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Museum informatics is an interdisciplinary field of study that refers to the theory and of informatics by museums. It is in essence a sub-field of cultural informatics at the intersection of culture, digital technology, and information science. In the context of the digital age facilitating growing commonalities across museums, libraries and archives, its place in academe has grown substantially and also has connections with digital humanities.
The earliest references to museum informatics in English are from Archives and Museum Informatics a newsletter and journal published on the subject from 1987–1996. In the early 1990s, museum informatics projects and services developed at numerous American universities. Cultural informatics was introduced into library and information science education in 2000 at the Pratt Institute School of Library and Information Science in New York. Graduate courses devoted to museum informatics were offered from at least 2001. PhD theses were using "museum informatics" in the title by 2004. By 2007, an academic reader, Museum Informatics: People, Information, and Technology in Museums, edited by Paul F. Marty and Katherine Burton Jones, was published as part of the Routledge Studies in Library and Information Science.
Museum informatics is an emerging field of academic study focused on the intersection between information technologies, museums and their staff members, and online museum data and services. The more general cultural informatics deals with, for example, information design and interaction, digital curation, cultural heritage description and access, social media, and the application of digital tools. Museums have embraced the application of museum informatics which has been supported by US federal grants and in particular by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The older term "museum studies" refers more to traditional curatorial perspectives rather than relating to the use of information science and information technology.
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