-free descriptions possible? (Much discussion; consensus was no, particularly for science museums.)

Several people spoke about the need for dynamic modes of digitizing content. Many agreed that collaboration will become more prevalent as technology evolves and millennials (who expect content to be available/open-source) influence or are the policy makers.

A good model for successful collaboration between a library & museum is Wellcome Library (London, England);; see Digitisation at the Wellcome Library.

Copyright issues also complicate sharing digital materials; many objects can be displayed but not presented online. However, placing an image online also has shown to raise its value, i.e., reproductions of an image that becomes familiar sell for more.

Action should include getting discussion at national conferences about the need & value of museum–library collaborations, to facilitate research and access to diverse materials.

Our group was an interesting mix—various disciplines & range of experience. The discussions and questions were very lively.


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