Discuss Whether and How Digitalization of Collections Affect Museums

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This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

A museum is a non-profitable institution that conserves and exhibits artifact of human heritage. It helps offering information about the past to the public. In the recent years, the number of people attending museums has decreased significantly due to the fast evolving technology. Since people use the internet to acquire information, museums risk being irrelevant. As a result, the institutions have to develop strategies to draw people in and maintain a worthwhile connection with them. Therefore, most museums are considering digitization since digitizing collection materials will affect how museums run and experienced by the public.

A digital museum may take various forms such as the brochure museums that provide an informative website about the archive to the internet user. On the other hand, it can take the form of content museums, which are catalogues of the collections present. Lastly, a digital museum can be digital in that it offers a wide range of online content to a consumer. In the Victorian era, archives were used in numerous research disciplines. 1At that time, higher institutions incorporated meticulous academic studies leading the museums to shifting their aim to uphold their significance. As a result, the archives became memorials of the tradition instead of a new insight to historical questions. Digitalization of museums has helped them bring real dialogue about significant historical issues.

Digitalization of artifacts in museums is considered since it enhances the publics experience with a collection. 1Moreover, according to Komarac, it enhances and expands the way in which museum collection can be used to accomplish the objectives of the archives. For instance, the primary purpose of museums is to preserve cultural heritage that will facilitate the learning and research process. Consequently, Komarac states that digital collections in museums play a significant role in improving the efficiency, as well as, the effectiveness of archives through registration and administrative procedures. On the other hand, digitalization of artifacts has some downsides. 1For instance, Komarac indicates that digitization is expensive. Considering the cost of purchasing, maintenance, software and hardware updating and other essential part of technology makes the process more expensive as compared to the traditional storage of artifacts.

Digital conservation of museums is important and quite beneficial in a museum since collections live forever in the digital world. Moreover, digitalized collections are not confined in a specific location but are rather virtually distributed. An internet user can access the information while using a computer. Besides that, a consumer can access digital collections at any time unlike in the traditional museums that had opening and closing hours. Furthermore, several consumers can use similar digital resources and hence does not limit the number of users. As compared to the traditional archives, digital process of conserving and protecting collections provide rich content that are structurally arranged to a consumer. 2Additionally, digitalization solves the issue of space affecting traditional museums since the artifacts require little physical space to contain them. However, the conservation and protection of digitalized museum collection may not be effective since some mishaps may lead to loss of information and hence cultural heritage. In addition to that, digitization violates the copyright law since a person, without the acknowledgment of the original author, can transfer content. Therefore, digitalized collections lack protection from copyright. In most cases, the digitalized museums will need to use various websites for promotion purposes, crowd sourcing and crowd funding to engage a substantial number of viewers. As a result, this tends to increase the risks that internet users will upload content, which breaches copyright and other legal laws. Therefore, archives need to set up general terms and conditions to prevent any litigious content in the web. Lastly, the digital conservation of collections may quickly be outdated and the information contained may be inaccessible.

References

Komarac, Tanja. "A New World for Museum Marketing? Facing the Old Dilemmas While Challenging New Market Opportunities." Trziste / Market 26, no. 2 (July 2014): 199-214. Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed October 16, 2016)

Mitchell, Erik T. "Why Digital Data Collections Are Important." Journal Of Web Librarianship 6, no. 3 (July 2012): 213-216. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts, EBSCOhost (accessed October 16, 2016).

Pallas, John, and Anastasios A. Economides. "Evaluation of art museums' web sites worldwide." Information Services & Use 28, no. 1 (January 2008): 45-57. Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed October 16, 2016).

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