How can museums create the basis for a future understanding of the impacts of digital technologies on society in times of digital transformation? Based on the example of two collection objects at the Technisches Museum Wien – an automated teller machine and a mobile device for cashless payment – we examine how digital infrastructures are dealt with, their everyday use and how much we (have to) trust them.
Project title: The codebreakers. Digital infrastructures in everyday life
Funders: Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF) and Vienna Business Agency
Call for funding: Digital Humanism Roadmaps 2022
Partners: aBITpreservation and Institute of Information Systems Engineering of TU Wien
Project period: 02.01.2023 to 30.09.2023
Amount of funding: EUR 40,000

The focus is placed on people-centred use and assessment. The goal is to develop a transdisciplinary set of methods that enables us not only to publicly document contemporary user experiences, but also to come up with new technical methods to maintain the functionality of (historical) software for the purpose of authentic interpretation. Only then can we meet the requirements of digital humanism in keeping with the call for funding.

As part of an open-ended think tank with (former) users and international experts, we develop possible strategies. The results of the discussion will be included in the collection strategy of the Technisches Museum Wien’s software collection established in 2021.

Starting points:

This automated teller machine (Diebold Nixdorf Inc. 2008) was operated by the Volksbank in 2490 Ebenfurth, Lower Austria, from 2008 to 2017.
The Technisches Museum Wien purchased this digital payment device from a private individual via in 2017 on the occasion of an exhibition.

To date, the user experiences have not been documented for neither of the two objects. As part of the research project, this important information will be added and put into context. At the same time, technical strategies for the long-term archiving of the now obsolete software will be developed, turning the project team into the titular “codebreakers”. We decipher and crack the complex, multidimensional “code” between digital technologies that accompany us in everyday life and their impacts on our individual lives and society.