Submissions/Open Authority: A New Way to Talk to GLAMs

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2014.

Submission no. 2027
Title of the submission
Open Authority: A New Way to Talk to GLAMs
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
Lori Byrd Phillips
E-mail address
Country of origin
United States
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis and the GLAM-Wiki US Consortium
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

Since the GLAM-Wiki initiative organized in 2010, great strides have been made in strengthening the relationship between Wikimedians and the cultural sector. In spite of this progress, being "open" in regards to access and community collaboration is still far from the norm in most GLAM institutions. When pursuing a partnership, it is increasingly important to be able to speak the language of the cultural sector, and understand the nuances of their needs and concerns. Within the cultural sector, developments in the realm of online access have dovetailed with the concept of co-creation, leading collaborative online communities and the open source movement to inspire a reexamination of authority within the museums, libraries, and archives.

"Open authority" is a term I established to describe the future of the cultural sector—the coming together of GLAM expertise with the insights and contributions of diverse audiences, both online and on-site. The open GLAM sees the visitor as a collaborator and active contributor in creating and interpreting content, and the curator as an engaged, expert facilitator. The Wikimedia community serves as inspiration for this model of open authority, which depends on dialogue from participants of all levels of expertise in order to create a more complete representation of a topic. The theory of open authority illustrates that an institution's traditional authority need not be swept away in the name of "crowdsourcing," but is instead even more valued. Authority can and should be combined with an open model of collaboration with the community, be they Wikipedians, a cultural group, or local visitors. Open authority will make the interpretation of our cultural heritage better, together. Wikipedia is one important facet of this broader paradigm shift.

In this presentation I will share tips for initiating and sustaining a partnership with a cultural organization within the context of the cultural sector's current notions of openness in regard to digital access and community co-creation. Understanding the elements of open authority is a useful step toward speaking the language of GLAMs, and more effectively reaching our goal to bridge the gap between Wikimedia and the cultural sector.

GLAM Outreach
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)

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