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DigiCULT
.
Info
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co-ordinates five expert groups on bench-
marking digitisation activities, metadata and
resource discovery, interoperability, good
practice and competence centres, as well
as the issues of accessibility and quality of
cultural Web sites. It addresses the issue of
long-term preservation of digital heritage
and provides recommendations, guidelines,
quality criteria and best practice models rel-
evant to the sector.
M
INERVA Plus considerably extends
the existing network. Starting in
January 2004, Austria, which so far was only
represented in the National Representatives
Group, joined the MINERVA network as
an official member. For MINERVA Plus,
the following activities are planned:
provide the political and technical frame-
work for improving digitisation activities
of cultural and scientific content;
facilitate adoption of the Lund principles;
support and foster collaboration in the
cultural heritage sector;
exchange information about the national
policy profiles on digitisation;
implement user requirements for accessi-
bility and usability of cultural heritage
Web sites, implement the existing bench-
marking framework on digitisation and
promote dissemination and training -
activities at national level.
M
embership of the MINERVA
Network means that Austrian experts
can now participate actively in the themat-
ic working groups of MINERVA and benefit
from information exchange with experts from
other European countries.
DIGITISATION IN AUSTRIA: POLITICAL
STRUCTURE AND EMERGING ISSUES
Political structure and responsibilities
O
ne of the primary objectives of the
Austrian Digital Heritage Initiative is
to make available to Austrian cultural her-
itage organisations the results of this com-
mon effort to develop a collaborative policy
framework for digital cultural heritage on
the European level.
I
n Austria, the sit-
uation is highly
fragmented as respon-
sibility for cultural and
scientific heritage is
split between feder-
al and state authorities.
Although there is suf-
ficient awareness about
the urgency of the issue
of long-term preserva-
tion of our scientific
and cultural heritage,
there is no explicit pol-
icy or strategy to take
on this challenge.
N
evertheless,
by launching
the Austrian Digital
Heritage Initiative,
the Austrian Federal
Ministry for Education,
Science and Culture
took a first major step
towards a systemat-
ic and co-ordinated
approach for digitisa-
tion policies and ini-
tiatives in Austria by
deciding on and imple-
menting the operational structures to
co-ordinate future digitisation policies, pro-
grammes and initiatives to ensure the pres-
ervation of Austria's cultural and scientific
heritage.
Emerging Issues: Long-term
Preservation and Lack of Resources
A
ustria's cultural institutions are aware
of the need for digitising their collec-
tions. Institutions at federal and state level,
however, usually find it easier to come up
with appropriate measures as they are tech-
nically more advanced and mostly have the
financial and human resources available for
the necessary activities. Yet, for smaller cul-
tural institutions at the local and region-
al level, the situation looks quite different.
Many smaller institutions do not possess
the infrastructure to digitise, or even docu-
ment, their cultural artefacts. In many cases,
these regional and local museums are shoe-
string operations run by cultural enthusiasts
who not only spend their leisure time but
also their private money to keep their insti-
tutions accessible to the public. Therefore,
for small and regional cultural institutions,
the essential question often is not a techno-
logical one, but one of lacking the staff, the
skills and the training.
W
hat can be generally recognised,
however, is a growing awareness
within the state authorities that small and
local institutions need external support to
manage the introduction of new media
technologies into their organisations.
Reichspost (Imperial Post)
ANNO - AustriaN Newspapers Online

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Vienna