What Does Openness Mean To The Museum Community?

Title: What Does Openness Mean To The Museum Community?

Authors: Kelly, B., Ellis, M. and Gardler, R.,

Conference:  Museums and the Web 2008 Conference


Kelly, B., Ellis, M. and Gardler, R., 2008. What Does Openness Mean To The Museum Community? InMuseums and the Web 2008 Conference, 9-11 April 2008, Montreal, Canada.

Author Details

The co-authors of this paper are:

  • Brian Kelly, UKOLN, University of Bath, UK. ORCID: 0000-0001-5875-8744
  • Mike Ellis, Eduserv, UK.
  • Ross Gardler, University of Oxford, UK.

You can view Brian Kelly’s Google+ page. His email address is currently b.kelly@ukoln.ac.uk


In the provision of networked services for museums the term ‘openness’ frequently crops up in a variety of contexts including open standards and open source software. In addition the Web 2.0 environment has led to increased interest in open content and in use of freely available networked applications which may be regarded as open services. This focus on openness for the developer or service provider can be complemented with a culture of openness which encourages the user to actively engage with services and generate their own content. It can be difficult to argue against the benefits which openness seeks to provide. But will a commitment to openness guarantee the deployment of effective and sustainable services? This paper explores in more detail the potential benefits of openness, but also acknowledges associated limitations. The authors argue that a more sophisticated approach is needed which seeks to make use of open standards, open source and open content if these can help to deliver sustainable services, but is prepared to take a more flexible approach if the perceived difficulties are felt to outweigh possible benefits.


  • University of Bath repository: [About] – [PDF]
  • Publisher’s copy: [Paper]
  • ResearchGate: [About] – [PDF]


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