GLAM (industry sector)

GLAM is an acronym for "galleries, libraries, archives, and museums",[1][2] and refers to cultural institutions that have access to knowledge as their mission.

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.[3][4][5] GLAMR is another variant which includes "records".[6] 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.[7] 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[8] and the National Digital Forum in New Zealand[9].

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.[10]

As collecting institutions, GLAMs preserve and make accessible primary sources valuable for researchers.


  1. ^ Australian Society of Archivists, Australian Society of Archivists Annual Conference - GLAM, 17–20 September 2003, Hilton, Adelaide.[1]
  2. ^ "GLAM - CC Wiki". Creative Commons. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  3. ^ BibSI. "On the LAM: Library, Archive, and Museum Collections in the Creation and Maintenance of Knowledge Communities | BibSI". Archived from the original on 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  4. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". 2008-12-22. Archived from the original on May 1, 2009. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  5. ^ LAM DNA August 4, 2005 by Jim (2005-08-04). "Blog Archive » LAM DNA". Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  6. ^ "2017 Conference - Australian Society of Archivists". Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  7. ^ Information Retrieval & Library Automation. Lomond Systems. 1997.
  8. ^ "GLAM Peak — Digital Access to Collections". Retrieved 10 Jun 2019.
  9. ^ "National Digital Forum". Retrieved 10 Jun 2019.
  10. ^ Marcum, Deanna (2014-01-01). "Archives, Libraries, Museums: Coming Back Together?". Information & Culture: A Journal of History. 49 (1): 74–89. doi:10.1353/lac.2014.0001. ISSN 2166-3033.

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