Organizing Knowledge in Museums: A Review of Concepts and Concerns
journal contributionposted on 2019-05-13, 15:06 authored by Hannah Turner
This paper critically analyzes and ties together contemporary perspectives in Information studies, science and technology studies, knowledge organization and Indigenous postcolonial theory (particularly concerning ontologies and knowledge organization) and defines the development of a field of thought for museum knowledge organization. It also proposes a selection of terms or ideas for the field of knowledge organization in museums and begins to historicize the development of the field. This paper calls attention to the practical and intellectual issues raised when other knowledges “meet” museums systems as well. The history of the study of museums within Foucauldian thought; the origins of contemporary ideas of the socio-technical; the utility of the metaphor of infrastructure; and the notion of technological affordance are all ideas that have been useful in understanding standardized systems in large institutional repositories, especially as museum collections continue to be digitized and circulated widely by communities. This paper plots the issues we as scholars and professionals should be attentive to when studying the organization of knowledge in museums by developing a theoretical standpoint that engages seriously with the ethics and politics of knowledge.