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The experts participating in the DigiCULT study identified a clear need for national
governments to develop a vision of cultural heritage responding to the need to provide a
diverse cultural heritage, and that takes into account both the changing social structures in
the Member States and the crumbling dominance of a traditional canon of high vs. low
culture. Similar to education, such a broad and open vision of culture could become a
driver for social integration by giving room to a diverse, multilingual, in many respects non-
traditional cultural heritage that acknowledges the plurality of cultures in our societies.
This implies the need to respond to the fact that nations themselves become increasingly
multilingual. In many European countries, there exist more than one official language. In
addition, any cultural heritage policy needs to acknowledge the fact, that in the digital era,
national governments are no longer acting in isolation, but within a global community.This
stresses the need for a multilingual approach in an increasingly global society that regards
globalisation not as a threat, but as a chance to communicate one's own national identity.
Clearly, such a vision of an increasingly diverse, plural and multilingual cultural heritage
has a direct impact on cultural heritage institutions, i.e. with regard to the selection policy
for digitising cultural heritage objects and how these objects are presented. As a result,
archives, libraries, museums and other actors in the cultural field have to come to terms
with the changing meanings of culture changes that will undoubtedly have consequences
for the general orientation and work of the memory institutions.
The DigiCULT navigator to cultural diversity and multilingualism
Memory institutions largely depend on political frameworks and clearly shaped national
cultural policies to realise the full value of (digital) cultural heritage resources.Yet, planning
and definition of concrete implementation programmes requires political vision.This vision
will set the parameters for possible action as it:
(re)defines the mission and core functions of memory institutions;
provides the criteria for selecting and digitising past, present and future cultural
heritage resources;
establishes the framework for future decisions of cultural organisations;
and, supplies best practice guidelines with respect to digitisation practices,
methodology, and project documentation.
However, the DigiCULT study found that such a vision is clearly lacking in many Euro-
pean Member States. It may be the role of the European Commission to help foster this
vision.
The European Union and national governments will need to develop a clear
vision concerning the future of the cultural heritage sector and its role in society.
This vision should address:
the role and value of cultural heritage in European society;
the criteria used for including or excluding resources from future cultural heritage
collections, such as issues of social inclusiveness, or the inclusion of new forms
of cultural expressions;
multilingual access as a means to communicate to an increasingly pluralistic society
and the global community;
the changing role, objectives and scope of the activities of cultural heritage institutions,
and, the position of education as part of cultural policy and as primary pillar within
the Information Society.
Such a vision would then form the basis for national governments to support cultural
heritage in the future.
VI NATIONAL POLICIES & INITIATIVES
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