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Civic Digitization

The MuseumsLab ©Alena Schmick

The digitization of natural history collections can mean many things: open access, new taxonomies and forms of analysis, cooperation across disciplines and institutions, public engagement and much more. It also introduces new tensions surrounding old problems such as standardization and diversity, access and boundaries, work and leisure, governance and participation. This ongoing project explores the digitization process ethnographically by monitoring the decisions, materials, and responsibilities that shape the future of the collection. It pursues three objectives: a) to chart the process of translation between curation, information and data sciences and everyday practices of digitization; b) to conceptualize the emerging relations between digital nature and publics; and c) to draft prototypes of social engagement with and within digital nature and, more broadly, in the formation of open data infrastructures.