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not yet happened. But the technology has been adopted by a number of cultural organi-
sations to improve traditional work processes such as check-in, check-out, anti-theft con-
trol, inventory and asset management. Once the tags are in place they provide a founda-
tion for innovative ways to provide users with access to information about holdings and
then collect information about how users interact with holdings. For example, libraries
and museums can improve inventory management and visitors to these institutions can
use tag readers to to draw information directly from the collection management system.
DAMS for asset management and online visibility
The European Commission and its member states are encouraging digitisation of
cultural heritage material to improve online visibility of the European cultural and scien-
tific heritage. As institutions invest in creating digital content or acquire content that only
exists in digital forms, as archives increasingly discover they must, they need access to bet-
ter technologies for tracking, exploiting, and repurposing digital assets. Digital Asset
Management (DAM) systems support the acquisition, description, tracking, discovery,
retrieval, searching, and distribution of digital assets.The second report outlines the tech-
nologies which underlie a standard DAM system and highlights how it can be used by
cultural institutions to facilitate the most efficient and effective use of digital assets. It is
unusual for individual cultural institutions to have the technological infrastructure or the
experience needed to treat these digital materials as renewable and manageable resources.
The decreasing costs of implementing DAMS technology make this feasible for institu-
tions of nearly all sizes.
The Human Interfaces
The interface between person and machine represents a major stumbling block to the
successful use of computer tools, but it is an exciting area of research that is promoting
new developments in human-computer interaction (HCI). A wide array of devices, pro-
viding different modes of interaction based on different underlying concepts is coming
into commercial use.The design of these devices reflects the needs and abilities of users,
the range of human senses, from hearing to touch, that can be harnessed and recognition
that portability is essential.The diversity of devices coming to the market is dazzling, so
the fourth report only describes those that are likely to have the maximum impact in the
heritage sector, applications including head-mounted displays, shutterglasses, CAVES,
speech input systems and wearable computers. New methods of human computer inter-
action make it possible for cultural institutions to provide visitors with dynamic and
immersive tools for observing collections not currently on display or with mechanisms
that can give tactile and weight sensations while they "virtually" hold fragile and restrict-
ed access items. HCI processes allow users to navigate through collections in ways never
imagined before.The "electronic nose", for instance, could help monitor collections and
sense changes in their condition.This might be especially valuable in the case of film col-
lections where early identification of "vinegar ­syndrome" is essential and currently
require high levels of human intervention.While some of these novel interfaces can be
disorientating, others open collections to the physically challenged that have never been
accessible before. Future improvements at the interface between person and machine will
Introduction
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