New technology, cultural policy requirements, budget cuts and shifting patterns of use are among the factors that have brought about major changes to the fields of libraries, archives and museums since the millennium. One example of these changes is the shift by LAM institutions from a collection-driven approach towards a more user-driven approach. While studies on the respective subfields have addressed various aspects of the changes, questions concerning the united field receive only limited attention from researchers.

The Nordic Journal of Cultural Policy wants to explore the changes, challenges and potential for collaboration within the joint LAM field by inviting researchers to contribute with research papers to a thematic issue to be published in the fall of 2019.

LAM institutions are redefining their mission while also presenting opportunities for convergence. Libraries, archives and museums – the so-called LAM-sector – are institutions that have emerged from different contexts and from different cultural policy objectives in the Western world. Each of these institutions have diverse tasks and challenges that differentiate them from the others. However, today we are witnessing similar developments within these institutions with regard to the challenges they face and the way they respond to those challenges. These similar developments and challenges can be seen as a convergence within the LAM-sector.

This is not the first time that there have been signs of convergence between LAM institutions. There was an increased focus on the possibilities for digital convergence and colocations between the LAM institutions in the beginning of the 2000’s. Many considered the digital convergence as a return to the early history where collections encompassed materials that are now considered as being unique to libraries, archives or museums. However, this movement lost pace around 2010. At that point, joint LAM councils in Germany, Norway and the UK closed, organizational initiatives dissolved, enthusiastic discussions about digital convergence abated, and many projects drowned due to professional disputes and silo thinking. Presently, there are only a few universities still offering unified LAM-programmes.

Currently, it appears that a new wave of convergence and collaboration may be underway between LAM institutions. This new wave is characterized by a shift in focus away from the collections and towards user participation and alternative dissemination practices. Many LAM institutions face budget cuts and have to reinvent themselves and their key concerns.

Conservation, collection development and dissemination of cultural heritage is changing. LAM institutions have more similarities than (ever) before as they adapt to a new digital climate and adjust to new and everchanging user needs. Convergence and collaboration in new and unexpected ways may help solve some of these complex challenges facing these institutions, such as those relating to increasing participation, supporting citizenship and fostering social inclusion.

In a cultural policy context, the study of LAM institutions is interesting and important since it is an area undergoing radical changes yet receiving only limited attention by researchers and scholars. With this thematic issue, we would like to address such changes and draw attention to the renewed focus on similarities and differences between the LAM institutions and ideas of collaboration and convergence between them.

Themes include but are not limited to:

Legitimacy and identity of LAM-institutions

Digital and physical convergence

Developments within collections and dissemination

Developments within cooperation between institutions

Partnerships and collaborations between LAM institutions

Changes in demands and expectations from users

Changes in demands and expectations from policymakers and financing bodies

International, national and local collaborations

LAM and the public sphere

Potentials for experience, learning, participation and inclusion in LAM institutions

The development of professional identities

Teaching and education in LAM


Send you abstract submission latest by 31st October 2018 to Nanna Kann-Rasmussen,


  • Abstracts due: 31st October 2018

  • Manuscripts due: 31st February 2019

  • Middle of September 2019: peer-reviewed and proofread final versions of manuscripts from authors to NKT editors at the Centre for Cultural Policy Research CUPORE

  • Publishing of thematic issue 2/2019: week 48/2019 (end of November 2019), latest


Isto Huvila

Professor Isto Huvila holds the chair in information studies at the Department of ALM (Archival Studies, Library and Information Science and Museums and Cultural Heritage Studies) at Uppsala University  and is adjunct professor (docent) in information management at Information Studies, Åbo Akademi University in Turku, Finland. His primary areas of research include information and knowledge management, information work, knowledge organization, documentation, and social and participatory information practices

Samuel Edquist

Senior lecturer in ALM (Archives, Libraries and Museums) studies. Associate professor in History, Uppsala University.

Jamie Johnston

Jamie Johnston is a Senior Lecturer at Lund University in the ALM Division of the Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences. She is also a member of the ALMPUB research group which explores issues related to ALM institutions, Digitalization, and the Public Sphere. Her research focuses on cultural institutions, primarily libraries, and their role in multicultural societies.

Hans Dam Christensen

Hans Dam Christensen is professor in cultural communication at the University of Copenhagen, Department of Information Studies. Currently, he is member of the research project Museum. A Culture of Copies funded by the Research Council of Norway and the project Our Museum, a Danish nation-wide research and development project with close collaboration between university partners and museum partners.

Nanna Kann-Rasmussen

Nanna Kann-Rasmussen is associate professor in Cultural Policy and Library Development at the University of Copenhagen, Department of Information Studies. She is Head of Centre for Cultural Policy Studies and editor of NTIK, the Nordic Journal of Information Science and Cultural mediation. Her research focuses on cultural institutions and their relation to society.