I’ve been working on initiating a project the past weeks. The project has to do with cultural institution databases and metadata preservation. So, I spent some time studying ways cultural institutions organise their online based datas.
These are some of my personal notes :
– While to some degrees, format and structures of these database are clear and anyone could study how a database is organised, therefore use the database accordingly – these format and structure does not necessarily corresponds with culture of origin let alone represent a culture. It surely isn’t wise to take these format and structure at face value. I mean, I suppose it is the institution prerogative right to organise their collection however they see fit, but 21st century demands a more democratic structure. Which is how I see metadata preservation as a chance to do exactly that.
– Knowledge gap in information of material objects. It seems to me that at some point (most likely in the 19th C) museums collects faster than it could study objects acquired. It is indeed normal to see one or two empty information on a data entry. I think, from a user point of view at least, metadata preservation could be a way to make the process of updating collections alive and interesting.
– Copyright concerns. Legal consequences certainly needs to be addressed carefully. In the commercial aspects for example, large institutions like Rijksmuseum could afford to work together with Etsy in terms of using images for reproductions in crafts and design items (see here) , I don’t think this should be a case for all institutions.
– The term shared/mutual/common heritage is both enlightening and confusing at the same time. While it could be somewhat easy to determine when the period of shared/mutual/common began one question come to mind, does mutuality and commonality have an expiration date? Does it end somewhere? Or, is the idea that having a common heritage means continuity of…commonality? I suppose this subject worth an extensive paper to write.