We also need to look at more integrated and sustainable models for exchanging data between cultural institutions and the Wikimedia platforms, and we believe that Wikidata may provide this opportunity. Wikidata is becoming a nearly universal platform for connecting data shared by institutions about their collections. It makes practical something the cultural heritage sector has been discussing and experimenting with for years — the idea of an interconnected web of “linked open data” that bridges the concepts, vocabularies, and languages that institutions use to describe their holdings. We see this work with Wikidata as the next threshold for our collaboration: a way to unite The Met collection with related artworks from museums and institutions across the world. A critical part of that work will be establishing an automated and scalable means by which data from cultural institutions can be seamlessly ingested by Wikidata, and synchronized to the Commons on an ongoing basis, removing the need for time-intensive, manual data upload and update processes.
This is where my doctoral research project with the Sussex Humanities Lab comes to life, in between institutions, communities, curators and hands-on critical making practices. For the next few years, I’ll be taking a deep look at whether these spaces for making actually are transformative for emergent communities — or whether they merely maintain existing status quos, where those already comfortable in the museum get more comfortable by making new things with it. The first year of a PhD in the UK is largely focused on theory-gathering and consolidating concepts for your doctoral project into something that starts to look vaguely like a proposal for fieldwork and ethics reviews — and now those of us in our second year will have the chance to put all those high-falutin’ critical thoughts to the test.