From cultural heritage to cultural heritage informatics: critically investigating institutions, processes and artefacts

Innocenti, Perla (2013) From cultural heritage to cultural heritage informatics: critically investigating institutions, processes and artefacts. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Background and rationale:
Collecting is a basic human activity, a cultural phenomenon establishing cultural values, defining authenticity and creating new identities for collected objects and collectors.
For more than a decade, I have studied cultural heritage collections from three key interwoven perspectives. These approaches are evident in the six publications selected for this submission:
• Architectural and organisational perspective: at the Vatican Gallery (Innocenti 2001a), Uffizi (Innocenti 2003a) and Biblioteca Laurenziana (Innocenti 2002a) I investigated institutional collector and key stakeholder strategies for designing collection space and displays. I then applied this analysis to‘knowledge architecture’ for industrial design artefacts and processes (Innocenti 2004c).

• Procedural and functional perspective: from Palladio drawings (Innocenti 2005a) to industrial design knowledge bases (Innocenti 2004a), I investigated how to digitize, archive, render and make accessible cultural heritage as an accurate iconic representation, interwoven with documentary and cultural contexts. The work further led me to study the authenticity of born-digital artworks (Innocenti 2012c).

• Artefact perspective: I explored how artists and institutional collectors address the preservation of artworks, from the Renaissance desks of the Biblioteca Laurenziana (Innocenti 2002a) to digital artworks (Innocenti 2012c), and the historical and theoretical implications of their choices.

In each of these areas, I contextualized the interrelations between cultural heritage discourse and the history of collecting cultural artefacts within given historical, social and cultural periods. My work began in Italy, where cultural heritage is deeply rooted and widespread, and moved on to encompass Europe and North America in tracing the evolution of cultural heritage collectors’ strategies.

I adopted an interdisciplinary approach, engaging perspectives, methods and theoretical frameworks from art history, art theory, museography, museology, library and information science, information technology, social anthropology and engineering. Starting from this multi-focal vantage point my research has resulted in contributions to knowledge, methods and theory.

These publications on one hand demonstrate the continuum of key issues in cultural heritage creation, preservation and access as manifested in the strategies of institutional collectors and artists. On the other hand, they highlight the new paradigms and transformations introduced by digital and communication technologies, the shaping of cultural heritage informatics to address these transformations and the theoretical and methodological implications underlying them. Through my scholarly research, I contributed to progressing the canonical historicisation of cultural heritage, museography and museology, and to exploring the new paradigms and transformations introduced by digital and communication technologies to the disruptive and exciting world of cultural heritage informatics.

The portfolio:
The portfolio is a selection from Perla Innocenti’s more than forty publications of research carried out since 2001 on cultural heritage and informatics with the Universitá degli Studi di Roma ‘La Sapienza’, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Istituto Nazionale di Archeologia e Storia dell’Arte in Rome, Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Fondazione Andrea Palladio, Politecnico di Milano and EU-funded projects SHAMAN and MeLa.
Six scientific publications are presented: two journal articles, a scholarly treatise, a published conference paper, key chapters from a monograph and one book chapter from an edited volume.
The works have two key themes relevant to the critical analysis and understanding of heritage institutions’ evolution up to the digital age. The themes illustrate the contribution each publication has made to the literature and explain the relationship between the works submitted, including developments which have occurred between one piece and another.

Theme I: Evolution of museography, museology and heritage studies
Three publications are presented under this theme, each of these presenting the critical analysis of cultural heritage institutions and their artefacts within the historical evolution of museums and libraries. Publication I presents the critical analysis of the museographic principles applied by Luca Beltrami to the design of the Vatican Gallery, investigated and contextualised within its museographical and cultural history (Innocenti 2001a). Publication II presents the critical analysis and findings of the museological and museographical principles applied by Corrado Ricci to the Uffizi Gallery in the 19th Century, compared with the contemporary principles in the Uffizi applied by the former Superintendent and Italian Ministry Antonio Paolucci (Innocenti 2003a). Publication III presents the analysis and original findings of Michelangelo’s ergonomic design of the Biblioteca Laurenziana fittings, within the historical evolution of libraries (Innocenti 2002a).

Theme II: Creating, managing, disseminating and preserving digital cultural heritage
The publications presented in this theme relate to methodologies and processes characterising diverse typologies of analogue and digital cultural heritage and the emerging field of cultural informatics. Publication IV presents the novel methodological approach defined and applied within a relevant digitization project of Andrea Palladio manuscripts and maps (Innocenti 2005a). Publication V presents the outcomes of my investigation defining and implementing an online knowledge-based system supporting research and teaching of industrial design, which is formally considered part of Italian cultural heritage (Innocenti 2004a). Publication VI discusses the repositioning of traditional conservation concepts of historicity, authenticity and versioning in relation to born-digital artworks, based on findings from my research on preservation of computer-based artefacts by public collectors (Innocenti 2012a).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Dr Richards had a tutor role for this PhD by published work.
Keywords: cultural heritage, cultural heritage informatics, interdisciplinarity, art history, art theory, museography, museology, museum studies, library and information science, information technology, social anthropology, engineering, museums, Vatican Gallery, Uffizi, libraries, Laurentian Library, digital imaging, Palladio, knowledgebases, industrial design, information systems, digital art, computer-based art, authenticity
Subjects: A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z719 Libraries (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
Supervisor's Name: John, Dr. Richards
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Ms Perla Innocenti
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4658
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author for the critical essay and with reproduction and distribution restrictions from the publishers
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2014 07:24
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2024 10:06
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.4658

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