Dr R.B. Boast (1956) has been appointed professor of Cultural Information Sciences at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Amsterdam (UVA).
For over thirty years, the history, practice, theory and production of information in cultural institutions has played a central role in the academic work of Robin Boast. Boast has conducted his research in the field of cultural information sciences in the United States, India, Australia, the United Kingdom and Europe. He has focused on different topics, ranging from the first digital collection projects in museums and universities in the seventies to the more recent emergence of the Web and social computing. For the past twenty years, he has also taught Cultural Information Science and Museology at the University of Cambridge.
Boast’s research builds on the programmes of cultural institutions with respect to appropriation, naming and dissemination of information. By uncovering digital history , he simultaneously reveals how misconceptions about digital resources and culture are formed. In recent research, Boast has focused on local knowledge and emerging systems in incomparable expert communities (indigenous versus academic). In addition, he has focused on the study and development of open source, social and distributive systems, which have increasingly enabled knowledge workers to be involved in the process of interpretation in cultural institutions.
As part of ongoing projects in the United States and Australia (see links below), Boast is seeking to create strategies and systems of information governance which will enable indigenous communities to restore control over their cultural heritage, as well as restoring intellectual property and usage rights. In other research with colleagues from the department of Information Sciences of the University of Trento (Italy), Boast is developing 'interpretative liquid environments’ in galleries and public spaces. These environments provide visitors with unique access to reinterpret and share exhibited objects through the use of mobile devices.