Resources (April 2003).We have four more fora planned; for example, we are hosting
one in July 2003 on `Learning Objects'.
- The DigiCULT.info Newsletter has become a vehicle to enable specialists to contribute
articles about services, studies, technologies, and activities to a professionally edited
and produced online publication.With the February 2003 issue of the Newsletter, it
moved to publication on a quarterly basis.
- The project website, www.digicult.info, continues to be developed as an increasingly
valuable resource for those seeking access to information about events, resources and
digital copies of our publications.
Background to Technology Watch Reports
DigiCULT's Technology Watch Reports identify and describe technologies that are
either not currently used in the heritage sector or are under-utilised by it.Technologies
develop quickly and the heritage sector needs to identify those that will bring benefits
and provide a certain amount of sustainability over a reasonable horizon. During its ini-
tial thirty-month lifetime, the project will release three reports, each examining six core
technologies.The reports will provide a technical analysis of each core technology, a
description of its benefits and an explanation of how it could be deployed. In preparing
these reports we are reviewing emerging technologies, assessing how specific technol-
ogies could be used, and establishing problems that the technology might help to solve
or new opportunities it might create.The emphasis must, wherever possible, be on the
incremental rather than the dramatic.
Throughout the work, the DigiCULT project team uses the word "technology" in its
broadest sense to cover methods (e.g. modelling and data representation strategies), pro-
cedures, standards, hardware (e.g. mobile phones, 3D-imaging technologies), and software
applications. New technologies are emerging at a phenomenal pace and there is no
shortage of technologies that either appear or purport to have value for the heritage sec-
tor. So, the problem is not identifying new technologies to review but selecting those
that are most likely to have a positive, significant, sustainable, measurable, and cumulative
impact on the cultural heritage sector. A key issue will be ensuring that the technologies
selected for review do not quickly become obsolete. One needs to remember the CD-I
technologies adopted with great excitement by the heritage sector in the late 1980's only
to disappear very soon thereafter. CD-Is were left holding materials that appeared to be
inaccessible, such as the BBC's Domesday Survey.The process of selecting technologies
is, therefore, a complex and risky one.
Emphasis has been placed on technologies that have been proven in other domains
and can be transferred to the heritage sector with minimum risk of failure or "infant
obsolescence".There are many technologies that could bring value to heritage institu-
tions and to ensure that the sector makes the best selection of those that can be covered
the project team used the following questions to compare different possible technologies:
- Has the technology proven its value in other domains?
- Does it have clear applicability to the heritage sector? Are there scenarios that clearly
demonstrate its potential?
- Is the technology likely to enhance access, use, understanding, conservation, and/or
preservation of the cultural heritage? Will it improve the visibility, use, or manage-
ment of heritage collections?