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Launched in 2001, REGNET will set up a functional network of cultural service centres
through Europe which will provide IT-services dedicated to cultural heritage organisations.
A technical and legal framework, the REGNET system, for such a service infrastructure
will be developed.This will offer services like data entry, search and retrieval, and e-
Business. <http://www.regnet.org>
The DigiCULT navigator to supportive infrastructures for digitisation
Many cultural heritage institutions are not capable of setting up and managing sustainable
digital collections without outside assistance.This issue is particularly relevant with respect
to the collections of traditional archives, as well as the special collections in libraries and
museums.
While it may be the objective to unlock these treasures and make them more readily
available in the information and knowledge society, to do this in a sustainable fashion might
cost considerably more than smaller or medium sized institutions can afford.
There is also the question of whether or not the public purse can afford to finance a trial
and error approach that may result in unsustainable ventures in the cultural heritage sector.
Therefore, there is a clear need for specialised and well funded organisations that support
ALMs in setting up and managing digital collections (e.g. digitisation, collection manage-
ment, online registration of users, licensing and transactions).The model that drives inno-
vation will not so much be knowledge transfer but a splitting of functions.The memory
institutions and scholarly communities will provide the real value they can bring into the
Information Society: that is knowledge and expertise related to digitised objects, i.e.
descriptions (e.g. metadata), contextualisation, explanations and interpretations, and stories
that truly involve potential users.
Instead of funding individual digitisation projects of cultural heritage institu-
tions, national governments, regional authorities and other funding bodies
should invest in comprehensive digitisation programmes.
National governments, regional authorities and other funding bodies should
invest in specialised organisations that particularly support small and medium
sized cultural heritage institutions in setting up and managing digital collections
(e.g. digitisation, collection management, online registration of users, licensing,
and transactions).
Cultural heritage institutions should not individually attempt to address all the
problems involved in digitising and managing digitised cultural heritage, or
expect that they can solve them on the basis of a knowledge transfer model.
Cultural heritage institutions should split tasks with specialised organisations and focus on
providing the real value they can bring into the Information Society: knowledge and
expertise related to the digitised objects.
Cultural heritage institution should use a multi-tiered partnership and licensing
model that involves creators and owners of digital surrogates of cultural heritage
resources as well as distributors and licensees that address special user groups.
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VII ORGANISATIONAL CHANGE
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