New article: The value of mass-digitised cultural heritage content in creative contexts

One of the projects I’m working on right now is Creative Informatics, (2018–2023), which aims to enhance data-sharing and innovation across the creative sectors throughout the City of Edinburgh and local regions, to develop ground-breaking new products, businesses and experiences, as part of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme (2020). I’m pleased to share our first team effort paper, which just came out in Big Data and Society, in its special edition on Heritage in a World of Big Data: re-thinking collecting practices, heritage values and activism, edited by Chiara Bonacchi (which is a fab set of papers, btw). Our paper is fully open access, so I’ll paste the abstract in here, and the full citation.

How can digitised assets of Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums be reused to unlock new value? What are the implications of viewing large-scale cultural heritage data as an economic resource, to build new products and services upon? Drawing upon valuation studies, we reflect on both the theory and practicalities of using mass-digitised heritage content as an economic driver, stressing the need to consider the complexity of commercial-based outcomes within the context of cultural and creative industries. However, we also problematise the act of considering such heritage content as a resource to be exploited for economic growth, in order to inform how we consider, develop, deliver and value mass-digitisation. Our research will be of interest to those wishing to understand a rapidly changing research and innovation landscape, those considering how to engage memory institutions in data-driven activities and those critically evaluating years of mass-digitisation across the heritage sector.

Terras, M., Coleman, S., Drost, S., Elsden, C., Helgason, I., Lechelt, S., Osborne, N., Panneels, I., Pegado, B., Schafer, B. and Smyth, M., 2021. The value of mass-digitised cultural heritage content in creative contextsBig Data & Society8(1), p.20539517211006165.

It’s worth stressing that we problematise the act of considering such heritage content as a resource to be exploited for economic growth before people set the pitchforks upon us.

It was a great paper to write with the team, and I can recommend working with the BD&S editors and peer reviewers – this one had a few turns around the block, and it is all the better for it.

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