CSIRO report: libraries, museums lagging in digitisation

Australia’s gallery, library, archive and museum sector must innovate or risk becoming digital dinosaurs. That’s according to a new CSIRO report on cultural institutions.

Digital innovation is lagging in Australia’s cultural public sector such as libraries and museums, according to a new CSIRO report released today.

The report — An Innovation Study: Challenges and Opportunities for Australia’s Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums — found most organisations in the GLAM sector — galleries, libraries, archives and museums — had begun a process of digitising their vast collections of the nation’s cultural artefacts and records, but few had completed the process. The lack of substantive progress was, for the time being, robbing the public of access to these materials when they are not physically on display.

CSIRO’s acting director of digital productivity flagship, Dr Michael Bruenig, said in a statement that only few organisations in the sector have kept pace with newer technologies embraced by the public they serve. Although there were some notable examples of excellence and innovation in Australia where organisations have put digital services at their core, “rather than as an add-on activity”:

“For example, it is now possible to visit the National Museum virtually via a guided robot. This innovation means school students in regional Australia are able explore exhibits and engage with the museum, when they otherwise would not have the opportunity to.”

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