The Santa Barbara Statement on Collections as Data • Always Already Computational – Collections as Data

  1. “Collections as data development is a work in progress. Work in progress status can be seen as a virtue. Iteration implies productive friction across a range of perspectives geared toward encouraging computational use of collections, development of internal and external collaborations, and alignment between traditional and emerging services.
  2. Collections as data development aims to encourage computational use of digitized and born digital collections. By conceiving of, packaging, and making collections available as data, cultural heritage institutions work to expand the set of possible opportunities for engaging collections.

  3. Ethical commitments guide collections as data development. Ethical commitments are made in light of historic and contemporary inequities represented in collection scope, description, and access. Commitments should be documented and readily accessible to those engaging with collections. Commitments should serve to respect the rights and needs of the communities who create collections as well as the communities that use those collections.

  4. Collections as data stewards aim to lower barriers to use. A range of accessible instructional materials and documentation should be developed to support collections as data use. These materials should be scoped to varying levels of technical expertise. Materials should also be scoped to a range of disciplinary, professional, creative, artistic, and educational contexts.

  5. The needs of specific communities inform collections as data development. Concrete strategies should be pursued to engage community need. Multiple approaches to data development and access are encouraged.

  6. Shared collections as data documentation helps others find a path to doing the work. In order for a range of individuals and institutions to engage collections as data work it must be possible to access documentation that demonstrates how the work is done. Documentation should be publicly accessible by default. Draft documentation is better than no documentation. Examples of documentation include workflows and code.

  7. Whenever possible, collections as data should be made openly accessible. Terms of use should align with efforts like Creative Commons,, and Traditional Knowledge licenses where appropriate.

  8. Collections as data development works toward interoperability. Working toward interoperability entails alignment with emerging and/or established community standards and infrastructure. Working toward interoperability eases integration with centralized as well as distributed infrastructure. Interoperability facilitates collections as data discovery, access, and use.

  9. Collections as data stewards work to support the integrity of collections. Claims based on collections as data depend on their integrity. Integrity is safeguarded by fault-tolerant systems and data provenance. Provenance reflects how data were created, and modified as well as the scope, and intended use of the data.

  10. Collections as data may encompass or be derived from collections. Data as well as the data that describe those data are considered within scope ( e.g. images, audio, video – as well as – metadata, finding aids, catalogs). Data resulting from the analysis of those data are also included.”