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DigiCULT
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to share experiences, create social bonds,
and construct `imaginary communities' that
take on social and cultural fabric (Ross,
2002). It is a fluid environment as anyone
who has read Sherry Turkle's early 1990s
study Life on the Screen and attempted in
the past two years to investigate some of
the same phenomena she describes will
know. New spaces and practices are
emerging all the time, older ones are disap-
pearing, and it is transforming the ways we
participate and interact.
O
ver a decade ago we enjoyed seeing
the Rediscovering Pompeii exhibition
twice: once in 1990 at the IBM Gallery of
Science and Art (NYC) and again in 1992
at the Accademia Italiana delle Arti e delle
Arti Applicate (London). Displaying a cou-
ple of hundred objects excavated from
Pompeii, it gave visitors an insight into
daily life in the first century AD Roman
resort, illustrated how computer technolo-
gy had revolutionised the analysis of
archaeological evidence, and provided
engaging interactives that gave visitors
access to the wealth of information
resources archaeologists had collected
about the Pompeii region.While our
understanding about how technology and
digital objects can be presented has
advanced considerably during the past
decade, at the time the Pompeii exhibition
offered an exciting early indication of how
interactives in an exhibition setting could
transform the experience of visitors and
how underlying databases could provide
users with access to information about
material culture and its distribution.The
sumptuous catalogue of the exhibition
(Rediscovering Pompeii, `L'Erma' di
Bretschneider, c. 1990, Roma) provided
some valuable insights into the use of
information technology on the project (pp.
105-128). Occasionally I wondered what
had become of the underlying databases. At
the Firenze conference (see above)
Alessandro Ruggiero presented
`Preservation of digital memories: risks and
den behind password protect sites and fire-
walls.Two years ago Michael K. Bergman
reported that `The Deep Web: Surfacing
Hidden Value' (The Journal of Electronic
Publishing, 7.1 (2001), http://www.press.
umich.edu/jep/07-01/bergman.html) may
well be 500 times larger than the surface
Web. Among his findings, based on data
accurate as of March 2000, were the facts
that the deep Web contained 7,500 ter-
abytes of data and the surface Web only 19
terabytes, that on average deep Websites
`receive fifty per cent greater monthly traf-
fic than surface sites and are more highly
linked to than surface sites', that the 60
largest deep Websites were 40 times larger
than the surface Web that the quality con-
tent in the deep Web is far greater than
that in the surface Web, and that 95% of
the deep Web is publicly accessible infor-
mation. As a result we must conclude that,
as attractive as comprehensive Web harvest-
ing may be, it is far from comprehensive
because it does not reach the hidden Web.
Margaret Phillip's article reports that
national libraries recognise this problem
and that an International Internet
Preservation Consortium has been estab-
lished to develop common solutions.
O
f course, the Internet is more than
just a massive digital library waiting
to be harvested, processed, stored and
retrieved. Increasingly we recognise the
central importance of the social space, con-
text and interactivity that lie at the heart of
the Internet.The physical and the virtual
worlds are often contrasted, with the virtu-
al world and its cyberculture viewed as
uniquely different from `real-world cul-
ture'.While it is true that there are charac-
teristics of cyberculture that set it apart
from more traditional measures of culture,
the boundary between the two worlds has
never been precise and continues to blur.
The evolution of virtual social, informa-
tion and economic spaces has demonstrat-
ed this with remarkable clarity.We are all
aware that the Internet enables individuals
(http://www.minervaeurope.org/) activi-
ties, an international conference on digital
memory preservation, Futuro delle Memorie
Digitali e Patrimonio Culturale (16-17
October 2003 in Firenze). A major out-
come of the meeting was the `Firenze
Agenda'. Building on the Spanish
Resolution on Digital Preservation (2002,
Document 2002/C162/02, http://
www.ibeurope.com/Newslink/311.htm#5
850), the Firenze Agenda attempts to drive
forward work on digital preservation by
encouraging cooperation between such
players as ERPANET, Prestospace, Delos
and Minerva. It identifies three areas of
activity that could deliver `concrete and
realistic actions' over the next year or two.
We have reprinted the Agenda in this
newsletter in a new section, `Action in the
Preservation of Memory', as called for in
the Firenze Agenda.
T
he main article in the inaugural
showing of this new section is a piece
by Margaret Phillips (from the National
Library of Australia) on PANDORA and
the Pandora digital archiving systems
(PANDAS), which supports the collection
of Australia's Web materials by staff at the
National Library (NLA).The Australians
have been among the leaders in developing
strategies for preserving their documentary
heritage as represented on the Web. In the
middle of this year the NLA published a
thoughtful review by Margaret Phillips
(2003), Collecting Australian Online
Publications, http://pandora.nla.gov.au/
BSC49.doc, which provides illuminating
background and contains a valuable exami-
nation of selection and collection strate-
gies. As well as drawing our attention to
the work of the NLA and the richness of
the PANDAS tool, she notes the inaccessi-
bility to many harvesting strategies of the
`deep Web'.The `deep Web' is that infor-
mation landscape characterised by Websites
and associated information resources drawn
from dynamic or static databases in
response to specific user requests, or hid-