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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.

Subtags: Audio-visual data Textual data 3d data Participation Documents Preservation Institutions Works of Art Visualisation Collection Society Processing

Dec. 22, 2020
Nov. 3, 2020
July 21, 2020

Keywords: History of childhoodManuscriptsVisitor experienceDigital humanitiesCollectionsGLAMMuseumsChild diariesHybrid digital spacesDigitisationEthicsYouth culture

Copyright: © 2020 Lois Burke, Kathryn Simpson. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.