Speaker: Ethan Watrall on Openness in Digital Heritage

March 30, 2016
10:00 am–11:00 am
Alderman Library, Room 421

Practicing Openness in Digital Heritage
Encouraged by exciting advances in digital technology, the issue of openness has swept into almost every corner of the scholarly world.  Research, publication, teaching, public engagement, and even the very fabric of scholarly ethics have all been touched by this discussion.  The domain of heritage is hardly immune from the debate.  Disciplines such as History, Archaeology, Heritage Management, Museum Studies, and Anthropology along with heritage institutions such as libraries, archives, and museums are all wrestling with how openness within a digital space impacts their core identity and professional practice.
If one thing has emerged from this discussion, it is that there is no universal set of practices that can be homogeneously applied to all fields, disciplines, and types of institutions that address the challenge of openness.  Each domain demands an approach that is clearly and thoughtfully tailored to its unique professional circumstances.
It is within this context that this talk will parse the idea of openness, exploring the issue both broadly and within the unique context of digital heritage.  In order to maximize its value to scholars, professional practitioners, and institutions, the talk will also suggest a series of thoughtful strategies that can be leveraged in order to better embrace a more open approach to work within digital heritage.

Ethan WatrallAn anthropological archaeologist who has worked in North America and the Near East, Ethan Watrall is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Associate Director of MATRIX: The Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences at Michigan State University. In addition, Ethan is Director of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative and the Cultural Heritage Informatics Fieldschool at Michigan State University.  Currently, Ethan is Co-PI of the NEH funded ARCS: Archaeological Resource Cataloguing System project, Director of the NEH funded Institute for Digital Archaeological Method and Practice project, and Co-PI of the NEH funded Archive of Malian Photography project. Ethan’s interests primarily fall in the domain of publicly engaged digital heritage and archaeology. Ethan is co-editor of Archaeology 2.0: New Tools for Communication and Collaboration, an open access volume published by the UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press.

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