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Visual methods for desire and wonder in the digital heritage
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Media Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5962-1536
2023 (English)In: Feminist Review, ISSN 0141-7789, E-ISSN 1466-4380, Vol. 135, no 1, p. 162-180Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The digitalisation of cultural heritage creates expectations for improved research methods and more diverse and inclusive memory institutions. However, it is difficult to take advantage of the opportunities the quantification might give owing to deficient and inadequate metadata. The diversity of standards and wilfulness in different historical archive practices creates problems when aggregating data from various sources. The ambition to create more diverse and inclusive memory institutions, compensating for the historical lack of justice, also creates the risk of excluding important contexts from the digital collections. To develop research methods that take this archival wilfulness into account, in this study I have used speculative design to explore images from Europeana, the digital archive that aggregates data from memory institutions all over Europe. Instead of seeing this archive as something lacking in terms of shared standards and inclusive vocabularies, I suggest we see Europeana as a queer collection of wilful archival practices, by showing the desires and imaginations represented in the archival context. By contrasting the visual content of an image with the metadata that describes the image, the norms and desires in the archival practice come into focus, as the metadata points out what at the time was considered interesting about an image, and the reason the photograph was taken. Images described as ‘Swedes’, for example, rarely show pictures of Swedes in Sweden. Swedes are described as Swedes when they are outside Sweden. It is the exotic and foreign that are categorised. Most importantly, the person who controls the camera is not in the picture, but the choice of perspective and the metadata description of the image tell us something about the photographer’s and archivist’s will and desires. By visually reversing the perspective and making visible both norms and deviations, I show how one can approach this digital heritage with a methodology of feminist wonder.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2023. Vol. 135, no 1, p. 162-180
Keywords [en]
digital heritage, visual methods, feminist wonder, metadata, speculative design
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-52858DOI: 10.1177/01417789231201860OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-52858DiVA, id: diva2:1819234
Projects
The Politics of Metadata
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2019-2023Available from: 2023-12-13 Created: 2023-12-13 Last updated: 2023-12-13Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
  • sodertorns-hogskola-harvard.csl
  • sodertorns-hogskola-oxford.csl
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf