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Table 3: Short e-readiness check: The above
table contains an assortment of ready-to-
use technological applications or mod-
els that may be used by institutions of all
sizes. They allow for a considerable lever-
age of the e-readiness of smaller institutions,
and are related to different key areas such
as reduction of costs and risks, community
building, and education. However, to ben-
efit from the concept of learning objects as
well as collaboration technologies it will be
vital for cultural networks/service centres
to take the lead.
CONCLUDING REMARKS
W
e started off by pointing out the
`trilemma' of small cultural herit-
age institutions of lacking human resourc-
es, lacking funds, lacking technical skills.
Although there are encouraging examples
of highly creative small institutions such
as the Museum in der Fronfeste, we do not
expect that the overall unfavourable situa-
tion of small institutions will change con-
siderably over the coming years.
A
s stressed in our assessment, the ben-
efits of most of the technologies in
the above portfolio for small institutions
will need to be realised within the con-
text of national or major regional ini-
tiatives. In such initiatives the leading
role will require to be played by cultur-
al networks/service centres. The vari-
ous CultureNets initiatives in the Nordic
countries are innovative and inspiring
examples. However, we see the need for
much stronger e-culture strategies on the
regional level throughout Europe.
T
he small institutions, in parallel to
locking into such regional initiatives,
face further challenges. They will need to
ensure that they are embedded in their
regional communities (e.g. regional history
circles, schools, tourist organisations, folk
music associations, creative industry), serve
vital needs and become highly commu-
nity-driven rather than concentrating on
collection-related tasks.
Publication note
This article originally appeared in
Proceedings of ICHIM Berlin 04. Digital
Culture and Heritage, CD-ROM,
September 2004, under the title "Are small
heritage institutions ready for e-culture?"
To order the proceedings see:
http://www.archimuse.com/publishing/
museums.html#ichim04
Technologies
Benefits
From the perspective of
smaller institutions
XML family of tech-
nologies
XML is an established non-
system and non-application
specific data exchange stan-
dard.
All major software suppliers
support XML, so smaller institu-
tions may expect a `trickle down
effect'.
Application Service
Provider (ASP) model
Outsourcing of application
management, better control
of costs and risks.
Should definitely be considered
by smaller institutions. Ideally, a
regional cultural network/ser-
vice centre would provide such
a service at low cost.
Open Source & Free
Software
This concept and move-
ment is producing consider-
able gains in efficiency, cost
savings and quality, as well as
radically changing the way
software is developed and
marketed.
Relevant applications are rapidly
increasing in number and type,
and are often developed with
smaller organisations in mind.
Customer
Relationship
Management systems
More efficient and effec-
tive management, thereby
strengthening relationships
with customers.
Some low-cost and simple-to-
use technologies are available.
Virtual Community
technologies
Stronger liaison with users
and professional colleagues.
Some low-cost and simple-to-
use technologies are available.
Collaboration tech-
nologies
Opportunities for remote
collaboration on projects
with professional colleagues.
Relevant if driven by a cultur-
al network and/or professional
association.
Learning Objects
Better servicing learning
communities.
Relevant in the framework of
a national or larger regional e-
learning initiative.
Display technologies
Opportunity to present
exhibition information,
(more) collection items, and
previous exhibitions in an
interactive way.
Feasible for some smaller insti-
tutions that concentrate on the
exhibition function.
Visualisation of Data
Visualising datasets enhanc-
es the understanding of
historical and contempo-
rary cultural developments.
More advanced applications
include interactive maps and
timelines.
Some low-cost and simple to
use technologies are available.
Table 3: Adoption by small to large-size institutions;
near-term: c. 2 years