What opportunities do open data present for the Cultural Heritage Sector in Scotland, and what challenges do we face when preparing to open our own collections in this way?
The ‘open data revolution’ is fundamentally changing the way society can access, study and collate datasets from multiple sources. In doing so, it creates a wealth of opportunities to unlock new insights and spur new innovation in fields from art history to zoology. Various open data projects have been undertaken by a small group of pioneer institutions, and are already being extensively used in research, most notably in the field of digital humanities.
However, a truly open data culture goes far beyond this: providing open access to our digital collections will play a crucial role in fostering engagement across all audiences, giving visitors of the future the freedom to view, respond to and even remix data across institutions in new and interesting ways. This in turn will open new insights into our collections, creating new opportunities to engage for user and museum alike.
Yet this transition also poses challenges for organisations, not least in terms of preparing data for open access. This talk will address both the opportunities and challenges we face, and will discuss some of the lessons learned from my experience so far in working with digital collections.