Title:Digitising Collections: The Redefining of Museums
Authors:Steven Smith
Publication:MW98: Museums and the Web 1998

This paper will explain how the explosion of Internet usage world wide will force museums to redefine and reposition their place in the cultural landscape, what that role is likely to be and how museums can prepare for their new role in the 21st century. The paper will contend that the nature of the Internet and its technology, the sheer number and range of users and their increasingly sophisticated expectations will mean that for museums to remain viable and relevant they will have to:

  • redefine their collecting, preservation, access and marketing policies and practices;
  • provide new services and products;
  • re-assess the role and functions of their curators and staff; and
  • forge collaborative ventures.

Smith will outline what he believes those policies, practices and roles might need to be and should encompass in order to meet the demands of the Internet consumer. Finally, he will suggest strategies that museums might adopt to help them undertake the task of redefining and repositioning themselves.