Digital and physical culture are intertwined

Digital and physical culture are intertwined – the British Library’s Living Knowledge vision explicitly recognises this:

 

‘The more screen-based our lives, it seems, the greater the perceived value of real human encounters and physical artefacts: activity in each realm feeds interest in the other. For libraries in general, and the British Library in particular, this means that far from there being a simple cost-saving ‘switch-out’ from physical estates to online services, increasing investment is certain to be needed in both realms: alongside our still-expanding physical collections and on-site services, the costs of storing, preserving and making accessible the nation’s rapidly growing digital collection will continue to increase.’

 

Examples of how digital technology can amplify the impact of physical cultural experiences include:

 

Livestreaming through the Living Knowledge Network:

 

Through the Living Knowledge Network the British Library has been working with public libraries around the UK to live screen events and high profile speakers from British Library in London to partners across the nation. Speakers who have been screened to date include Michael Morpurgo, Margaret Atwood, Will Self, and Carol Ann Duffy.

 

So far over 600 people have engaged in twelve live screenings. Audiences around the UK (and beyond) can ask questions via twitter and engage with the event in question and thus be part of a national conversation. This is a new and growing area of engagement which is currently funded by Arts Council England through their support for the Living Knowledge Network.

 

Digital and physical content working alongside each other:

 

A particular example is the Artists’ Lives project, in which the Library has collected 365 oral history interviews with contemporary artists since 1990. These are being exhibited in a large gallery in the Tate Britain until autumn 2017, with visitors able to engage with recordings via touchscreens while viewing artworks related to those oral histories. This is a strong example of technology enabling collections to be re-imagined as well as facilitating collaboration between cultural institutions.

Why the contribution is important

‘The more screen-based our lives, it seems, the greater the perceived value of real human encounters and physical artefacts: activity in each realm feeds interest in the other. For libraries in general, and the British Library in particular, this means that far from there being a simple cost-saving ‘switch-out’ from physical estates to online services, increasing investment is certain to be needed in both realms: alongside our still-expanding physical collections and on-site services, the costs of storing, preserving and making accessible the nation’s rapidly growing digital collection will continue to increase.’

Living Knowledge 2015-23

 

by BritishLibraryPublicPolicy on August 11, 2017 at 11:31AM

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