- A history of digitization: Dutch museums
- Award date
- 10 December 2014
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH)
Over the past fifty years, a huge amount of labour and funding has been deployed for the introduction of digital technology in museums. In the course of this process, the nature of museums has been transformed. However, little is understood of the processes or the outcome because the history of the digitization of museums in the Netherlands, the projects, policies, funding and people involved, remain unknown.
This study aims to fill this gap by providing an overview of the history of digitization between the 1960s and 2010s, by analyzing what constitutes the process of "becoming digital" and by describing the consequences of the choices made during the adoption of a digital work practice. Analysis of the five case studies, 63 interviews and literature review, focused on the value of information, network theory, and the social relation between users and the adopted technology.
This study documented four main changes in museums: (1) collection registration had a marginal and supporting role prior to the adoption of a digital work form, digitization positioned collection information processes at the core of the organization, overarching and supporting all other processes; (2) these processes were exclusively institutional in nature, eventually expanding to become cross-institutional collaborating processes; (3) digitization changed the goal of all information processes from controlling content to communicating with the user; and (4) information production, dissemination and, to a certain degree, use was monopolized by professionals, digitization enabled a democratization of participation by all types of users.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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