Published June 11, 2021 | Version (Accepted with minor revisions)
Journal article Open

Integrating citizen experiences in cultural heritage archives: requirements, state of the art, and challenges

  • 1. The Open University
  • 2. University of Bologna
  • 3. University of Turin
  • 4. Complutense University of Madrid
  • 5. Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)
  • 6. The University of Haifa
  • 7. CNR ISPC - Institute of Heritage Science


Digital archives of memory institutions are typically concerned with the cataloguing of artefacts of artistic, historical, and cultural value. Recently, new forms of citizen participation in cultural heritage have emerged, producing a wealth of material spanning from visitors’ experiential feedback on exhibitions and cultural artefacts, to digitally mediated interactions like the ones happening on social media platforms. Citizen curation is proposed in the context of the European project SPICE - Social Participation, Cohesion, and Inclusion through Cultural Engagement - as a methodology for producing, collecting, interpreting, and archiving people’s responses to cultural objects, with the aim of favouring the emergence of multiple, sometimes conflicting viewpoints, and motivating users and memory institutions to reflect upon them.
We argue that citizen curation urges to rethink the nature of computational infrastructures supporting data management of memory institutions, bringing novel challenges that include issues of distribution, authoritativeness, interdependence, privacy, and rights management. To approach these issues, we survey relevant literature towards a distributed, Linked Data infrastructure, with a focus on identifying the roles and requirements involved in such an infrastructure. We show how existing research can contribute significantly in facing the challenges raised by citizen curation, and discuss challenges and opportunities from the socio-technical standpoint.



Additional details


SPICE – Social cohesion, Participation, and Inclusion through Cultural Engagement 870811
European Commission
Polifonia – Polifonia: a digital harmoniser for musical heritage knowledge 101004746
European Commission