Hannah Turner

I am a critical information studies scholar at the iSchool who investigates the connection between documentation, culture, and technology. I was a previously a Lecturer in Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, and a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Making Culture Lab at SFU. I completed my doctorate in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto in 2015.

I broadly investigate how ethnographic material culture has been produced and circulated using different recording and documentation technologies through time. In particular, I am interested in how technologies can be used ethically for better practice between museums and originating communities. My upcoming book, Cataloguing Culture (UBC Press, 2020) is a history of ethnographic documentation practices and the classification and the cataloguing of material culture collections in the Smithsonian’s Department of Anthropology.

I am also interested in how new digital technologies are used to represent tangible and intangible cultural heritage. With several 3D digitization research and curatorial projects, I question how objects and belongings are actively shaped by those who create and manipulate their digital representations. I have published on the politics of digital access, the decolonization of museum databases, learning with 3D printing, and the organization of knowledge in museums.

  • information practices in museums
  • cataloguing and classification
  • digital cultural heritage
  • feminist/ BIPOC theory
  • digital preservation and repatriation
  • histories of science and technology
  • creative digital heritage work


  • Hannah Turner. Cataloguing Culture: Legacies of Colonialism in Museum Documentation.  UBC Press, 2020 [link]

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

2019 “Wrapped in the Cloud: An Interview with Meghann O’Brien and Conrad Sly.” Introduction by Hannah Turner and Kate Hennessy. Edited by Hannah Turner, Kate Hennessy, Meghann O’Brien (Jaad Kuujus) and Conrad Sly. BC Studies, 50th Anniversary. Invited, Pages Forthcoming.

2017 “Organizing Knowledge in Museums: A Review of Concepts and Concerns.” Knowledge Organization: Knowledge Organization within the Museum Domain, Special Issue. 44 No.7: 472-84.

2017 Turner, Hannah, Gabby Resch, Adam K. Dubé, Rhonda McEwen, Isaac Record, and Daniel Southwick. “Using 3D Printing to Enhance Understanding and Engagement with Young Audiences: Lessons from Workshops in a Museum.” Curator: The Museums Journal, 60(3): 311-33.

2016 “Introduction to the Special Issue: Critical Histories of Museum Catalogues.” Special Issue: Critical Histories of Museum Catalogues, edited by Hannah Turner. Museum Anthropology 39 (2): 102-10.

2016 “The Computerization of Material Culture Catalogues: Objects and Infrastructure in the Smithsonian Institution’s Department of Anthropology.” Special Issue: Critical Histories of Museum Catalogues, edited by Hannah Turner. Museum Anthropology 39 (2): 163-177.

2015 “Decolonizing Ethnographic Documentation: A Critical History of the Early Museum Catalogs at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.” Special Issue: Indigenous Approaches to Cataloging, edited by Cheryl A. Metoyer and Ann M. Doyle. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 53 (5–6): 658–76.

Book Chapters

2019 Forthcoming. Hennessy, Kate and Hannah Turner. “Digital.” Handbook of Visual Methods in Anthropology. Edited by Rupert Cox and Chris Wright. London & New York: Routledge.

2019 In press. Turner, Hannah and Candace Greene. “New Access to Native North American Collections in Museums and Archives: History, Context and Future Directions.” In Volume 1 of the Handbook of North American Indians (HNAI), edited by Igor Krupnik. Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press: Washington: DC. Pages forthcoming.


Current Courses

Winter 2021

INFO200 Foundations of Informatics Sections

Theory, methods, and approaches for the analysis, design, and evaluation of information objects, activities, systems, and infrastructures in contemporary societies.

Winter 2021

LIBR508 Information Practices in Contemporary Society Sections

Winter 2021

LIBR588 Theory and Practice of Oral History Sections