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20 DigiCULT
but it should not be difficult to make easier ones,
they thought.
One big difference, said Dr Karlgren, was that
most heritage information providers were not in it
just for the money. More important was the institu-
tion branding and systems had to cater for that. He
argued that institutions need not provide the meta-
data tools but should have clear standard interfaces to
their information and `then rely on people to want to
find their information properly'. His words opened a
large can of worms.
Dr Ross did not agree. He wanted to know: `Why
should they give up ownership and management of
their content? What is the motivation to provide the
rights and access to their content; for you to provide
an additional interface?'
`The question is whether or not the holdings of
museums, libraries and archives is a public good that
should be publicly accessible for free or whether they
should be a commercial actor and generate income,'
he insisted. Traugott Koch was placating. `It is a very
fundamental political discussion. We should not dare
to make any recommendations to these institutions
about what they should give away to other parties
independent of business models and what business
they are in.'
The argument about costs went on. Metadata
and index input could never be entirely automatic,
despite the beliefs of what Traugott Koch called `our
bosses and techie freaks ... and a lot of directors who
might still believe that they are only a few years away
from total automatic systems'.
Dr Ross feared that `without significant automat-
ed processes the metadata cost necessary to catalogue
these things is going to mean either outsourcing it to
China or finding ways to automate the processes.'
Traugott Koch left it, saying: `We know that
the decisions about business models and tasks are
dependent on the people who pay for it.'
And so, after this frosty moment, the Sixth Forum
closed amicably enough. The conversation ended, as
it had begun, with words from Traugott Koch. The
experts had offered all the advice and guidance they
could, but nothing altered the fact that cultural her-
itage would eventually have to come to terms with
the new facts of digital life. They had the Sixth Sense
to see that.