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Many-to-Many Socio-Cultural Communication as a Basis for Joint Activities in the Virtual Environment of the MLA Sector


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Miklošević, Željka and Vujić, Žarka. (2013). Many-to-Many Socio-Cultural Communication as a Basis for Joint Activities in the Virtual Environment of the MLA Sector. Čitalište : naučni časopis za teoriju i praksu bibliotekarstva(22). pp. 19-29. ISSN 2217-5563

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Safeguarding cultural memory of a community by taking care of the inherited artefacts and making them available to the public can be said to be the solid common point of reference of museums, libraries and archives, commonly known as the MLA sector. Although the historical development of each of these three types of institutions was marked by specifi c and differentiating characteristics in various respects, the past several decades have seen a more extensive collaboration between them, especially regarding documentation standards, digitization of heritage and collaboration on exhibition projects. The introduction of ICT has radically changed the way of thinking and working of these institutions, especially with the adoption of social media into their communication strategies with the audiences, who have grown increasingly independent and self-confi dent in digital environments. However, despite the various forms of participation tools offered by museums, libraries and archives to their online users (tagging, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and the like), the main characteristic of such communication strategies has in most cases been reduced to institutional communication. In other words these institutions have not used the social media and the tools that facilitate user-produced content to the full extent for creating stronger links between their online users and their heritage content (primarily those related to the digital or digitized collections). A form of heritage or, more broadly defi ned, cultural mediation by both professionals and users is envisaged in this paper to be performed through an MLA platform, based on the use of social media within the framework of constructivist theory of learning. The way that a virtual platform might produce favourable results in engaging users with heritage, while at the same time nurturing cooperative practices among different institutions within the MLA sector is through professional and user-created interpretations. The constructivist museum exhibition has been taken as an example of possible approach to users, while Kolb’s model of experiential learning has provided the theoretical background. According to the model, experiential learning entails concrete experience (encounter with heritage items from all three types of institutions carefully chosen and interpreted), refl ective observation (acquiring scientifi c information about the heritage items), abstract conceptualisation (acquiring cultural and social information about the heritage items through different contexts provided by various types of professional perspectives and digital models of knowledge presentation) and active experimentation (individual manipulation with the heritage items and placing them in new contexts shaped by participatory and conversational media). The goal of the platform facilitating many-tomany communication among institutions and their virtual users is to create conditions for greater individual contact between people and heritage, entice collaboration and collaborative learning and identity building. The platform can also be seen as an advantage for the work of the MLA sector in the future which will increasingly be populated with different form of heritage institutions and organisations, most likely commercially defi ned. In such a competitive environment, interpretational practices of harmonized and collaborative efforts of museums, library and archives might keep their longstanding reputation of legitimate, trustworthy and community oriented institutions. In addition, such collaboration can be taken as a positive step towards more participative and inclusive practices which support and promote cultural and social empowerment of the communities to which these institutions serve.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: heritage, many-to-many communication, social media, interpretation, MLA sector, Kolb’s model of experiential learning, constructivist exhibition
Subjects: Information sciences > Museology and heritage management
Departments: Department of Information Science
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2016 10:24
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2016 10:24

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