Mutualizing Museum Knowledge: Folksonomies and the Changing Shape of Expertise


  • Susan Cairns


The networking of knowledge in the Internet age is calling into question the relationship between experts and non-experts in the development, preservation, and communication of knowledge. There is a growing movement towards knowledge co-creation and “mutualization.” These changes in the roles of expertise will have implications for museums as traditional gatekeepers of knowledge. This paper will explore social tagging as one tactic for broaching the divide between experts and non-experts in the online museum. Although tagging cannot mutualize museum knowledge itself, it can increase access to online collections, provide insight into users and their frameworks of perception, and begin to turn the online collection catalogue into a living historical document in its own right.