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6
DigiCULT
S
eamus Ross from HATII, University of
Glasgow, in his position paper highlights that
in recent years an increasing amount of fun-
ding has been made available for digitisation projects;
yet, due to current practices, only rarely have these
projects led to renewable resources. He describes the
main advantages DAMS provide, but also points to
necessary prerequisites like budget, skills and techni-
cal infrastructure, and organisational `buy-in'.
Michael Moon, President of Gistics Inc., who has
carried out in-depth analysis of the DAMS market,
gives a primer and examples of how heritage organi-
sations could profit from adopting strategies that
define successful eBusiness companies.These strate-
gies, enabled by DAMS, include, for example, work-
flow automation, enhancing self-service satisfaction,
and instant delivery of services and products. In par-
ticular, he highlights the fact that in the networked
environment companies as well as heritage organisa-
tions need to become proficient e-publishers.
Two interviews, carried out by journalist Joost van
Kasteren, illustrate the advantages of DAMS as seen
from the perspective of an image collection of a
major museum, James Stevenson from the Victoria
and Albert Museum, and from a leading DAMS ven-
dor, Guy Hellier from Artesia Technologies.
Michael Steemson from Caldeson Consultancy,
New Zealand, who assists DigiCULT as scientific
consultant, summarises the results of the Essen
Forum. At the Forum, Mr Moon gave an introduc-
tory presention of his view and key research findings
about DAMS.The resultant discussion provides on
the one hand an elaboration of issues Mr Moon
could only hint at in his article. On the other hand,
it shows where experts from the heritage institution's
and vendor's side saw aspects in need of further dis-
cussion.These include, for example, issues of work-
flow re-design in institutions, or, even more intri-
guing, why not stick to the collection management
system already in place?
To stimulate further discussion about the latter
issue, we invited Norbert Kanter from zetcom AG,
Berlin, to provide us with his view on `DAMS versus
CMS?'
Two case studies provide insight into the practical
side of using DAMS to build high-quality digital
resources for scholars, students, and lifelong learners:
The case study on Octavo describes how this
innovative e-publishing and technology service com-
pany brings the capabilities of advanced digital
media to rare and precious books and manuscripts.
Besides the considerable background information we
received, we in particular want to thank Octavo for
the marvellous images they provided us with.They
allow us to convey, in this Thematic Issue, an impres-
sion of the richness and artistic nature of the dra-
wings and printings in the history of science.
The Art and Architecture project of the Courtauld
Institute of Art, which is at present in month eleven
of an initial two-year phase, provides an illustrative
case of how a DAMS is supportive in building the
central repository of a larger-scale digitisation pro-
ject. Giles O'Bryen, Project Director of Art and
Architecture, kindly provided us with the in-depth
knowledge necessary to describe working steps such
as schema development and cataloguing.The case
study also includes a brief summary of what the pro-
ject team has learnt so far about the benefits and
challenges of using a DAM system.
OVERVIEW
have to this asset? For what purposes has it been
used before in the organisation or by partners? These
metadata are essential to heritage organisations
whose functions are to collect, archive, preserve, and
provide access to their collections for scholarly and
educational communities.
Yet, today DAMS are not widely used in the heri-
tage sector. One major area where they are begin-
ning to bloom is that of larger-scale digitisation pro-
jects, like the Art and Architecture project at the
Courtauld Institute of Art, described in this issue.
Why DAMS enter the sector through this door,
Czeslaw Jan Grycz, CEO and Publisher of Octavo,
explained in an e-mail exchange with a fine meta-
phor: `I've often admired the lowly sea urchin, in the
sense that I see in its spiny structure a metaphor for
the field in which I find myself. Any individual
aspect of digital preservation (think of an individual
spine of the sea urchin) seems able to be pursued in
quite specialised detail. Ultimately, however, all the
various subject areas (optics, scanning arrays, proce-
dures, colour management, publishing, selection,
conservation, file naming conventions, creation of
derivatives, formats, standards, etc.) come down to a
single point. Combined, all the subjects form the
organism.'
The challenge for the many heritage organisations
that today start digitising collections is really to form
this `organism', with highly efficient management
systems which, in particular, also enable them to pro-
vide enhanced access to scholars and learners and to
develop new marketing tools and revenue generators
(e.g. through new products or licensing).