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Each Technology Watch Report contains several scenarios and case studies.These aim
to make the reports accessible and useful to as wide a segment of the cultural heritage
community as possible.The scenarios are presented in narrative form, but have been con-
structed around some basic principles. Each contains:
- a description of the institutional context (e.g. categories of institution, size, type,
location, and visitor numbers) on which the scenario focuses;
- the problem that the technology aims to address or the opportunity it is intended to
create;
- the policy or organisational framework necessary to ensure the technology's success-
ful adoption;
- a description of the technology as understood from the perspective of the institution
or key player using it;
- the staff context necessary to ensure that new technology is appropriately adopted;
- any special challenges or risks encountered in the adoption of the technology; and
- a clear description of the benefits that institutions have achieved.
While desk-based research and contextualisation of technology through scenarios is
helpful, interviews and case studies are even more so. Interviews provide a perspective on
a given technology that is often lacking from the printed and online literature. Interviews
were conducted by telephone or, occasionally, by focused questionnaire sent to institutions
that already had implemented a technology. In each case, information was sought about:
- What problem the organisation felt needed to be solved;
- How the technology was selected;
- What strategies were used to sell it within the organisation;
- What obstacles had to be overcome before it could be adopted;
- How successfully had it been implemented;
- Whether anticipated benefits had been achieved;
- What risks were anticipated and which were meet;
- What, if any, alternative processes had been considered and why they were rejected;
- What existing (e.g. internal) resources were tapped to ensure that the introduction of
the technology was successful;
- What additional resources had to be brought into the organisation to ensure the
technology was adopted;
- What lessons the organisation learned in the process and what would it do
differently if in the future it were to introduce another new technology.
To ensure consistency of quality and approach, production of the briefings that com-
bine to form the Technology Watch Reports are broken into six stages:
1. Following the identification and scheduling of the topic, we seek advice from the
DigiCULT community to help us identify published and unpublished materials, to
determine which, if any, institutions are already using a technology and to obtain
recommendations from other sectors where it has already been applied.
2. Desk-based research is conducted to develop a profile of the technology, establish
how it works, define its current use in other sectors, assess benefits it has brought,
determine how it can best be transferred to the heritage sector and establish what
the cost and training implications of its adoption might be.This stage involves
discussions with technology manufacturers, users and developers.
Introduction
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