GLAM-WIKI 2015/Proposals/Accidental Canon and Other Lessons From Building Digital Libraries

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This is an accepted submission for GLAM-WIKI 2015.

Submission no. GW15.1036
Title of the submission
Accidental Canon and Other Lessons From Building Digital Libraries
Type of submission
Author of the submission
Asaf Bartov
Country of origin
Project Ben-Yehuda (a digital library)
E-mail address
Personal homepage or blog
Project Ben-Yehuda's Blog (Hebrew)
Twitter username
Facebook url
I built a digital library. It had unforeseen and far-reaching cultural and academic consequences. Not all of them good. Oh, and other digital collections do the same. And so does Wikipedia.
Detailed proposal
In 1999, I started typing public domain Hebrew poetry into my home computer. 16 years and hundreds of additional volunteers later, I am running the largest and most important public repository of secular Hebrew literature. In other words, I have become an accidental librarian! And that taught me fascinating lessons and made me realize some broad cultural implications.

For example, our volunteer actions have accidentally created a new canon of older Hebrew works; Some surprising re-use has already emerged; we have accidentally become perceived authorities on these works.

I will present and discuss these and other lessons from my own experience and draw some parallels (e.g. to the Internet Archive).
Discovery? Exposure? (not sure)
Length of presentation/talk
25 Minutes
Target audience
No experience required. Anyone deploying or interested in digital collections.
Expected outcomes
An appreciation for some largely-unavoidable effects of creating large digital collections; directions for patron education and academic collaboration.
Will you attend GLAM-WIKI 2015 if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
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