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Cross-domain institutional co-operation
An important issue in EU initiatives and academic discussions is the need for enhanced
co-operation of archives, libraries, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions.There is
a general vision and expectation that the age of the domain-fixed institutions will come to
an end and that cultural institutions will co-operate with each other across domains with
regard for example to standards, digitisation, new services.This vision is in particular present
in what users increasingly expect to be able to find on the Internet. From the user's point-
of-view the traditional separation between archives, libraries and museums simply is a
barrier for efficient access to resources. Because users are not interested in institutions and
their different logic of how resources are catalogued, registered, etc., but in themes of
research and study that often encompass institutional borders.
Cross-domain co-operation in not easily achieved
While co-operation of institutions in the same field is most common, cross-domain co-
operation is not easily achieved. In fact, most institutions do not seem to be concerned with
cross-domain co-operation. A recent study on cross domain collaboration between libraries,
museums and archives (ALMs) in Europe, has brought clear results that co-operation with
institutions outside their own field of work is not a task that ranges high on the priority
lists.
The study, which had a European-wide perspective, found:"Currently, the ALM co-
operative efforts reveal to be finally not sufficient enough for the entirety of the European
countries (only 46 `projects' in progress, actually associating the three ALM institutions, were
able to be identified)." Causes for the neglect of co-operative efforts stem "mainly from the
breaking up of the entities and the widely diverse status of the different institutions.The
priorities retained put in the forefront those projects between institutions in the same field
and choices have to be made given the delays in the modernisation of the structures
themselves."The problems faced in coming to terms with one's own business seem to
contradict co-operation:"A vague conviction, even an objection to the existence of an
ALM collaboration, was expressed occasionally by certain professionals..." (European
Commission, 2000: p. 4+6)
Supporting factors
Although there might generally be a strong blockage to cross-domain co-operation,
there is much exclusion to this observation.Very active in building such co-operations are
for example the Northern countries, which have set up networks and projects that can be
seen as examples of good practice for other countries trying to establish cross-domain
collaboration.
Sweden: Cultural Heritage of the Industrial Era in Sweden
An interesting example for cross-domain co-operation with regard to theme and set up is
the initiative "Cultural Heritage of the Industrial Era in Sweden"
(<http://www.sou.gov.se/kulturarv/>).The initiative illustrates that cross-domain co-
operation can be stimulated if a thematic focus is set in which many institutions can buy
into.The initiative is funded and supervised by the Committee on the Cultural Heritage of
the Industrial Era in Sweden with financial resources of SEK 24.5 million for 1999-2001.
Norway: Netting local history
Started in August 1999, the Netting Local History project aims at a closer collaboration
between archives, libraries and museums by focusing on local history and making accessible
VII ORGANISATIONAL CHANGE
EXAMPLES