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F
UNCTION AND FOCUS
DigiCULT, as a support measure within the
Information Society Technologies Programme (IST),
will for a period of 30 months (beginning March
2002) provide a technology watch mechanism for
the cultural and scientific heritage sector. Backed
by a network of peer experts, the project monitors,
discusses and analyses existing and emerging
technologies likely to bring benefits to the sector.
To promote the results and encourage early take-
up of relevant technologies, DigiCULT has put in
place a rigorous publication agenda of seven
Thematic Issues, three in-depth Technology Watch
Reports, as well as the DigiCULT.Info e-journal,
pushed to a growing database of interested persons
and organisations on a regular basis. All DigiCULT
products can be downloaded from the project Web-
site http://www.digicult.info as they become avail-
able.The opportunity to subscribe to the Digi-
CULT.Info is also found here.
March 2003 saw the release of the first DigiCULT
Technology Watch Report.This report covers the
topics Customer Relationship Management, Digital
Asset Management Systems, Smart Labels and Smart
Tags,Virtual Reality and Display Technologies, Hu-
man Interfaces, and Games Technologies. Addressing
primarily technological issues, it serves as a guide to
what a heritage institution needs to consider when
buying into one of these technologies.
In comparison with the Technology Watch Reports,
the Thematic Issues focus more on the organisational,
policy, and economic aspects of the technologies
under consideration.They are based on the expert
round tables organised by the DigiCULT Forum
secretariat. In addition to the Forum discussion, they
provide opinions of other experts in the form of
articles and interviews, case studies, short descriptions
of related projects, together with a selection of
relevant literature.
T
OPIC AND CHALLENGE
This third Thematic Issue addresses the questions:
What is the Semantic Web? What will it do for
heritage institutions? And what is the role of certain
languages, in particular XML and RDF?
In short, the Semantic Web vision proclaims a Web
of machine-readable data which allows software
agents to automatically carry out rather complex
tasks for humans. Key to realising this vision is
semantic interoperability of Web resources.Yet, such
interoperability is not the primary goal of heritage
institutions (and intelligent software agents are not
readily at hand).
What the institutions are looking for are new ways
of providing scholarly and non-expert users (e.g.
school classes, lifelong learners) with access to their
collections and related knowledge.This goal can be
accomplished, for example, through online collections
DigiCULT 5
I
NTRODUCTION AND
O
VERVIEW
By Guntram Geser
Philosophy in Discussion With a Philosopher