Open a Glam Lab book – A rich experience


Last July, Mahendra Mahey Manager of BL Labs and Milena Dobreva-McPherson, Associate Professor Library and Information Studies UCL Qatar sent an invitation to join ‘Digital Cultural Heritage Innovation Labs Book Sprint’, in Doha, Qatar, from 23 to 27 September 2019. Before the publication of the invitation I was involved in different calls in which I supported the idea of writing a book concerning the creation of GLAM Lab with all the information that we had created in previous events. However, when I saw the application form I have to admit that I was a little bit scared. I just filled in the application form thinking that «maybe they do not accept me» and I went on holidays…

7 August 2019. I check my email and see: Acceptance and logistics – Book Sprint on Digital Cultural Heritage Innovation Labs (23-27 September, Doha, Qatar). Many questions came to my mind: What am I supposed to do there? How are we going to do it? Just one week? At the same time, I felt the luckiest man in the world to have this opportunity and meet people from around the world to write a book of a theme that I enjoy.

Some days before going to Qatar we had a call to introduce ourselves. It was the first time I saw everybody and I discovered that we were only 16 people :

22 September 2019. I arrived to Qatar and went directly to the hotel.

Hotel Movenpick Hotel Doha in Qatar
Movenpick Hotel Doha in Qatar

That night we had a meeting in order to meet us in person. I really felt the tension and the pressure in the room. Each of us expressed what we were expecting about the book. I remember my words: «I had no time to think about it but I trust on us, we will have something at the end of the week». Somehow, I felt that we could do it. In the end, we were there to produce a book 🙂

The next five days we were working hard applying the methodology of the book sprint. Laia Ros Gasch was the person in charge from the Book Sprint organization in order to guide us through the process.

We agreed that the book should be something useful, a first reference for any GLAM institution and not a bunch of scientific papers.  Every day we were informed about the state of the book (e.g., number of words) and received the feedback from the editors. Little by little the book was growing and taking shape. We had to decide many things including the title, the cover, a manifesto, illustrations, recipes, examples, references, etc. We learnt to trust each other and to share our expertise, skills and knowledge, otherwise would not be possible in a short period of time.


The last revision of the book was carried out by Sophie-Carolin Wagner, Paula Bray, Lotte Wilms and Kristy Kokegei. They were in charge of giving the same voice to the whole book and decide what should be included and what not. We trusted on them and they did their best to respect the work of all us while taking care of the whole text.


Contributors to the book Open a GLAM Lab
Contributors to the book Open a GLAM Lab

Many thanks to the organizations which sponsored this book sprint UCL Qatar, Qatar University Library, The British Library and the Library of Congress.


The result of the booksprint can be downloaded from the International GLAM Labs community website. We hope that you enjoy this book as we did writing it 🙂

Blog post written by Gustavo Candela.