Metadata Culture is the overarching name for this research group. We are looking at different “metadata cultures” from an interdisciplinary perspective, focusing on the visual heritage. Methodologically we are also developing our sharing processes aiming for a more inclusive research culture inspired by participatory design practices.

The design and use of metadata are always culturally and ideologically inflicted. Accordingly, the practice and policy of tagging images in cultural heritage institutions are not only fundamental for our understanding of the past but vital in navigating the present. Especially when it comes to big data and data-driven research, we have to pay particular attention to the consequences of the interfaces that curate our common history. We are living in a metadata culture, where tagging data has become an important literacy. Metadata and the archiving practices that produce it are increasingly important for cultural heritage institutions, and for contemporary culture at large, as a mean to navigate the rapidly growing volume of data situating them historically, socially and, not least, locally.

Crowdsourcing, social media platforms for community engagement, linked open data, and other participatory and open science practices, create new challenges to for archiving institutions due to the character of the networked publics involved and the established structures between and within institutions, but also new opportunities and practices when it comes to understanding and defining our shared culture.

All photographs on this site: Thomas William Smillie