Tag Archives: digitalheritage

A guide to my heritage Twitter Lists, developed over the past decade.

Twitter tells me I joined up more than 13 years ago. As much of a cesspool that Twitter can be, I’ve always found a way to get better use of it by creating “lists” and I’ve been a more active user of the lists function than I have been in blasting out content to the world. According to Twitter, a list is “a curated group of accounts. Create one or subscribe to a list created by others to streamline your timeline.” I thought I’d share some of the lists I’ve built covering the the various cultural fields that you can subscribe to, or just find like-minded people to connect with.

Note that people on these lists have other interests besides the topic they are listed for, so there is a variety of content you will find in each. Social media has more noise than ever, so be prepared to skim for the good stuff. Once you get there, Twitter will have a function that allows you to follow any of these lists. When talking about tech or digital, you can engage with any of these topics using the hashtag #digitalheritage.

So here’s the list of lists …

Archaeology: This is one of the first lists I began to curate because so many archaeologists were trying out social media ahead of other cultural institutions back in the day. With more than members, it has about a post and hour. Notable tweeters there: Shawn Graham, Archaeology News Network. Sample tweet from the feed:

Archives: This 60-person list covers numerous aspects of archival practice, including digital preservation. Includes NY Public Library Labs and Paige Roberts as well as several folks I knew in Philly–Michelle DiMeo of Science History Institute and Matt Shoemaker from Temple U. Updates a couple of times an hour on average. Example of one of the tweets there:

Built Heritage: The list primarily covers historic preservation. With more than 80 members, it normally has new posts several times an hour. Notables include National Trust for Historic Preservation, Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and many local historic preservation organizations. Engage with the hashtag #builtheritage. Here’s an example of a tweet there:

Conservation:ย  With close to 40 members, these folks are good about tweeting what they are working on, whether it’s paper, architectural, etc., etc. A few of the members there are AIC/FAIC, Berta Blasi and AIC-Art Conservation. Sample tweet:

Digital Humanities: There are 128 very active tweeters comprising this list, covering a lot of the fields in this post. They are largely involved in digital projects. Notables include Digital Heritage Innovation Lab, Historical Cats, Tracy Jentzsch and Sarah Stierch. Sample Tweet:ย 

Folklife: My master’s is in folklore and oral history, so couldn’t let this be unrepresented. It only has about 16 members though, so let me now if you have any suggestions for folks who might fill it out. Tweeters: Kaitlyn Kinney, TellHistory, Dale Jarvis. Example of a tweet there:

Geneaology: A group of about 50 genealogists and researchers. These folks really tweet about this topic as a passion! Includes people like Lisa Louise Cook, Elyse Doerflinger and interment.net. Typical Tweet:

GLAM-Wiki: A list of people working in the GLAM-Wiki field, be they Wikipedians in residence, at any of the GLAM institutions, or just enthusiasts from the institutions themselves. Just a note, this is a very politically active group. Sample Tweet:

Heritage Influencers: Thought leaders in the heritage field who exemplify the spirit of new media. Some notables: Shawn Graham (probably half the tweets!), Nina Simon (naturally), Mar Dixon (naturally as well) and my old buddies, Past Horizons.

History: This list has 64 members and you’ll get a lot of straight history facts and “this day in” posts. Who you’ll see there include American History Association, HistoryHit podcast, and Chris Samuel. Frequent hashtags: #history #fineart #twitterstorians. Representative Tweet:

Museums: Museum Twitter accounts have traditionally been largely run by PR and marketing folks fulfilling an administrative agenda in a corporate voice. However, there’s innovation here and there and still useful and entertaining content to be found even from the traditional types. This list has about 160 members and features the MoMAs numerous house museums and Seb Chan. Hashtags to engage by: #tweetmuseums #musesocial and simply #museums combined with whatever word describes the type of museum you’re talking about. Very typical tweet:

Sites & Tourism: There are more than 60 people and organizations on this list dedicated to advancing the cultural heritage of specific sites. These are as likely to be advocacy organizations as superfan individuals dedicated to the protection and promotion of a place that holds special memories for them. Hashtags: #thisplacematters #WorldMonumentsWatch #FanPhotoFriday. Sample tweet:

Notable lists by others in the Twitterverse

Art Conservation 3.0 and Cultural Heritage Preservation by Dale Kronkright

Archaeology by Dr. Corilie Mills

Art Conservation by the good Mr. Richard McCoy

conservy/hist pres by the good Ms. Nancie Ravenel

Heritage/History people by Richard Salmon

Historytweeps by Nezka Pfiefer


Information Technology: The less-fun, crucially important foundation of digital heritage evolution

In 2017, I was faced with an interesting choice: the cultural site I had been serving as a digital strategy consultant was willing to make my contracted position a full-time one. The catch is that I would have to manage the IT function too. My specialty and focus has historically been audience engagement and not the nuts and bolts of what makes everything tick. Additionally, I would have to supervise the institution’s migration from a County managed services model to a total new, internally managed IT infrastructure.

I loved the site and thought it had great potential, but didn’t want to drift off course of a career I both enjoy and have mindfully charted for the past 20 years. It was during this time of internal struggle a chance meeting with a guy named Matt Tarr at a Museum Computer Network conference cleared my mind on the issue. In response to the dilemma, he told me “if you control IT, you’re set with the rest of what you want to do.”

My mind knew what he meant. Struggles with IT departments past really took the wind out of my sails when it came to interactive development. Still, it took a while for my heart to catch up. A while meaning two years of getting the right people and partnerships in place, and then going through the mindboggling process of establishing and then actually migrating every conceivable communications system — radio, telephone, network, internet, etc., while with no service downtimes.

A year past that harrowing event, I can tell you Matt was absolutely right. Having systems that we can control and scale have made a recent grant project funded by the Knight Foundation much easier than it would have been otherwise. Having wireless access for visitors for the first time has made developing bring-your-own device experiences that we all pretty much now have to offer much easier. We also have servers we can scale and policies we can tailor to our needs. Thanks to that process, remote work platforms were already in place before the pandemic hit.

Sure there are pain points. Cybersecurity issues loom large in an era when even Microsoft and Solarwinds are getting hacked. I worry about it everyday. But that’s a fair trade off for gaining a greater knowledge of what makes tech tick, and the boundless creative possibilities that then present themselves.