Week 13: Pop Culture and GLAM collaboration

Retrieved from https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/GLAM
Retrieved from https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/GLAM

This week I’ll be arguing in favour of GLAMs needing to collaborate to ensure healthy futures. For those who couldn’t make it to the chat, GLAM is an acronym for galleries, libraries, archives and museums. Some of the major organisations making up the GLAM sector in Australia are:

Our first question in the chat – ‘libraries as cultural institutions: what role should different types of libraries have in the age of GLAM?’ – led to a discussion about how the GLAM sector didn’t collaborate as much as it should.


Strengthening the argument for collaboration is that some institutions are already complemented by smaller versions of another institution, benefitting them imensely. For example, the Queensland Museum has its own library to support researchers and staff. This library contains special collections highly relevant to the museum and its goals.

There has already been increased international discussion about collaboration in the GLAM sector in the past few years, as more institutions like archives, libraries and galleries come together. Reasons for collaboration include serving users such as researchers better, taking advantage of technological development and increased budgetary and administrative efficency.

The argument for more collaboration between GLAM institutes on the grounds it would benefit users was repeated by Dr Warwick Cathro in a 2010 speech given about TROVE.  In his speech, he stated that collaboration was not done for the sake of institutions but the users it would benefit. In the case of TROVE, the collaboration lead to the digitilisation of items from different collections, so they could be all found by using one search rather than the searcher having to go through several different institutions’ databases to find all the information they required. However, Dr Cathro identified some issues hindering collaboration like the lack of suitable standards like  when it came to data sharing across institutions.

The GLAM sector may need to find solutions to these problems quickly. In 2014, the CSIRO recommended that cultural institutions around Australia focus on digitising their collections for the future or face irrelevance.  In 2016, the GLAM sector announced The Digital Access project. This project will focus on the digitisation of collections across Australia, with a special focus on visiting regional museums and art galleries to see how their collections can be made more available for. As a person who volunteers at a small regional museum with no online prescence for a number of reasons such as security (we are part of the Army History Unit), I am interested and eager to see where this project will lead.

I know there are many GLAM sector workers in this class and  I’d love to hear your thoughts. What are your ideas on collaboration among different institutions and how it should be done? Do you have any examples to share?

15 thoughts on “Week 13: Pop Culture and GLAM collaboration”

  1. Hi Chloe, interesting post. Collaboration with the GLAM sector is certainly on a lot of people’s minds on the moment. And not just within separate organisations but within large organisations, too (eg, the library, archive and gallery, if they are run separately).

    I was at an interesting talk by Kate Torney (CEO State Library Vic) the other week where she emphasised the importance of collaboration between academic and public libraries, as there’s a bit of a disconnect at the moment. Definitely interesting stuff.

    1. Hi Kate, thank you for your thoughts. I will investigate that talk by Kate Torney further!

      I think internal collaboration within an organisation is also an excellent idea, particularly if it can benefit both departments.

  2. Hi Chloe, Great post. Thank you for the link to the CSIRO digital access project, very interesting. I am only starting to use TROVE and find it fantastic. Increased emphasis on collaboration is definitely the future.
    Increased collaboration means increased digitisation and I have been reading about a couple of anti- dgitisation POV;
    – I read a blog which noted that digitising obscure magazines meant that the writers had lost their “rights to privacy” as they were now searchable.
    – I also read about the right to remove your presence from the web.
    I need to read up more about this (& copyright) and I am curious if this will impact upon digitisation projects.
    I guess these POV are related to privacy issues and I suspect this will be continuing discussion!

  3. Hi Chloe, nice thoughts
    you are right in regards to there should be collaboration between galleries, libraries, museums and achieves. This would give them an opportunities to have standards and achieve one main goal which is ‘attracting people to visit these places from one gate’.

  4. Hi Chloe
    I think that digitisation of newspapers and ephemera to TROVE is a wonderful step to preserving history and heritage – it’s so important to have a sense of belonging. It’s also interesting to get a snapshot of life at a certain point in time – like 1920 or 1940 – and to read the notices in the newspaper about family events.
    From a literary perspective, the formality of those announcements is in stark contrast to contemporary communications.


  5. Hi Chloe,

    Thanks for a great post, I really enjoyed the article you mentioned.

    I agree, I think GLAM should collaborate as much as they can, there would be so many benefits to the users when/if they decide to do it more regularly.
    Imbi wrote a great comment above about working together to achieve one goal

    Is there any collaboration in the museum you currently volunteer in?

    1. Hi Ashlee,

      I’m glad you liked the article. Unfortunately, there is not very much collaboration with the museum I work at due to being in such a rural area. I think there’s definitely room for it though! I think this class has given me some ideas to approach the museum manager with.

  6. Hey Chloe thanks so much for the article. I’m glad I’m not the only one who read the CSIRO report, so interesting!

    I find your perspective about your rural museum and its (lack of) presence online interesting. You say for your employers, security is an issue? I thought you might be interested to know (if you don’t already!) that the Australian War Memorial are planning a very special digital collection in coming months. It’s the Art of Nation project, inspired by Charles Bean’s work in curating the paintings and field sketches from the First World War. The collection has now been designed as an online interactive experience that will soon be launched on the AWM’s website, and will be, essentially, a virtual tour of decades-old artworks that have never been displayed publicly.
    I wonder how that sort of digitisation of ephemera will impact your sector, and their views on collections and access in the future.

    1. Hi Rebecca, so sorry for this late reply! The museum is not online as it’s part of the Army History unit, which is part of Defence. The manager is justly worried about the hacking problems that will incurr if we put up a website with a .gov at the end, which is what we would need to do.

      Thank you for the heads up on the Australian War Memorial exhibit, that looks fascinating! One of our museum members has been working on digitising the collection for quite a while, and some of it has been ephemera like Vietnamese propaganda and training handbooks. I think it would be great if we could have digital exhibitions to showcase it.

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