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Obviously, cultural heritage institutions increasingly regard outsourcing as an option.This
holds true especially for tasks that require special expertise or equipment, such as data reco-
very, mass digitisation or long term preservation, but also tasks that would lead institutions
too far away from their core business, such as authentication or online payment.
As it seems, traditional cultural heritage institutions do not consider themselves in
providing those kinds of services.To do so, they would need to work intensively with
intermediary institutions and enter into strategic partnerships with other organisations that
are able and willing to provide the missing functions to build high-end cultural heritage
services.
On the one hand, there should be strategic partnership with information technology
companies as Andrea De Polo, Archivo Fratelli Alinari, Italy, suggested. (DigiCULT Inter-
view, July 25, 2001) De Polo sees great potential in co-operation where IT companies
would support traditional memory institutions by turning them into showcases for
technology.The benefit would be mutual:While cultural heritage institutions could provide
high-end services, technology partners would receive helpful feedback and assessment of
their technology. On the other side, there is also great potential in strategic partnership that
involves small institutions that could team up with larger organisations, intermediaries or
regional service centres, which can provide dedicated staff, latest technology and
consultancy services.
Bruno Brunelli, responsible for multimedia services at major Italian IT-service provider
Finsiel, even is convinced that cultural heritage institutions should increasingly co-operate
with commercial companies, as he sees a clear separation of roles. Memory institutions
would provide their expertise, knowledge and scientific advice, as well as access to cultural
heritage resources, while the commercial aspect should be left to private companies. For
their effort, cultural heritage institutions should be reimbursed by private companies. In the
near future, enhancing the commercial aspect of providing cultural services, part of the
financial contribution should also come from private companies. (DigiCULT Interview,
June 26, 2001)
Co-operating with intermediaries and private companies could also minimise the risk,
especially for those institutions who are not big enough and do not have at their disposal
the necessary resources to develop such highly interactive, user-centred environments. As a
consequence, co-operation and collaboration with others seems to be the only viable
solution for those cultural heritage institutions that strive to play in this league.
The DigiCULT navigator to new tools for cultural heritage
For memory institutions to reach broader audiences they need to move beyond resource
discovery and offer services that also relate to people's lives.This means to use one's core
competencies, i.e. the knowledge and expertise of curators, librarians and archivists on
holdings and collections, to build knowledge-rich multimedia information resources that
provide explanation and guidance as well as additional context. In addition, cultural heritage
institutions need to provide the tools to enable users to create their own meaningful stories.
To generate those knowledge-rich, interactive multimedia services, memory institutions
need tools and systems that are interworkable.These tools and systems should integrate
people in collaboratively shared spaces that are both interactive, allowing a high degree of
user involvement and control, and intelligent, systems that are able to "learn". Finally, easy to
use tools and systems that respond to the needs of non-technical users.
Immersive interactive environments as one key area for museums, personalisation and
customisation tools, intelligent recommender systems, new forms of navigation support and
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