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8 DigiCULT
T
OWARDS
THE
FUTURE
DIGITAL
HERITAGE
SPACE
: A
N
E
XPEDITION
I
n the past few months, DigiCULT has been on an
expedition. The target has been to bring home a
research and technological development (RTD) road-
map that outlines what may be expected in a future
digital heritage space. Routes should be found for
different RTD endeavours, the results of which, with-
in the next 10 to 15 years, may fall into place to cre-
ate such a space.
This Thematic Issue describes and summarises
what we have found. It is an expedition report.
Therefore, some observations need to be made with
respect to what it has revealed. First, it was a journey
in many directions, often into uncharted territories,
and we needed to sail fast. Secondly, we found many
islands, with very different islanders and views of the
future digital heritage space.
However, there is one clear message that may sum-
marise what we discovered. There is little likelihood
of a future digital heritage space being created unless
ways can be found to bring the different islands clos-
er together. At the end of the expedition report, we
give some recommendations on how this may be
achieved.
The expedition report is not written primarily for
researchers and technologists. Rather, it is intended
for boards and directors of heritage organisations, IT
project managers, and curators of digital collections,
virtual exhibitions and environments. It should pro-
vide them with an overview of innovative informa-
tion and communication technologies (ICT), systems
and applications that may be achieved in the next ten
years or so. It seeks to explain the enabling technol-
ogies that will be used, the breakthroughs that may
occur and the possible impacts that may shape and
re-shape the digital landscape in which heritage insti-
tutions reside.
Actually, it seems likely that their digital surround-
ings may develop much faster than these institutions
and cultural networks can adopt and employ, turning
them into blind spots in an emerging `ambient intel-
ligence' landscape, which would itself benefit from
an intelligent digital heritage space. Therefore, we
thought it useful and timely to provide the heritage
sector with a report that could also function as a tool.
Used as a tool, it may help cultural heritage insti-
tutions discuss and prepare their places in this land-
scape in order to become part of it in a conscious
and planned way. This could include opportunities to
participate in projects that develop `ambient intelli-
gence' services and applications, allowing them to be
among the first to attract on-site and online visitors
with compelling new cultural experiences.
T
HE
EXPEDITION
'
S
INSTRUMENTS
O
n our expedition we have used various instru-
ments to chart in more detail some of the ter-
ritories and islands visited:
One of the most valuable general maps is the
Ami@Life roadmap, which includes some sections on
cultural heritage and cultural participation in a future
Ambient Intelligence space. As these helped in decid-
ing some of the routes to take, we are including in
our report a summary of other major Ambient Intel-
ligence publications as well as a summary of the rele-
vant sections in the Ami@Life roadmap.
The next instrument was a large radar scanner,
which we used to find stable islands, as well as some
still floating, in the territory of basic RTD and near-
market technological development. These islands
may form a major basis for the future digital herit-
age space. However, as most of them do not use the
languages of the heritage territories, we are including
examples that illustrate their technologies in practi-
cal ways that heritage islanders may find interesting
I
NTRODUCTION
AND
O
VERVIEW
DCTHI7_271104.indd 8
06.12.2004 8:36:22 Uhr