background image
Clearly, in such an environment, providing access to databases can only be the first step
towards the higher goal of unlocking the true value of our rich cultural heritage resources.
As Marc Jones, Director and Chief Executive of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London,
UK, said:"The ability to search across different databases is not enough. (...) The model that
suggests that all we need is access to the information, images, etc. is profoundly deficient.
For that access to make sense there has to be an active process of understanding the needs of
different types of users and meeting those needs (...) from the very start.The ability to
search the National Gallery, the Louvre and the National Gallery of Art at the same time
will not provide the kind of crafted information and selected pathways that will re-assure
users that their is someone out there that understands what they want and has thought
about how to provide it.What I mean is the difference between masses of raw data and
carefully structured data allowing different kinds of users to find their way around it."
(DigiCULT Interview, August 9-10, 2001)
What becomes clear is that providing access can actually only provide the first step in a
four layer model for bringing cultural heritage resources and the knowledge resting within
cultural heritage institutions to the attention of a broader public.
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IX TECHNOLOGY
Analogue
Analogue
Analogue
Analogue
Digital
Digital
Digital
Digital
Finding Aids,
Catalogues,
Registers
Databases
Paintings,
sculptures,
records,
books,...
Digitised
objects
Born-digital
resources
Recommendation,
explanation,
narration
Context
Contribution,
exhibition,
manipulation
Transaction /
Interaction
environments
Provide user
personalisation
& community
Provide expert
knowledge
& creativity
Provide objects
Provide access
+ VALUE
Unlocking the value: core functions
of cultural heritage organisations
Provide long-term access
(preservation of digital objects)
Source: Salzburg Research, 2001