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The ALM-Field, Digitalization and the Public Sphere

This project aims to investigate the impact of digitalisation on the role and function of archives, libraries and museums as public sphere institutions. Article 100 of the Norwegian Constitution defines a responsibility of state authorities to facilitate "open and enlightened public discourse". This so-called infrastructure requirement affirms the duty of the state to support the development of cultural institutions as a means of promoting freedom of expression. Historically, libraries, archives and museums (ALM) have been perceived as instrumental for the attainment of these objectives. Their
role as an infrastructure for open and enlightened public discourse is tied in particular to their near-to universal accessibility for the population as local cultural institutions.

More specifically, ALM institutions can be described as:

  1. Providers of knowledge and cultural expressions.
  2. Agents of popular enlightenment
  3. Local meeting places and arenas of participation in the public sphere.

This project aims at understanding how digitilization and globalization affect the role of the ALM-institutions as institutions underpinning the public sphere. The research will be organized around two research questions:

  1. How does digitalization change the roles of libraries, archives and museums as an infrastructure for open and enlightened public discourse?
  2. How can libraries, archives and museums enhance digital resources through user participation? In what ways may user contributions facilitate an open and enlightened public discourse?

The research questions relate directly to the primary objectives of the program and the call, e.g. promoting cultural citizenship and provide knowledge relevant for the responsibility of the state in relation to facilitating an open and enlightened discourse.

Read more at the project blog.

Norwegian version


Project period

Start: 01/10/2016

End: 30/09/2019


    Research Council of Norway

Project number