The Missing Link: Volunteers, Museums and Researchers in the Digital Age

By Joe Coleman and Alan Nankervis.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: January 2, 2015 $US5.00

This paper uses stakeholder theory to analyse the objectives, outcomes, and implications of an innovative project designed to contribute to the global Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) by facilitating access to scientific literature by both local and international researchers. The Australian contribution to the BHL has been coordinated by Museum Victoria (MV) and consists of a comprehensive literature digitisation project, including items from MV’s collection and other national institutions. All of the material that has been contributed is either in the public domain or is made available under a Creative Commons license. The project employed six volunteers who were selected for their qualifications and experience and involved them in learning new skills, exposure to rare and valuable items, and gaining insights into the scientific process. It was established in MV’s Online Collections Department, and was overseen by a staff member who was seconded to manage the digitisation process. It has processed 250 books and thousands of journal articles, with an overall quantum of more than 65,000 pages. It has been accessed by hundreds of researchers, and digital images have appeared in online image collections from Pintrest to Flickr. Its implications for museums are more “inclusive” projects involving multiple stakeholders, and team processes. This paper analyses the nature, roles, inputs, and outputs of a range of project stakeholders with a view to providing practical recommendations for the overall management of future museum programs.”

Keywords: Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), Digitisation, Inclusivity, Melbourne Museum, Museums Victoria, Stakeholder Management, Stakeholder Theory, Volunteers

The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 8, Issue 1, March 2015, pp.11-23. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: January 2, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 561.885KB)).

Joe Coleman

Digitisation Manager, Biodiversity Heritage Library Australia, Online Collections, Museum Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Prof. Alan Nankervis

Volunteer, Biodiversity Heritage Library Project, Museum Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


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