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The 18th International CODATA Conference (CODATA 2002) - `Frontiers of Scientific
and Technical Data' -, which took place in Montreal, Canada, from 29 September to 3
October 2002, proved to be one of the most exciting conferences we attended this year.
This four-day conference, hosted by the Canadian and US National Committees for
CODATA, was sponsored by the National Research Council Canada, the Ministry of
Science and Technology (Quebec), and the National Academies (US).
The 250 attendees, who came from thirty-seven countries, were treated to papers of
exceptional quality. The electronic proceedings from the conference should be available
at http://www.codata.org by early March 2003.
project within the Fifth Framework
Programme) was successful in providing
technical solutions for large archives, the
challenge within the Sixth Framework
Programme will be to develop the techno-
logies to offer a cheap and effective preser-
vation and restoration service also for small
and medium-sized archives (PRESTO
SPACE).The research challenges to reach
these goals are numerous and include
topics like rich digitisation, diagnosis and
quality control, yet unsolved restoration
impairment problems, automated metadata
and archive management, etc.
T
he day closed with an area within
cultural heritage that has more to do
with to use Prof. Arnold's words
`making it stick' rather than the hot
that are the challenge', concludes Arnold.
What is required is a complete change in
the mindset, starting with the question
why, for example, archaeologists want
technologies applied to their domain.
Only then will technologists be able to
develop efficient techniques applicable to
a particular application domain.
W
ith `making it stick', on the other
hand, Prof. Arnold pointed out the
threat of getting far ahead with R&D but
leaving behind the community we origi-
nally seek to serve.Thus, future activities
within the Sixth Framework Programme
need to provide the opportunities for
cultural heritage institutions to (re)connect
to the technological development and
make the new technologies stick to the
community they are intended for.
S
eamus Ross, University of Glasgow,
UK, presented tomorrow's research
agenda for one of the undoubtedly most
challenging areas for the cultural heritage
sector: preservation of digital content. Over
the past months, a working group of
European and US preservation and archi-
ving experts brought together by DELOS
and the National Science Foundation
drafted a paper on future challenges for
the archiving sector, recognising that
digital entities are the raw materials for the
industries of the 21st century.The working
group sees three core areas that need work
in the future: emerging research domains
such as digital repositories (establishment
of repositories for testing) and archival media
(longevity, ageing, etc), re-engineering the
preservation processes, and addressing
preservation systems and technology
(such as the shift from hand-crafting to
automated processes in all steps of digital
preservation) that will fundamentally
re-engineer the whole preservation and
archiving process.
T
his general research agenda for digi-
tal preservation was further expanded
by the presenters of the PRESTO project
which is concerned with the question of
digital restoration and archiving of audio-
visual materials. Although PRESTO (as a
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research topics.The introduction of `com-
munity memory' as an area that calls for
future action acknowledges the value of
local and regional cultural heritage as the
pillars of our cultural memory. In the
future, local and regional cultural heritage
institutions will need national and local
strategies, programmes and funding, cross
domain policy making and partnership as
well as general support in training their
staff and integrating sustainable technology
to be able to maintain their services to the
community.
M
ore details of the concertation
meeting will soon be available on
the Preservation and Enhancement of
Cultural Heritage Web site:
http://www.cordis.lu/ist/directorate_e/pech.htm
DigiCULT Andrea Mulrenin