Dissolving the Boundaries: Knowledge Commons, Collections Access and the Digital Dividend
Collections, archives and libraries are at their core repositories of information albeit in different formats but as digital tools develop and mature the lines between them, for those that seek to use the information they hold, blur and professionally imposed boundaries seem irrelevant. As a museum professional I have been an advocate for increasing access to collections and delivered a number of projects with that aim. In 2016 I was asked to contribute to the development of the AHRC initiative ‘Creating a Knowledge Commons’ ably led by Professor Richard Clay. The premise was a simple one, knowledge like common land should be accessible to all but with that access comes a responsibility to nurture and maintain it. A concept that is perhaps best demonstrated through open mass participation platforms such as wikis. There have also been initiatives to encourage the development of museum – university partnerships one of the most recent funded through Arts Council England and delivered through the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement that have surfaced the challenges and opportunities of these cross sector partnerships. What are the lessons from these type of projects and are they transferable and relevant to the challenges and aspirations of those leading the research library space?