Frequently Asked Questions

General questions

What is the "3-road strategy on the documentation and digital publication of collections from colonial contexts in Germany"?

The "3-road strategy" is an important step for the concretisation and practical implementation of the field of action "Transparency and Documentation" of the "Framework Principles". The "3-road strategy" provides for three equivalent approaches launched simultaneously on documenting and digitally publishing the relevant collections, which – in line with the "Framework Principles" – will help reach the long-term goal of the "greatest possible degree of transparency".  In addition to establishing a central access to collections from colonial contexts which have already been published digitally (Road  1), the strategy  includes basic digitisation and digital publication of of still unpublished collections from colonial contexts in a central data repository (e.g. the DDB) according to unified standards (Road 2), as well as the digitisation and digital publication of collections from colonial contexts based on standards devised in collaboration with countries and societies of origin as well as the diaspora in Germany (Road 3).

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What is the pilot phase of the "3road strategy"?

The "3-road strategy" is currently being tried out  in a pilot phase with selected institutions including scientific collections. The data from these institutions will be made available to the DDB and published in the portal. Parallel to this, uniform standards for the digitisation and digital publication of still unpublished collections  will be developed together with the pilot institutions.

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How does the guideline of the German Museums Association (Deutscher Museumsbund) define "collections from colonial contexts"?

The guidelines define cases of colonial contexts, which represent neither a hierarchisation nor categories of collection items, but serve only as an initial indication and as guidance in provenance research. 

  • Case 1: Collections from formal colonial rule contexts. 1a: The collection item is from an area that was under formal colonial rule at the time of collection or manufacture, acquisition or export of the item. 1b: The collection item was used in an area under formal colonial rule. This use was related to colonial rule, colonial commerce or colonial life.
  • Case 2: The collection item comes from an area that was not under formal colonial rule at the time of collection, manufacture, acquisition or export of the item, but in which there were informal colonial structures or which  was under the informal influence of colonial powers.
  • Case 3: The object reflects colonial thinking or conveys stereotypes based on colonial racism.
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Will all collection holdings of the 25 pilot institutions be findable in this portal? And when will more institutions be added?

Initially, data and information on collections from colonial contexts that have already been published digitally from the 25 pilot institutions will be brought together and searchable in the DDB portal. The pilot institutions are responsible for the selection of the collection items available in the portal as well as the descriptive content. At the start of the portal, the depth of indexing varies considerably, as there are no uniform indexing standards yet. The portal will be continuously updated and expanded to include relevant collection holdings.  In a subsequent step, relevant data that is already included in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek will be designated as "collections from colonial context", making this data likewise retrievable via the portal in future. Other institutions that are not part of the pilot group are invited to contribute to the portal in the future.

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Can information on the so-called Benin bronzes also be found in this portal?

The DDB portal "Collections from Colonial Contexts" ("Sammlungsgut aus kolonialen Kontexten") already contains information and data on the Benin bronzes held by the pilot institutions. The portal is continuously being expanded and further data added. A database of Benin bronzes held by museums and collections in Germany can also be found on the website of the German Contact Point for Collection Items from Colonial Contexts.

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