In this introductory essay to the special issue, we identify key common themes that are developed in the article contributions. We start by attending to the qualities of what we call “digital heritage ecosystems”, and we reflect on the varied affordances that digital tools and platforms offer. We go on to address the complex political dimensions of digital heritage, and how structures of authority relating to heritage are constructed and can be destabilised by the digital. Finally, we take a look at what goes on behind the scenes of digital heritage initiatives, what is involved in setting up digital platforms and keeping the systems running. This involves bringing to light the materiality of the digital, what it implies in terms of materials, costs and labour. We put forward these perspectives as a way of domesticating the digital and dispelling some of its mystery to make it more adapted to the needs of heritage work.
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