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DigiCULT 5
INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW
By Guntram Geser
FUNCTION AND FOCUS
T
his second Thematic Issue concentrates on
the question of how cultural and scientific
heritage organisations could enhance their
mission-related activities by using a new breed of
technologies called Digital Asset Management
Systems. A DAMS, in short, is a set of coordinated
technologies that allow the quick and efficient storage,
retrieval, and reuse of digital files that are essential to
an organisation. It provides the rules and processes
needed to acquire, store, index, secure, search, export,
transform and make accessible these assets (or deriva-
tives of them) as well as their descriptive information.
In particular, what merits highlighting is the fact
that a DAMS can increase enormously the value of
digital assets by managing the metadata about the
assets. It is the metadata that make them useful (and
re-useful) to the organisation, by indicating, for
example:Who created it? When? In what format?
Are there other versions of it? What rights do we
TOPIC AND CHALLENGE
D
igiCULT, as a support measure within the
Information Society Technologies Pro-
gramme (IST), will for a period of 30
months provide a technology watch mechanism for
the cultural and scientific heritage sector. Backed by
a pool of over 50 experts, the project monitors, dis-
cusses and analyses the impact of new technological
developments on the sector.
To promote the results and encourage early take-
up of relevant technologies, DigiCULT will publish
its results through a series of seven Thematic Issues,
three in-depth Technology Watch Reports, as well as
pushing out the e-journal DigiCULT.Info to a gro-
wing database of interested persons and organisa-
tions. All DigiCULT products available so far can
be downloaded from the project Website www.digi-
cult.info.The Website also provides the opportunity
to subscribe to DigiCULT.Info, and to post inte-
resting culture and technology events.
The Thematic Issues focus on the topics of the
expert round tables organised by the DigiCULT
Forum secretariat.They present and interpret the
results of these workshops, and provide additional
information and opinions in the form of articles,
interviews, case studies, short descriptions of related
projects, together with a selection of relevant litera-
ture. In comparison with the Technology Watch
Reports, the Thematic Issues focus more on the
organisational, policy, and economic aspects of the
technologies under consideration.Ways of enhancing
the adoption of new perspectives and approaches,
e.g. new business models, as well as fostering co-
operation between cultural heritage organisations,
industry players, researchers and other stakeholders,
will certainly form a regular part of the Forum dis-
cussions and hence the Thematic Issues.
Following the DigiCULT Forums on `Integrity
and Authenticity of Digital Cultural Heritage
Objects' (Barcelona, May 2002) and `Digital Asset
Management Systems' (Essen, September 2002), the
next Forums will focus on `XML:Towards an Inter-
operable Semantic Web for Heritage Resources'
(Darmstadt, January 2003) and `Learning Objects'
(Amsterdam, June 2003). For updates, please consult
www.digicult.info.