The DigiCULT navigator to intermediary organisations
Intermediary organisations play an essential role in bringing the value of cultural
heritage to larger interest groups (e.g. scholars, learners, tourists) and the public at large.
Traditional memory institutions that seek to bring their hidden treasures into the
emerging digital cultural economy will not be effective enough to reach larger segments
of certain user communities (e.g. the educational sector or cultural heritage markets
related to tourism).This is due to a lack of marketing and technological capacities of
individual memory institutions (that also have no tradition of this type of work) and to
the necessary critical mass to generate markets and rich services that are needed to attract
and involve users.
Therefore, intermediary organisations that build user platforms and environments are of
critical importance to the cultural sector.They provide access to information resources of
many institutions (within and/or across sectors) as well as function as portals to (protected)
virtual environments that include digital collections.
Teaming up with intermediary organisations may considerably reduce the barriers to
entry for smaller institutions and provide a wide range of opportunities: from being present
in events calendars or news tickers up to participating with their collections in major
digitisation initiatives (depending on the aims and models of the existing intermediary
organisation in a country or region).
Cultural heritage institutions should actively participate in the consortia that
establish intermediary organisations and services.
In bringing cultural heritage resources to larger interest groups institutions and
intermediaries in the cultural heritage field can build on online services that already have
been established in the educational and tourist sector.To address for example the
educational community, they can interlink with the existing European and national
educational servers, as well as projects which aim to enhance the use of new media by
Cultural heritage institutions and intermediaries should interlink with
established educational and tourist sector services.
Unlocking the value of the cultural heritage sector into the Information Society will
demand huge efforts and investments in building new organisations and services that
support existing institutions in coming to terms with different issues that determine success
or failure in the digital environment.
In the discussions on the digital economy the concept of disintermediation (i.e the
elimination of intermediary organisations that stand between producers and users of
products and services) figures prominently, yet, to bring cultural heritage into this economy
will demand exactly building intermediaries that were missing in the old economy.
National governments, regional authorities and funding organisations should
actively support the establishment of intermediary organisations and services in
the cultural heritage sector and their co-operation with services in other sectors
as education and tourism.
VII ORGANISATIONAL CHANGE