GLAM (industry sector)
Various versions of the acronym exist, such as LAM, which leaves out galleries, which may be seen as a subset of museums, and may be confused with commercial galleries where art is bought and sold. GLAMR is another variant which includes "records". More generally, GLAMs are institutions in the public interest, collecting cultural heritage materials.
The term LAM has been in use at least since the 1990s. It emerged as these institutions saw their missions overlapping, creating the need for a wider industry sector grouping. This became apparent as they placed their collections online—artworks, books, documents, and artifacts all effectively becoming "information resources." The work to get GLAM sector collections online is supported by GLAM Peak in Australia and the National Digital Forum in New Zealand.
Proponents of greater collaboration argue that the present convergence is actually a return to traditional unity. These institutions share epistemological links dating from the "Museum" of Alexandria and continuing through the cabinets of curiosities gathered in early modern Europe. Over time as collections expanded, they became more specialized and their housing was separated according to the form of information and kinds of users. Furthermore, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries distinct professional societies and educational programs developed for each kind of institution.
As collecting institutions, GLAMs preserve and make accessible primary sources valuable for researchers.
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