Stage 8
10:00 - 10:30
Open Access for an Open Society: GLAM Insights


Digital technologies and the Internet give museums fantastic opportunities to engage and empower audiences through open access to digital collections. So who is leading the way and what approaches are they using? Reflecting on his current work at Europeana, and fresh from co-leading a global survey of open access in the GLAM (Gallery, Library, Archive, Museum) sector, Douglas will share insights into the key trends and challenges in this space.


“How can the digital era inspire museums to rethink their status as hubs of knowledge exchange, democratic dialogue, and genuine social experiences in an open society?” Merete Sanderhoff, Statens Museum for Kunst

This question encapsulates the opportunities and challenges faced by museums today. In line with their everyday digital lives, people expect deeper and more personal forms of interaction with museums and their collections; participation, not passivity. For cultural heritage organisations, enabling open access to digitised public domain works should be seen as an important driver of democratisation and greater societal relevance. Embracing this vision requires cultural institutions to remodel themselves from knowledge arbiters to welcoming facilitators; new attitudes, policies and practices are needed.

What is the big picture of open access in the GLAM sector today? Where is innovation happening and who is driving it? What challenges does open access pose to museums and how might these be overcome? This session will aim to answer these questions and provide a broad perspective on the field. It will draw on keynote speaker Douglas McCarthy’s experiences working internationally in museums, archives, art collections – and now Europeana – for the past twenty years. It will also include fresh insights from the global survey of Open GLAM policy and practice that Douglas co-leads with Dr. Andrea Wallace, Lecturer of Law at the University of Exeter.