Is digitalization the only driver of convergence? Theorizing relations between libraries, archives, and museums

Casper Hvenegaard Rasmussen (Department of Information Studies, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Publication date: 26 September 2019



The purpose of this paper is to theorize and discuss potential factors for convergence between libraries, archives and museums (LAMs).


This is a conceptual paper that criticizes existing research on the convergence between the LAMs for a lack of theoretical reflection and a sacralization of technology. Therefore, concepts such as convergent evolution, isomorphism, social fields and autonomy are used to analyze other potential factors for convergence.


The paper demonstrates that digitalization is not the only potential driver of convergence between the LAMs. Indeed, other changes in institutions’ environments, such as societal changes, shifts in cultural policy and increasingly common practices among cultural institutions can represent important drivers.

Research limitations/implications

Given that this paper is primarily based on theoretical reflections, future research should empirically investigate the non-digital factors suggested for convergence.


The paper represents an attempt to detect a “blind spot” in existing research on convergences between the LAM institutions and to identify some potential paths for future research to follow.



Rasmussen, C. (2019), "Is digitalization the only driver of convergence? Theorizing relations between libraries, archives, and museums", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 75 No. 6, pp. 1258-1273.

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