The CoSoPho team proudly presents the anthology Connect to Collect: Approaches to Collecting Social Digital Photography in Museums and Archives. 

Connect to Collect shares the results of the Nordic research project Collecting Social Photo (2017-2020), which has explored the collection of social digital photography in new and innovative ways. The anthology consist of 278 pages well illustrated with social digital photos. It can be downloaded from DiVA portal (a Swedish finding tool for research publications and student theses) 

Connect to Collect consist of four parts. The first part provides a conceptual framework for social digital photography in relation to the collection of visual cultural heritage.

In Chapter 1 Anna Dahlgren reviews current research in the field and frames the implications for collecting social digital photography, by raising questions around ethics, the roles of museums and archives as providers of long-term commitment and open sources, and as providers of context. 

In Chapter 2 Lisa Ehlin discusses the practices and expressions of images, primarily among younger generations. She discusses the very realness of online social life for digital natives, and how sharing has become a way to see and be seen. 

In Chapter 3, Paula Uimonen summarises survey results from the research project, framed in a discussion on social media photography and digital cultural heritage. The chapter outlines the holistic approach of the project and insights gained from its innovative efforts in collecting digital visual heritage.

The second part presents the 11 case studies carried out by the project team (Elisabeth Boogh, Kajsa Hartig, Bente Jensen, Anni Wallenius). The chapters in this part are categorised into three relevant themes to explore, based on the theory of social photography as well as the practices of the institutions. 

The themes are: places, practices and events. A central part of the case studies has been to examine the entire process of collecting, from idea and planning to collecting and acquisition, to identify critical points where new methods challenge existing work practices as well as opportunities where online collecting could benefit the museum or archive in a much broader sense than just developing photography collections.

The third part presents new collecting interfaces. Chapter 7 discusses the development of a new prototype web app for collecting social digital photography. The web app is open source and can be downloaded from GitHub and is discussed more thoroughly in the next blog post. 

Chapter 8 explores image recognition as a feature of collecting processes. Arran Rees writes about the experiments made in the project by running images collected in the case studies through three different image recognition services to explore their usefulness in regards to social digital photography collections. 

The fourth part concludes the anthology and presents a set recommendations and a toolkit for collecting designed to support museums and archives wishing to initiate collecting projects. 

The CoSoPho team wishes to express our thanks to each and everyone who has supported us in different ways throughout the research project. Most of all we would like to thank all the people who contributed and and participated in the case studies. Without you this project would not have happened.

The Collecting Social Photo project 

The Collecting Social Photo (CoSoPho) project was carried out between 2017 and 2020 by museums and archives in collaboration with academia. Four institutions from the Nordic countries were involved: Nordiska museet (Sweden), Stockholm County Museum (Stockholms läns museum, Sweden), The Finnish Museum of Photography (Finland) and Aalborg City Archives (Denmark). 

The institutions have collaborated in various ways in the past decades around issues concerning photography collections, thus bringing years of experience of photographic heritage collections into the project. The Department of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University, Sweden, has been a research partner, contributing with academic expertise on digital visuality, social media practices and visual cultural heritage, along with other researchers.

 In addition, to combine the expertise of practitioners and researchers, the project has benefited from Nordic cross-collaboration. The museum/archives sectors of these countries have many common features yet provide diversity in perspectives of collecting.

Project Team:

Kajsa Hartig, Project manager, Nordiska museet, Sweden
Elisabeth Boogh, Stockholm County Museum, Sweden
Bente Jensen, Aalborg City Archives, Denmark
Anni Wallenius, The Finnish Museum of Photography, Finland
Paula Uimonen, Department of Anthropology, Stockholm University, Sweden

The CoSoPho project was funded by two Swedish foundations, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ) and Vitterhetsakademien, in the funding initiative Samlingarna och Forskningen (Collections and Research) from 2017 to 2020. The project has been administered by Nordiska museet. A reference group of international academic experts has advised the project throughout its duration.