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Research Article

Neither Literature nor Object: Children’s Writings in the Digital Public Realm

Lois Burke    University of Edinburgh, UK    

Kathryn Simpson    University of Glasgow, UK    



The interpretation of children’s writings has often presented a particular challenge to Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM), as the represented child has historically been deprived of agency, and children’s writings are neither ‘literature’ nor traditional display objects. In this article we will explore the methodologies of representation that are associated with the merging of children’s history and digital humanities. We will lay out an approach for digitally representing children’s writings held in museums. We will demonstrate the possibilities that have been put forward by librarians, archivists and curators internationally, and explore the tools and approaches that have emerged from the field of digital humanities for re-presenting the agency of the child creator and the child visitor within memory institutions. Moreover, in this article we will propose that the digital environment facilitates a critical site of experimentation in displaying children’s collections that allow creator, object, context, critique, and visitor to be equally valued.

Keywords: Museums. GLAM. Digital humanities. Ethics. Digitisation. History of childhood. Child diaries. Youth culture. Visitor experience. Manuscripts. Collections. Hybrid digital spaces.

Language: en

Submitted: July 21, 2020   Accepted: Nov. 3, 2020   Published: Dec. 22, 2020  

permalink: http://doi.org/10.30687/mag/2724-3923/2020/02/005

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License