Glam coming soon…..

Albert Racinets L’Ornement Polychrome. Netherlands National Archieve.

Coming from the educator sector I have limited expertise in the Glam sector however there is one thing I do know Digital Transformation is essential in the sector if you are to achieve higher levels of public engagement. The same is of educators. They have had to pivot their teaching practices and introduce educational technologies in classrooms. We live in a world heavily reliant on technology and many of the visitors to museums are now digital natives and if the Digital Humanities sector don’t acknowledge the need for digital transformation there will quickly become an issue with visitor numbers which will have major knock-on implications for the sector e.g. funding allocations.

Bailey-Ross et al. (2016) undertook a case study of an app called QRator app which aimed to increase feedback and interaction of museum visitors in the UK by using digital content creation. They asked visitors to engage with an app on an iPad and post replies where they felt they could add to the conversations. Results shows that 41% of visitors contributed to the app and left an additional response. Much more feedback that has been received through the traditional methods ie. comment box.  I believe we really have an amazing opportunity in Ireland to bring some museum experiences to life using digital technologies, despite Ireland lagging in the digital space. There is work going on behind the scenes trying to navigate the red tape around funding applications. Lets hope there are some positive outcomes.

With regards to funding (Tollenaar and Meihuizen, 2016) undertook some research for the Dutch National Design achieve. Dutch people are well known for their design from furniture Rieveld to Victor & Rolf so it is no surprise they took the same approach with their archiving. The had a master plan which involved both the GLAM and the design sector which led to heritage institutions working together to form one central digital archive and, in some instances, co-funding was received from companies to support this perhaps an option here in Ireland.

It is important to acknowledge however that Ireland at one point took a lead in this digital space. It was confirmed to Peter by Tim berners Lee (Flynn,2013) that it was the 9th website ever created. As early as 1997 Peter Flynn from University College Cork being the process of digitising Irish history, literature and politics. The website CELT was born. It is a huge repository of works but I believe it is aimed at the academic sector and would perhaps benefit from being reimagined for 21st century Ireland. All of which would take time and significant investment.

The delay in digitation provides opportunities to learn from counterparts internationally doing similar projects thus giving a chance to avoid some pitfalls eg. Naming conventions as Orla eluded too.  It presents new opportunities to look at these historic artifacts with a different lens and perhaps identify some more data from them rather than them sitting perhaps on a shelf somewhere. There is a danger digitisation will happen and the policy makers will see this as enough whereas for real impact digitalisation is essential and the meta data scaffolding the digitisation is an essential element to transformation.  

Yale centre for British art is another example of a large digitisation project undertaken in the GLAM sector over a decade ago. (Grindle, 2013) It comprises of two hundred sculptures, two thousand paintings 20,000 drawings and 30,000 prints including a collection of rare books, manuscripts, and photographs. What is interesting about this project is that most images can be downloaded under a creative commons licence. Licencing is a key consideration that needs to be thought about carefully and used where possible to allow sharing of these images to share the pieces with anyone who wishes to do so.

A commercial example of a digital exhibition experienceis Harry Potter studies in London this I believe is a model that the GLAM sector could use the experience for the end user had the correct mix of artefacts from the movies and then used digital to make the whole experience come to life. The use of projectors was phenomenal. Imagine thinking all those trips to museums you were dragged to as children. Perhaps they wouldn’t have been such an arduous task.

It is not enough to curate a database or catalogue our GLAM artefacts. They need to be carefully thought out (Maimon, 2014) carried out research on Ruff and his use of file types when saving his images as Jpegs to make them suitable for the web in 1987. By doing this Ruff make his photographs accessible. It is this kind of innovation that will make all difference when it comes to successfully creating digital artefacts.

Another example of innovation is the immersive Van Gogh exhibition. It reimagines the experience of the paintings by adding sound and movements using projectors and 3d immersion. It is described as a 360 Digital art experience. Creating a fully immersive experience. I believe it will open Van Gogh to a new audience. Its essentially adding the paintings on a digital canvas making the paintings come to life.  Let’s hope the value is seen in Ireland and funding will be allocated perhaps as the Dutch model a public private partnership funding model may make some similar innovations a reality in Ireland. 

In conclusion it’s important to remember It doesn’t have to be all bells and whistles technology, but it is essential that digitalisation piece is not forgotten and is planned for carefully. There’s no point having all this digital artefects, and no one can find it or share them.  The must be accessible. Perhaps a participatory publishing piece would be made available and we could all get involved.


Bailey-Ross, C., Gray, S., Ashby, J., Terras, M., Hudson-Smith, A. and Warwick, C., 2016. Engaging the museum space: Mobilizing visitor engagement with digital content creation. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, [online] p.fqw041. Available at: <> [Accessed 16 December 2021].

Culturespaces, 2021. Van go 3d exhibition Available at <https:/ (Links to an external site.)/ > [Accessed 16 December 2021].

Flynn, P., 2013. Onto the World-Wide Web | University College Cork. [online] University College Cork. Available at: <> [Accessed 16 December 2021].

Grindle, N., 2013. Worth the Wait. Oxford Art Journal, [online] 36(2), pp.314-316. Available at: <> [Accessed 16 December 2021].

Maimon, V., 2014. Precarious Marks: Thomas Ruff’s jpegs. Oxford Art Journal, [online] 37(2), pp.173-192. Available at: <> [Accessed 16 December 2021].

Tollenaar, A. and Meihuizen, J., 2016. No Future Without a Past: The Dutch National Design Archive (NDA). Journal of Design History, [online] 29(3), pp.287-295. Available at: <> [Accessed 16 December 2021].