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DigiCULT
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Information Sciences at the University of
Brighton: http://www.brighton.ac.uk/
mis/), the co-ordinator of the network,
explains: `Our network wants to pro-
vide a clear organisational and disciplinary
framework. Like this, we want to increase
the effectiveness of work at the interface
between technology and the cultural her-
itage of human experience represented in
monuments, sites and museums. This frame-
work will encompass all the various work
processes and flows of information from
archaeological discovery to education and
dissemination. It will allow identification
of where the bottlenecks in the end-to-
end process are currently located and this in
turn will allow prioritisation of the research
themes.
`
EPOCH is designed to serve as a cen-
tre of gravity both for its members and
for other research groups with interests
and background in this area. We will pro-
vide a holistic interdisciplinary view of the
research agenda for future developments of
the technologies that support cultural her-
itage applications. By doing so, EPOCH
wants to act as a mechanism to bring cohe-
sion to the efforts of network members in
forming a European Research Area.'
F
ive vital subfields form the core of
these integrating activities:
1. Field recording and data capture
2. Data organisation, provenance and
standards
3. Reconstruction and visualisation
4. Heritage education and communication
5. Planning for sustainability of heritage
projects.
T
he EPOCH `Joint Program of
Activities' has been structured around
four large work packages, each of which
will contribute to progress related to a
number of major application areas. One
of them concentrates on the so-called
`Integrating activities'. The network's vision
is of a multi-disciplinary team working
within a framework that encapsulates the
holistic view of the problems to be solved.
In this vision the goal is that all parts of the
pipeline from data collection and historic
discovery through to real-time visitor expe-
riences and scholastic communication of
heritage visualisations, work in balance so
as to make progress towards a complete sys-
tem rather than a partial solution to narrow
research problems.
D
aniël Pletinckx, co-ordinator of New
Technologies at the Ename Center
for Public Archaeology and Heritage
Presentation in Belgium (http://www.
enamecenter.org), explains: `The first task in
obtaining such a common research agen-
da is to create an inventory of the needs
of all stakeholders. As these needs are very
diverse, it is important to create a detailed
inventory per stakeholder class that is sup-
ported by a significant and representative
cross-section of that stakeholder class.'
A
second task is to create the invento-
ry of IT technologies that are already
used in cultural heritage or are in develop-
ment for the domain. `By determining the
factors affecting the success or failure of a
technology and its application, and map-
ping out the overlap, synergies and oppor-
tunities, we will formulate an integration
roadmap on the further evolution of IT
in cultural heritage,' says Pletinckx. `At the
same time we will evaluate new technolo-
gies outside the cultural heritage domain
for their potential use.'
A
nother work package, `Jointly execut-
ed research', will guide and cross-fer-
tilise the research activities of the partners
in the network ­ and hopefully of others
­ in order to ensure maximal relevance for
the cultural heritage domain, high qual-
ity as well as cohesion and complementa-
rity among these activities. By establishing a
so-called `common infrastructure', the goal
is the creation of an integrated pipeline for
producing applications involving digital
versions of tangible heritage.
`
We will develop new tools to fill the
gaps in this pipeline, or to create alter-
native technologies that are better suited
for the cultural heritage domain,' explains
Professor Luc Van Gool (K.U. Leuven,
Belgium (http://www.kuleuven.ac.be/)
and ETH Zürich, Switzerland (http://
www.ethz.ch/)). `Based on the definition
of
the research agenda, we expect our joint-
ly executed research to involve a mixture
of integration of existing components and
development of new tools to fill gaps in the
The virtual model of the abbey complex at Ename (Belgium) superimposed
on the current setting
©
EPOCH,

2004