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DigiCULT 11
H
owever, some reservations
need to be made. Digi-
CULT's expedition roadmap can
to a certain degree be a useful
tool for the purposes mentioned,
but it cannot serve all the objec-
tives one would like to address
in the context of RTD planning.
Often roadmaps are overloaded
with expectations of what they
should allow for and, in conse-
quence, deliver poorly on them.
Such expectations may also seek
to discuss the societal and poli-
cy implications of the expected
RTD results, or to identify, pre-
pare the ground for and even
mobilise stakeholders and con-
sortia to target key RTD chal-
lenges. Furthermore, even clear
statements on specific appli-
cations, new products or services, and their likely
uptake by businesses or consumers, are often sought.
The expedition report addresses the first two issues
only as side issues. Instead, it accompanies the core
perspective on RTD with a view on the requirements
and likelihood of heritage organisations adopting cer-
tain types of existing and future ICT applications.
This view and the related assessments are given on
pp. 72-74.
It may also be worth considering whether there
really are RTD challenges specific or even unique
to the heritage sector organisations such as libraries,
archives, museums and galleries and heritage sites. It
is widely understood that these have specific demands
stemming from their functions, particularly if they
have the mandates of national libraries or archives
in a rapidly expanding digital environment.
5
To col-
lect, make accessible, manage and preserve growing
numbers of culturally valuable and increasingly com-
plex digital objects for future generations poses major
RTD issues, if not a `grand challenge'.
6
Another area of major RTD challenges is the cre-
ation of new systems and applications that foster and
support mediation of the rich cultural heritage and
cultural knowledge from one generation to the next.
Such technologies will need to form a major part of
the future digital heritage space. In particular, there is
a need for knowledge systems and applications based
on ontologies and other concepts that allow sys-
tems to understand and process information on cul-
tural expressions and the manifold relations between
them. As such expressions are particularly rich in ide-
as and meanings, the cultural domain may well be the
hardest test-bed for pure research activities in seman-
tic systems. Considering also the evolution through-
out history of the different discourses and contexts
in which cultural heritage objects have been embed-
ded, there are many further RTD challenges that are
of key importance to the inherently multi-disciplinary
Arts & Humanities and related scholarly fields.
The above does not try to address what the next
user generations may expect to experience when
engaged with cultural heritage within the larg-
er framework of cultural participation. While the
IT-based cultural industry players such as Sony and
Microsoft invest vast amounts of money concentrat-
ing on the `look and feel' of games and adventure-
driven immersive experiences, the stakes are even
higher for engaging virtual cultural heritage expe-
riences within reconstructions of historic envi-
ronments, for instance - which could contain a
rich measure of informal learning and knowledge
acquisition.
These are merely some areas of RTD needed to
progress from simple forms of accessing cultural herit-
age information to new environments for knowledge-
driven uses and experiences.
7
The novel systems and
applications that could build on RTD results should
lead to new levels of creative exploitation for cul-
tural heritage alongside Arts & Humanities resources
and knowledge within a future digital space. In a lat-
er chapter we will address this from the perspective of
heritage organisations, describing their key roles in the
relevant RTD activities (pp. 21-23).
5
As a major `global'
reference point, see also
the UNESCO Charter on
the Preservation of the Digital
Heritage (adopted on 17
October 2003), http://
portal.unesco.org/en/
ev.php-URL_ID=17721&
URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&
URL_SECTION=201.
html; also their
Guidelines
for the Preservation of Digital
Heritage http://unesdoc.
unesco.org/images/0013/
001300/130071e.pdf
6
A `grand challenge' is a
visionary goal of research
that is not obviously pos-
sible but holds the potential
for a significant advance
in human knowledge
and capabilities. However,
incremental progress in
research and development
would not succeed. Major
investments and long-term
and coordinated inter-disci-
plinary collaboration would
be needed. For further
information, see, among
many other examples, the
UK Grand Challenges
Exercise in the area of
computing research, http://
www.nesc.ac.uk/esi/events/
Grand_Challenges/
7
In addition to our
discussion of what makes
RTD in digital heritage
`specific', see the ideas of
David Arnold: "Mapping
the future: Intelligent
Heritage - The research
perspective" (28-01-2003),
http://www.cordis.lu/ist/
directorate_e/digicult/pub-
lications.htm; Flavio Tariffi:
"Intelligent Heritage:
The industry perspective"
(28-01-2004). http://www.
cordis.lu/ist/directorate_e/
digicult/publications.htm;
and the consultation report
"Review and update of
the IST Work Programme
for the period 2005-06:
WP 2003-2004 Strategic
Objective 2.3.1.12:
Technology-enhanced
learning and access to
cultural heritage" (31 Mai
2004), ftp://ftp.cordis.
lu/pub/ist/docs/
consultation_report_
2-3-1-12.pdf
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