Accessing implicit knowledge of textiles and design – a smart, living archive for a heritage industry

Suzanne Elaine Martin, Dorothy Williams, Susan Craw

Research output: Other contribution

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Abstract

Traditional textile archives are physical collections where access often involves scrabbling in boxes. Digital archives not only enable more flexible, interactive and collaborative user engagements, but offer the capability to capture implicit knowledge of curated assets and how users interact with them, with potential to be introspective and self-adaptive.

A smart, living archive was developed as a proof of concept demonstrator. STAR (Scottish Textile Archive) contains items selected by stakeholders from our textile company partner to represent the culture and heritage of their business. STAR provides searching, browsing and ‘favouriting’ facilities using similarity-based recommendations. But STAR is also ‘smart’; it learns from usage, capturing implicit knowledge that dynamically refines recommendation.

A user evaluation identified important findings. STAR has not simply transformed physical assets to digital knowledge. Digital transformation affects working practices: interaction with STAR influences designers’ choices; engagement by users shapes the knowledge base of STAR; and combining implicit knowledge from stakeholders and users reflects priorities of the wider community. STAR transforms the culture and heritage of the textile industry into
suggestions, recommendations - even inspiration and innovation - for its users. But its users close the loop between curation and practice by refining the engagement with STAR.
Original languageEnglish
TypeAHRC funded research project in collaboration with Robert Gordon University and industry partner Johnstons of Elgin
Media of outputworkshops, design probes, demonstrator model of a smart, living database system
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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