GLAMi nomination: Digital Share

nominated by: Greg Albers, The J. Paul Getty Trust, USA
institution: J. Paul Getty Trust
category: Professional Development (this was printed and folded into a program booklet for the last event!)

Digital work is increasingly spread across the institution. It’s not only people in digital departments, but also curators, educators, designers, conservators, librarians, archivists, and many others who are creating and maintaining databases, building websites, and posting on social. At the Getty close to two hundred people contribute to digital projects. But outside of project meetings, there had been no informal way to meet people from other projects and departments and to learn about each other’s work. The Digital Share is a grassroots staff event that focuses on community building across the increasingly common networked structure of digital work in GLAMs today. It’s a DIY on-site retreat and mini conference for staff to meet, learn from one another, and exchange ideas.

Attendance to the Share is open to anyone working on digital projects. For each our first two events (in the spring of 2016 and again in 2017), over a hundred people registered—not only to attend, but also to share. This translates to a full, high-energy day of lighting talks, tours, posters and handouts, hands-on demos, birds of a feather lunches, and small group discussions. Everyone is a participant in sharing with, and in learning from, one another. Shares have included:

  • Romano-Egyptian Mummy Portrait Database
  • Research on Scholars’ Use of Social Media
  • True Confessions of Professional Control Freaks & Other Project Management Tales
  • I Created a Website (And You Can, Too)
  • Creative Commons Licenses and How to Use Them
  • Computational Research Using Provenance Data
  • Just Putting It Out There: Sharing Legacy Data on GitHub

The Share covers a wide range of topics and projects that span the breadth of the institution. Pictured below is a portion of the Getty chart; the purple dots represent those who attended the first two Shares. Senior directors and managers attended right alongside assistants and graduate interns. While the chart is clustered and hierarchical, critically the Share is not.

Branching line diagram of Getty org chart, with several hundred gray circles representing staff members, and purple circles of share attendees scattered throughout.

This reflects the key principles of the Share:

  • The event belongs to everyone
  • Everyone’s voice is equal
  • Everyone has something to share

The event is also meant to be fun and free of the structure and formality that normally accompany project and department meetings and typical professional development opportunities. From the emoji stickers and meme slideshow that open the day, to the candy available throughout, and the reception afterward, the Share is a zany celebration of the work we do and of everyone’s contribution.

The Digital Share is professional development by everyone, for everyone. It’s digital transformation … one emoji sticker at a time.


The Digital Share happens once a year in the spring, and last fall we launched a new mini-Share. It’s hosted by Greg Albers (Getty Publications) and Scarlett Hu and Annelisa Stephan (Getty Digital) and is sponsored by Rich Fagen and Jack Ludden (Getty Digital) and Kara Kirk (Getty Publications).