CIS-A2K/Research/Mapping GLAM Institutions in Maharashtra

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The digital turn has been an important development for the cultural heritage sector in India, especially in the last decade, where access to internet and multimedia technologies has led to several advancements in the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) space, including creative and cultural industries, while also encouraging a multiplicity of uses of cultural content in academic and creative contexts. Efforts in digitisation and collection emerging in this context include state initiatives like the National Audio-Visual Cultural Archive (NCAA) and the National Museum, archival efforts at universities such as Jadavpur University, Ambedkar University and individual and collaborative initiatives such as Indian Memory Project, PARI and Apart from developments in preservation, curation and sharing of content (like open source content management systems, and tools like web annotation and storytelling) there remain continued anxieties related to access, infrastructure and linguistic barriers in this sector. IPR, open access and privacy issues have also emerged as important concerns for cultural institutions looking to open up their collections to a wider public.

Collaboration with open knowledge production spaces like Wikimedia and OpenGLAM then offer important insights into possibilities now available with the digital turn for better public access to cultural content, but also in terms of the development of collaborative and archival efforts. Efforts such as GLAM-Wiki have been crucial in bridging the gap between cultural institutions and efforts in the free knowledge movement. There is still however lack of documentation and research on the various kinds of existing collections and archival efforts afoot in India, and how they may benefit from better through platforms like Wikimedia. This project will aim to map such GLAM institutions and review their collections, challenges and limitations with the aim of exploring possibilities for better collaboration between cultural and public memory institutions and GLAM-Wiki initiatives.

Research Question[edit]

How has the digital transition in the GLAM sector in India impacted the process of creation and access to cultural content; what are possible collaborations with open knowledge efforts like GLAM-Wiki.


Mapping of GLAM institutions in Pune district of Maharashtra, including high-level details of their offline and digitised collections, technical infrastructure and human capacities. Case study of one institution, to understand in detail the nature of collections, digitisation efforts and limitations with public access, and potential for long term GLAM collaborations. The project would also aim to produce a set of recommendations towards such collaborations.


The mapping of GLAM institutions would be undertaken through questionnaires/surveys with GLAM institutions working in Pune district of Maharashtra state. The institutions will be identified through existing networks established by the community advocates working in this area and snowball sampling. The questionnaires will focus on the nature, objective and scope of the collections, funding, provenance, offline and online workflows (including acquiring, preservation, accessioning, digitisation and metadata standards), human resources, infrastructure, IPR policies and public outreach efforts. The questionnaires will be administered with the help of the community advocates and volunteers working in this language community. The mapping will also help identify two institutions where in-depth case studies would be undertaken, which will eventually help produce a set of recommendations for possible GLAM-Wiki collaborations in the Indian context. This would be done through field visits to these institutions, review of the material and interviews with key resource persons (practitioners, faculty and students, archivists, librarians, developers etc.) who manage the collections of cultural content.

Research Outputs[edit]

A comprehensive survey of GLAM institutions in Pune district of Maharashtra state, and details of their collections and digitisation efforts. Case studies of one institution and recommendations towards potential GLAM-Wiki collaborations, especially with sister projects such as WikiCommons, Wikisource and Wikidata.


  • October: Draft concept note to be shared on mailing lists for feedback; selection and orientation of volunteers
  • November – February: Surveys to be conducted in Pune district of Maharashtra state
  • March first week: Review of work and compilation /translation workshop in Pune
  • March – April: Drafting of report based on surveys


Till January 2020[edit]

Till June 2020[edit]

Field visits were conducted to seven GLAM institutions to collect data about their collections and interview the authorities on free knowledge access and digitisation issues as part of this project. Total 15 visits were made to these institutions. After February 2020, the volunteers had planned to visit institutions at least twice to collect some documents, photos and share the documentation on Wikimedia with the authorities, as it is important to build a rapport with the organisations to foster further research and other content related collaborations. However, due to the ongoing restrictions as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, a number of these visits had to be cancelled. With the available content from the interviews and notes by the volunteers, the report has been drafted and shared with the team for feedback. This will further be shared with people interviewed as well. After incorporating the suggestions, the report will be ready for publication.

Till December 2020[edit]

The report was published on Meta Research on 23 October 2020. The blog on CIS website was also published. The study was published in GLAM Newsletter for October 2020. The links of this report were shared with the community on Marathi Wikipedia village pump, Wikimedia mailing list, Wikimedia India mailing list and Open-GLAM mailing list. The Marathi translation of the report is also made available on Wikimedia Commons.