This year’s CIDOC conference seeks commonalities between museum documentation and technology. To do this we have selected three themes:

Technology has moved from being a challenge for a museum, to being an enabler, to becoming an integral part of museum experience. Emerging technologies allow and compel us to adopt new ways of working, but we do so within the frame of traditional planning methods like strategies and roadmaps. How can we best exploit both of these and reap the benefits of their symbiosis?

Planning and implementing strategies

Strategic planning enables a museum to work towards the same goals and makes progress easier to track. Every museum has strategic goals, but can these be achieved if it only relies on chance funding and episodic projects, or is a written long-term strategy mandatory? In order to achieve your digital goals you also need effective workflows, new skills and capacities.

How to create and implement a digital strategy for a museum? Do we need to define a green strategy for our museum or can we embed eco-friendly thinking into our work without lofty statements?

One of the strategic topics much discussed at CIDOC conferences is long-term digital preservation, but solutions are still very much in progress and under development. Issues around digital preservation of metadata or born-digital objects remain relevant for years to come.

The volume of museum data has grown beyond human processing capacity and new solutions are required, looking at machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). Long-term preservation of physical objects is also affected by technology and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The future of documentation

CIDOC has always advocated for the use of standards and these will be discussed at this conference, too. Documentation as an activity is changing – new approaches like crowdsourcing or story-telling as examples of event-based documentation are becoming more relevant. With vast amounts of data online, connecting intangible heritage with tangible requires re-evaluation of our methods of documentation.

A wonderland of digital technology

Technology presents various opportunities but also raises obstacles. It requires balancing traditions and innovation, and it requires capacity to make right decisions and to realise them. What are the creative and innovative means to support documentation? Should documentation be done only by humans or should we start thinking about automation of documentation with AI in some segments of this work? What potential does artificial intelligence (AI) hold for our community? Especially now, with large volumes of data accrued in museums, we need to find smart and ethical ways to benefit from it, and probably redesign some of our well-used ways of working.

In addtition to the three original themes, the war in Europe has conditioned us to add another topic of Digital cultural heritage in a crisis 

The preservation of our digital cultural heritage is a formidable task that memory institutions have naturally taken upon themselves. The start of war in Ukraine has led many to think about how to mitigate the risks of corruption or loss of data, and how to recover our digitally recorded past if the worst has happened. It is vital that we discuss the related issues and solutions, and learn from each others’ experience.