A sustainable approach to threatened digital cultural heritage

Gambell, Sarah Elizabeth (2022) A sustainable approach to threatened digital cultural heritage. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Endorsed by UNESCO as an effective and timely way to facilitate action against illicit trafficking of cultural property, widespread digitisation of inventories and artefacts mitigates loss of movable heritage and can facilitate expedited restitution of displaced items in the future. However, the frameworks for undertaking expedited, pre-emptive digitisation are outdated. This research therefore aims to develop a new methodology for “responsive digitisation”, via a systematic re-evaluation of digitisation strategies for at-risk materials. It will explore how such comprehensive digitisation practices can be situated for analytical evaluation, in line with the strategic values of collections use, access, and reuse in the heritage sector. This research explores the role of digitisation praxis for the preservation of contested cultural heritage under threat, where there is an immediate need for pre-emptive digitisation to mitigate the displacement of inventories and collections. It undertakes a gap analysis of relevant policy documents in the heritage sector, and thereby proposes a new framework and methodology for employing a strategy for digitisation of cultural heritage in under threat, prioritising methods that have the scope for long-term sustainability. It identifies four key challenges that a theory of responsive digitisation should address: 1. A lack of formal digital preservation planning in existing policy documents, 2. A lack of standardised procedures for digitisation, 3. A lack of emphasis on undertaking digitisation methods with digital sustainability integrated from the planning stage, and 4. Missing methods for disseminating digital information to parties situated in conflict. In doing so, it provides a framework for cultural heritage under threat, focusing on long-term digital sustainability, informed by wider disciplinary narratives concerning preservation, destruction, information control and the role of museums in the future. Further, it develops a theoretical framework for undertaking pre-emptive and rigorous digitisation of heritage with regards to conflict and preservation, which will emphasise long-term digital sustainability.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Information Studies
Supervisor's Name: Gooding, Dr. Paul, Yates, Dr. Donna and Hughes, Prof. Lorna
Date of Award: 2022
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2022-83273
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2022 11:38
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2022 12:31
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83273
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/83273

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