“Open a GLAM Lab” now in Serbian

On 26 May 2023, the National Library of Serbia hosted the book launch of the Serbian translation of the Open a GLAM Lab book published by the library’s press.

I am sharing here my little speech delivered on this occasion. And as always, I am expressing my deep gratitude to everyone who contributed to the book – the authors, Booksprint, and all translators, editors and publishers of its now four translations around the globe.

I am thrilled to welcome the Serbian translation of the book Open a GLAM Lab to the growing family which now includes the English original, the Arabic, Bulgarian, Russian and Spanish translations with a Greek one also on the way. 
Since along Sally Chambers I was one of the people who worked on this very unconventional book, I find that this continuing interest in it, three and a half years after it was published, is a phenomenon in its own right. 
Why this is a phenomenon? 
The book is contributing to the important topic of digital transformation, an area in which many of our Serbian colleagues are interested in. Serbia also hosts a very useful international conference in this area where Mr Andrija Sagić plays a leading role. 
We all know that everything digital changes so quickly – every six months there is some new gadget, infrastructure or even an ecosystem. Today we are dominated by two such big developments – the Common European data space for cultural heritage and the Collaborative Cloud for Cultural Heritage.
While the cultural heritage cloud is an infrastructure seeking to enable “unprecedented transdisciplinary and large-scale collaboration between specialists” and “provide cutting-edge technologies for digitising artefacts, researching artworks, and documenting data”, the data space is an ecosystem which will enable trusted partners to build a new layer of intelligent solutions which will bring new value in use cases which are still being explored. The data space is about combining different digital resources offering new value to the users. 
But after getting ‘spaced out’ in the data space, let’s come back to our book and its usefulness. 
Where is the digital transformation, you may ask? After all, we do not have “digital transformation” in the title. But it is in the spirit of innovation which is not just for the sake of experimenting with something cool. It is about the innovation which GLAM institutions are introducing to meet better the demands and expectations of their users. Understanding the users and the value of new digital services is at the core of data spaces. I think this is what makes our book so relevant even a couple of years after it had been written.
This area of work, what the users want, seems an easy territory but in the domain of the Humanities scholars, teachers and students it is still quite an uncharted one because scholars have endless research questions and the way they need to prepare their digital materials to answer these questions are also endless. 
We can maybe dream about the future when we will have the ‘Cultural GPT’ which will be able to answer all sorts of research queries based on distributed digital collections. We are not anywhere near this. 
But until then we can continue digitising, continue getting insights about our users, and continue innovating with our content. I hope that the book in Serbian will be an inspiration for our colleagues and will help them to join the current new developments in the data space very smoothly! 

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