Infrastructuring Digitization of Ephemeral Cultural Heritage at the Gallen-Kallela Museum Finland
Authors: Samir Bhowmik, James Reilly, Lily Diaz and Agusti Pellicer, Aalto University
Ephemeral heritage collections are valuable to preserve by digitization, but not always deemed valuable enough for investments in digital infrastructure. Archival digitization infrastructure that traditionally has been located in the back office of museums, archives and cultural institutions has not necessarily been aimed at digitizing small-sized printed ephemera. Digitization devices, components and operations have been tied up with proprietary hardware, software and a plethora of formats. Thus, digitization infrastructure is often seen as an expensive undertaking with investments in multiple software licenses, a perpetual upgrading of digital infrastructure and training of personnel. Especially, digitization of ephemera requires not only similar infrastructure in place as for traditional archival heritage but also corresponding human resources and budgets to maintain and propagate ephemeral collections over a long period of time. This study presents an alternative approach to infrastructuring digitization in cultural heritage museums directed towards ephemeral heritage. The infrastructure we present here was customized and built from open-source hardware and software and sustained by community participation to digitize ephemeral heritage. It consists of an open-source robotic scanning system that can inexpensively fabricated and assembled without resorting to large-scale industrial machines, an open-source digital archive and collections management system to house the digitized ephemera and a versatile community participative system to gather and digitize heritage. Our infrastructure was tested and evaluated at the Gallen-Kallela Museum, a nationally significant art museum in Espoo, Finland dedicated to Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela.
Keywords: Digitization, archiving, ephemera, digital cultural heritage Continue reading DigGLAM Final Paper: Infrastructuring Digitization of Ephemeral Cultural Heritage at Gallen-Kallela Museum Finland