The use of digital image collections and social media amongst Australian historical societies

Courtney Ruge, Tom Denison

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    Introduction. We report the findings of a research investigating the use of social media in conjunction with digital image collections, by Australian cultural institutions, with a focus on the results relating to historical societies. The theory of technology affordances was applied to better understand Australian cultural institutions’ use of social media in relation to digital image collections. Method. Data collection was conducted in two phases: seventy Websites maintained by mainstream institutions and community archives were examined and their features mapped; and interviews were conducted with staff and volunteers with responsibility for social media in a range of cultural institutions. Analysis. Qualitative analysis was carried out on the results of the interviews and the data then analysed to identify a series of affordances in relation to the cultural institutions’ use of social media. Results. The project identified nine affordances associated with the stated aims and use of social media, and issues that impact on the realisation of those affordances. Conclusion. The findings from the Australian historical societies are highlighted, demonstrating that there is little consistency in their attitudes towards digital image collections and use of social media, and that many struggle to realise the potential benefits associated with utilising these platforms.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number778
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalInformation Research
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

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