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that commercial exploitation of cultural services is essential and the income-generating
potential of heritage assets needs to maximised. The sector should aim to become the
natural source of high-quality cultural content, the first place publishers, advertisers,
and others turn. This can only happen if potential users can identify possible material
easily, negotiate the rights to use it efficiently, and have it delivered to them in a timely
manner. Heritage Institutions need access to digital rights management technologies
(DRM) and digital asset management (DAM) systems to enable them to track, exploit,
and repurpose their digital assets. In TWR1 we examined DAM systems that support the
acquisition, description, tracking, discovery, retrieval, searching, and distribution of digital
assets. This examination outlined the technologies which underlie a standard DAM or
content management (CMS) system and highlights how it can be used by cultural insti-
tutions to facilitate the most efficient and effective use of digital assets. The decreasing
costs of implementing DAMS technology make them feasible for institutions of nearly all
sizes. The topic received further coverage in the DigiCULT.Info Newsletter (December
2003) in Paul Conway's examination of the open source content management system
(CMS) Zope.
Creating and managing digital assets is only a first step. Heritage institutions need
access to technologies that enable them to license use of these assets and business models
that enable them to increase their revenue income and reduce the costs associated with
generating that revenue. Many institutions recognising the risks posed by piracy, including
loss of income and control of their content, have shied away from making their content
available on the networks. Digital Rights Management (DRM) and related security
technologies streamline and simplify the process of granting and gaining licences for the
distribution of protected content.They allow organisations to define and represent access
rights and conditions, ensure that these are adhered to, and facilitate the collection of
licensing charges for the use of resources. Rights management software and automated
payment systems provide technologies that could enable the cultural heritage sector to
become and remain competitive in comparison with commercial picture libraries and
other comparable content providers. One of the real challenges is that only the largest
institutions have sufficient infrastructures to do this work alone. In their current form
these technologies will really only benefit small and medium size institutions if they
work together.The case studies indicate how this might be done.
Many heritage institutions find themselves struggling to keep pace with the opportu-
nities offered by new technologies and user services.The costs and support issues associ-
ated with new technologies might in some instances be reduced through collaboration
(e.g. shared ownership and use across a number of institutions of collection management
systems). Another emerging approach is the renting of shared computer resources and
expertise from third-party providers, commonly grouped together as Application Service
Providers (ASPs). ASPs are organisations that provide shared software applications and
services.The choice of ASP services over in-house solutions may offer clear financial and
organisational benefits to cultural heritage organisations, particularly those without the in-
house technical know-how to build efficient and innovative systems.With ASPs the need
for specialised IT staff is minimised, and upfront equipment expenses are reduced. ASP
resources and costs (including profit margins) are shared among many potential cus-
tomers. ASP services can be offered to the customers at lower rates than the individual
organisations would be able to achieve in isolation.The grouping of similar collections
via a shared portal is another potential benefit of ASP, but there are other ways of achiev-
Introduction
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