ASIS&T 24-hour global: Evaluation of Inequalities of Access in UK Online Digital Collections

On Tuesday, April 26 and Wednesday, April 27, 2022, the ASIS&T 24-Hour Global Conference took place. Themed “Networking, Sharing, and Learning: Challenges and Opportunities”, it provided a platform for discussions of the means by which people network, share, learn, and innovate in online spaces. 

Dr Bruce Ryan and Dr David Brazier presented outcomes from a systematic literature review, collaborating with Dr Paul Gooding, conducted between May and July 2021. The title of the presentation was: “Evaluation of Inequalities of Access in UK Online Digital Collections: A Systematic Review”.

Shortened Abstract

The paper presents the results of a systematic literature review into how UK Cultural Heritage Institutions (CHIs) deal with issues of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). In recent years, researchers have addressed the fragmented nature of Cultural Heritage impact evaluation, leading to the generation of impact evaluation models that attempt to standardise assessment across the entire digital resource lifecycle. However, the Covid-19 pandemic saw an almost overnight shift to digital delivery of collections and services, and outreach and engagement activities.

The systematic review investigated 6 concepts across Web of Science, ProQuest, SpringerLink and Scopus, thus largely excluding grey literature and reports from private CHIs. An initial pool of 86,608 articles was identified. Several filtering steps reduced this to a final pool of literature (n=60).

Analysis indicates that there is a significant gap in academic research on the topic of inequalities of access in relation to the digitalisation of online collections in CHI. While there were some articles discussing CHI’s where lessons are there to support future digitalisation efforts or evaluation of access and impact (n=18). There were only a select number of articles in a UK context (n=14), that discuss lessons to support digital technology or digitalisation efforts (n=4), impact (n=7), or online access (n=6). There was only one article which discussed all criteria (n=1). While this work had a UK focus, several non-UK based articles present lessons to support efforts (n=4), discuss impact (n=1) or online access (n=1). It is also worth noting that very few articles from the initial pool were also articles that cited the evaluation frameworks, indicating distinctive communities within academia.

Our findings suggest that EDI is, at most, implicitly addressed in the literature on CHI impact evaluation. Furthermore, the relative lack of impact evaluation case studies in the scholarly literature suggests greater transparency is required in reporting on the impact and value of digital collections.

Zenodo Repository for ASIS&T 24-Global Conference

Edinburgh Napier University Repository

Presentation Slides – Evaluation of Inequalities of Access in UK Online Digital Collections: A Systematic Review

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