ALM in the public sphere: How do archivists, librarians and museum professionals conceive the respective roles of their institutions in the public sphere?
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAudunson RA, Hobohm H, Tóth M. ALM in the public sphere: How do archivists, librarians and museum professionals conceive the respective roles of their institutions in the public sphere? . Information research. 2019;24(4)
Background. There is an increased focus on libraries, archives and museums as meeting places and public sphere institutions as well as on digitization of the institutions’ services We term these trends the social and technological turn. How do professionals in the three fields adapt to these trends? Method. A questionnaire was distributed to librarians in public libraries, archivists and professionals in museums in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany and Hungary aiming at measuring the attitude to the legitimacy of the institutions and the role of non-traditional services in that respect, the degree to which the institutions in which they work have developed services related to the social and technological turn. Findings. All three institutions have adapted to the social turn with physical meetings as an important part of their service portfolio. Lending of e-books is an important part of the service portfolio in all countries except Hungary. Apart from that, digital services in libraries tend to be offered to their users in the physical premises of the library, e.g. computer classes. In the museum field there are larger national variation as to the development of digital services. Digital exhibitions are rare in all countries. Services related to the traditional roles of the institutions are regarded to be more important as legitimations of libraries, archives and museums than services rooted in the social and digital turn. Conclusions. In spite of the preoccupation with libraries, archives and museums as meeting places, experience centers, public debate, makerspaces etc., traditional roles related to the preserving and promoting the cultural heritage and promoting learning is still regarded as the most important legitimations by professionals in the three fields.