background image
DigiCULT
.
Info
57
THE APPROACH OF THE AUSTRIAN
DIGITAL HERITAGE INITIATIVE
Structure of Digital Heritage Austria
T
he Austrian co-ordination mecha-
nism for digitisation comprises three
actors, fulfilling specific roles within the
Digital Heritage initiative: the Austrian
Federal Ministry for Education, Science
and Culture (strategic and funding level), a
domain expert from the Austrian National
Library, one of the key institutions carrying
out extensive digitisation projects (profes-
sional expertise), and Salzburg Research, an
independent research unit that is well situ-
ated within the European research com-
munity for cultural and scientific heritage
(operational level).
The three-step approach of Digital
Heritage Austria
T
he roll-out of the Austrian cultur-
al heritage initiative to co-ordinate
national digitisation activities in accordance
with the Lund Principles, as mentioned
above, will be realised in three phases:
I
n a first phase, the primary objective is to
identify and collect data on regional and
national digitisation projects in Austria and
to raise awareness for the Lund principles,
the National Representatives Group and
the MINERVA activities.
T
he Austrian Digital Heritage Initiative
has identified digitisation projects and
got them registered in a national digitisa-
tion inventory on the Web. It has also iden-
tified Good Practice digitisation projects.
The inventory will help both to obtain a
clear picture on the state-of-affairs of digi-
tisation in Austria (actors, projects and dig-
ital resources available) and to establish a
communication channel with the base, i.e.
the Austrian cultural and scientific heritage
institutions at national, regional and local
level. Translating the essential documents
and publishing the best practice guide-
lines as developed and recommended by
MINERVA will help to support these insti-
tutions in their current and future digitisa-
tion activities.
B
ut activities and events that address
and inform cultural institutions and
that help to establish networks are also
part of this phase. Hence, in October 2003,
Salzburg Research held its first eCulture
Symposium
86
in Salzburg on the Semantic
Web for cultural and scientific content. The
event was targeted at offering an opportu-
nity for local and regional institutions to
get first-hand information on recent devel-
opments in cultural heritage research tech-
nologies and to encourage know-how
transfer from both academic and commer-
cial actors to the institutions.
T
he second symposium, held from
27-28 September 2004, served as an
awareness and knowledge transfer event
aimed at local and regional cultural her-
itage organisations. Focusing on the digi-
tisation process for cultural and scientific
heritage content, the event promoted the
MINERVA criteria and best practice guide-
lines to help develop in accordance with
the Lund Action Plan a shared vision
for a European Cultural Area by offering
hands-on workshops especially for small
institutions. Keynote speeches, presenta-
tions and workshops looked at how cul-
tural institutions can better plan, manage
and finance digitisation projects, and add
value to their communities by creating dig-
ital cultural experiences. Promising new
technologies and interfaces to enable and
enhance these experiences were at the cen-
tre of discussion.
Planned activities and a future out-
look
I
n a second phase, an agenda for an
Austrian digitisation platform should be
established that will encompass a digitisa-
tion platform, a research platform and a
business platform. Therefore, the primary
objective of phase two should be to further
extend the existing informal expert net-
work and to establish a national network of
cultural heritage institutions and experts on
an institutionalised basis.
F
inally, in the long term, national com-
petence centres to foster and streamline
digitisation activities at various levels should
be identified and set up. For this, not only
co-operation between Austrian institutions
but also international co-operation is high-
ly desirable.
A
t the moment, however, funding has
only been secured for phase one. To
realise phases two and three, the Austrian
Digital Heritage Initiative needs further
strategic and financial support.
T
he Digital Preservation Coalition
(http://www.dpconline.org) has pre-
pared the latest in a series of reports that
aim to provide practical guidance for insti-
tutions undertaking digitisation activities.
The new report, entitled Contracting Out for
Digital Preservation Services, deals with the
issues attached to outsourcing, which can
be a more attractive and realistic option for
digitisation carried out by small organisa-
tions. The leaflet gives help on the potential
hazards of outsourcing and how to draw up
a contract for these services. It is intend-
ed to complement the Directory of Digital
Preservation Repositories and Services in the
UK published earlier this year. Both pub-
lications are available from: http://www.
dpconline.org/graphics/guides/index.html
86 aSee: http://eculture.salzburgresearch.at/index_e.html
N
EW
DPC R
EPORT