Analogous Analogues: Digital Twins and Hardware Tracking in GLAM Collections


Dian Ross, Edmond Cretu, Victoria Lemieux

Date of Publication


Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAMs) are host to cultural treasures and historic records but face inherent challenges maintaining accessibility and traceability in their legacy collections. Rolling COVID-19 lockdowns over the past three years (2020-2023) have limited access to primary materials while user expectation of digital access to collections has grown. With renewed digital access, however, comes new challenges in authentication and provenance tracking: collection digitization and monitoring of cultural artefacts introduces new lines of work for institutions already constrained by budgets and staffing. Building upon our previous exploration of this topic, “NFTs: Tulip Mania or Digital Renaissance?”, we present a design solution for tracking and monitoring GLAM collection objects via a hardware controller with Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) that interfaces with a trusted and flexible digital twin ledger architecture, selected from our analysis of database and private ledger technologies. We conclude by outlining the physical threat model for this design: future work will expand this model to include digital (cyber) threats to GLAM collection objects and investigate credentialed queries.

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First Nations land acknowledegement

We acknowledge that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm.

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