The Value of Community Co-production in Visualization

Access to works of art, archaeological sites and discoveries, whether in a digital or in a physical form, are too easy today. Admission fees to many museums and archaeological sites are extremely low or even free in some. As for the digital copies (e.g. 3D representations), access is free after a simple internet connection which is enough to “open the doors” to some of the most famous exhibits of the world. Such easy accessibility has interested many people, experts or not, as to how it can work for the benefit of objects themselves. At this point, another reflection arises. What if, rather than being mere passive spectators, some people have a more active role, such as that of a re-creator or a preserver? It sounds a little bit tricky, right?

Initially, it is important to highlight that this may relate only to digital copies, not natural once, therefore in this case specialists would be needed (e.g. restorers). Generally, in the digital world things are simpler. Anyone can create a digital copy of any object, as was discussed in the previous post. Software, online manuals and explanatory videos are available on the internet, offering guidance for beginners and the advanced. So why do all those interested people care about something doing wrong in collaboration with other stakeholders or experts and provide the results for the community? The cooperation of specialists with ordinary people to transform the physical form of domain cultural artifacts into the digital one is a unique opportunity for everyone to come closer to them and to feel the “aura” that they exude. Not just to observe them behind glass halls but also to have a meaningful contact with them; to have the ability to transform them into another format, digital, and give them a new impetus. Through this process benefits, not only us as individuals but also the community as a whole. Of course, the guidance of specialists and compliance therewith by everyone has to be taken for granted and indispensable.

So, such democratization of the digital reproduction of domain cultural heritage has a significant impact on society. The involvement of citizens in such participatory projects can “build a bridge” between the past and the present that, up to now, has eluded us the tactics that followed have not been accomplished. The contact of people with the items, during the digitization process, will have a major impact on the way they perceive their general relationship with the past; the glass wall between them will break. ┬áIt is important for people to know their past and to come into contact with it, not to keep their distance as if it is something that does not concern them anymore. Their active participation in the digital reproduction may regenerate the past, give it a new lease of life and turn it into eternity. All this might have a positive impact on new digital objects to be created, as we will know the process is required. Still, it will be worth the effort, since the reward will be increased familiarity between people and their past. What today is a major challenge for the world of digital humanities, namely the development of a relationship between digital objects with the public, might eventually be done through such universal participation of people.



Jeffrey, St., Challenging Heritage Visualisation: Beauty, Aura and Democratisation,, Web, Accessed on 28/10/2016

Reilly, P., Additive Archaeology: An Alternative Framework for Recontextualising Archaeological Entities,, Web, Accessed on 28/10/2016

Sinclair, M., Should Museums Be Recreating the Past,, Web, Accessed on 28/10/2016


1 thought on “The Value of Community Co-production in Visualization”

  1. Thank you, Sonia, for your comment!
    As for the “easy” access to museums or archaeological sites in the first paragraph, I just want to point out that accessibility is easy to both physical and digital objects. I agree with the low admission fees and compare it with the without fees access to digital objects.

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