Image adapted from Tim Sherratt’s project Open With Exceptions (2016). Used with permission.
In recent decades cultural and collecting institutions have digitised their collections en masse. These digital collections are vast, diverse and dispersed, challenging traditional modes of management, access and engagement; but they also constitute an immense cultural resource. As well as supporting traditional uses in research and scholarship, digital collections are fostering an emerging body of creative practice. Through the work of artists, designers, data visualisers, heritage hackers and digital humanists, digital collections are being remade. This practice enlivens digital collections online through interface design and visualisation, revealing new connections and meanings; it also enriches the collections themselves, adding new layers of metadata and modes of approaching cultural artefacts. Software bots and agents drop digital artefacts into the everyday digital environment of our social media streams, seeding serendipitous encounters between past and present. Open digital collections and computational tools enable makers to work at vast scales; and to either collaborate with collection holders, or work independently, offering unsolicited interventions that bypass institutional contexts altogether. As digital collections reach web scale — tens of millions of items — experimental digital practices play a vital role in understanding their content and potential, as both scholarly and cultural resources.
This special collection of articles will address emerging creative practices around digital collections. It aims to document current practice and theory through diverse case studies and articulate multidisciplinary understandings of the art, design, computing, heritage and humanities practices that come together here. This practice brings a growing computational toolset to bear on mining, interpreting, annotating and transforming digital archives; how do we grasp this interplay of data, code, collections and emerging cultural forms?
Potential topic areas include:
- Experimental and speculative approaches to digital cultural collections
- Generative and computational methods
- Data visualisation for collections
- Unsolicited interfaces and collection reskins
- Large-scale creative reuse and adaptation
- Challenges and rewards of scale – approaches to web scale collections
- Innovation in collecting institutions – labs and collaborative models
- Content mining and classification for creative outcomes
- Tangible and site-specific approaches to collections
- Place-based and localised digital heritage
- Audience engagement and impact – the life of remade collections
- Connecting collections: mashups, concordances and linked data
- Authorship and agency – manual and algorithmic processes in collections practice
- Political, critical and anti-narratives
- Playful and poetic realisations
- Design and research methodologies for remaking collections
- Digital repercussions in the exhibition space
Research articles should be approximately 5-8000 words in length, including references and a short bibliography. Submissions should comprise of:
- Abstract (500 words)
- Full-length article (5-8000 words)
- Author information (short biographical statement of 200 words)
Authors intending to submit should email a 500 word abstract by 15th May 2017 to Prof. Mitchell Whitelaw (firstname.lastname@example.org). The deadline for full paper submission is 1st October 2017. The special collection, edited by Prof. Mitchell Whitelaw (Australian National University), Dr Geoff Hinchcliffe (Australian National University), Prof. Tim Sherratt (University of Canberra) and Prof. Dr. Marian Dörk (University of Applied Sciences Potsdam), is to be published in the Open Library of Humanities (OLH) (ISSN 2056-6700).
Submissions should be made online at: https://submit.openlibhums.org/ in accordance with the author guidelines and clearly marking the entry as [“REMAKING COLLECTIONS,” SPECIAL COLLECTION]. Submissions will then undergo a double-blind peer-review process. Authors will be notified of the outcome as soon as reports are received.
The OLH is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded open-access journal with a strong emphasis on quality peer review and a prestigious academic steering board. Unlike some open-access publications, the OLH has no author-facing charges and is instead financially supported by an international consortium of libraries.
To learn more about the Open Library of Humanities please visit: https://www.openlibhums.org/.