GLAM Data Science Network fellow travellers

Series: GLAM Data Science Network


  • 2021-02-04 Thanks to Gene for suggesting ADHO and a better attribution for the opening quote (see comments below for details)

See comments & webmentions for details.

β€œIf you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” β€” African proverb, probably popularised in English by Kenyan church leader Rev. Samuel Kobia (original)

This quote is a popular one in the Carpentries community, and I interpret it in this context to mean that a group of people working together is more sustainable than individuals pursuing the same goal independently. That’s something that speaks to me, and that I want to make sure is reflected in nurturing this new community for data science in galleries, archives, libraries & museums (GLAM). To succeed, this work needs to be complementary and collaborative, rather than competitive, so I want to acknowledge a range of other networks & organisations whose activities complement this.

The rest of this article is an unavoidably incomplete list of other relevant organisations whose efforts should be acknowledged and potentially built on. And it should go without saying, but just in case: if the work I’m planning fits right into an existing initiative, then I’m happy to direct my resources there rather than duplicate effort.

Inspirations & collaborators

Groups with similar goals or undertaking similar activities, but focused on a different sector, geographic area or topic. I think we should make as much use of and contribution to these existing communities as possible since there will be significant overlap.


Probably the closest existing community to what I want to build, but primarily based in the US, so timezones (and physical distance for in-person events) make it difficult to participate fully. This is a well-established community though, with regular events including an annual conference so there’s a lot to learn here.


Similar to code4lib but an Australian focus, so the timezone problem is even bigger!


Focused on supporting the people experimenting with and developing the infrastructure to enable scholars to access GLAM materials in new ways. In some ways, a GLAM data science network would be complementary to their work, by providing people not directly involved with building GLAM Labs with the skills to make best use of GLAM Labs infrastructure.

UK Government data science community

Another existing community with very similar intentions, but focused on UK Government sector. Clearly the British Library and a few national & regional museums & archives fall into this, but much of the rest of the GLAM sector does not.

Artifical Intelligence for Libraries, Archives & Museums (AI4LAM)

A multinational collaboration between several large libraries, archives and museums with a specific focus on the Artificial Intelligence (AI) subset of data science

UK Reproducibility Network

A network of researchers, primarily in HEIs, with an interest in improving the transparency and reliability of academic research. Mostly science-focused but with some overlap of goals around ethical and robust use of data.

Museums Computer Group

I’m less familiar with this than the others, but it seems to have a wider focus on technology generally, within the slightly narrower scope of museums specifically. Again, a lot of potential for collaboration.


Several organisations and looser groups exist specifically to develop and deliver training that will be relevant to members of this network. The network also presents an opportunity for those who have done a workshop with one of these and want to know what the β€œnext steps” are to continue their data science journey.


These misson-driven organisations have goals that align well with what I imagine for the GLAM DSN, but operate at a more strategic level. They work by providing expert guidance and policy advice, lobbying and supporting specific projects with funding and/or effort. In particular, the SSI runs a fellowship programme which is currently providing a small amount of funding to this project.

Professional bodies

These organisations exist to promote the interests of professionals in particular fields, including supporting professional development. I hope they will provide communication channels to their various members at the least, and may be interested in supporting more directly, depending on their mission and goals.


As I mentioned at the top of the page, this list cannot possibly be complete. This is a growing area and I’m not the only or first person to have this idea. If you can think of anything glaring that I’ve missed and you think should be on this list, leave a comment or tweet/toot at me!


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