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Strengthening regions
The DigiCULT study found that there is a changing trend from a centralised to a
decentralised approach, with regions becoming more actively involved in cultural heritage
projects. ALM institutions are developing a vast array of digitisation projects, all regionally
defined and sometimes in concert with local authorities.This is in the context of local and
regional heritage, as well as educational and tourist development plans.The central cultural
authorities more often focus on providing support services and technical advice on these
projects. As well, central cultural authorities attempt to define standards so that there is
interoperability between projects for ease of access.
Both in Europe and in North America we can see that there is a trend towards a
decentralised model with a common methodology for digitisation, but with the initiative in
the cultural heritage inventory coming from regions and local authorities.The central
(among others) becomes the arbitrator or reference point on the actions of the regions and
local authorities. However, due to economies of scale, there is a tendency for centralised
housing of digital collections from the regions.
With regards to strengthening regions, the experts participating in the DigiCULT study
identified urgent need to stimulate co-operation between cultural heritage institutions, and
encourage projects where small institutions could piggy-back with experienced cultural
organisations in common projects to foster knowledge transfer. National governments
should actively foster these kinds of (cross-sector) collaboration by making co-operation a
funding requirement for projects. In addition, project success could also be measured in
terms of successful knowledge transfer between participating institutions.This issue of
building the "co-operation capital" within small institutions is described in more detail
in the Chapter 7, Organisational Change.
The DigiCULT navigator to a participatory heritage
With up to 95 percent of European cultural heritage institutions being small entities,
valorisation and exploitation by means of information technologies also means enabling
these institutions to participate by setting up supportive organisations and virtual infra-
structures (e.g. networks, platforms, and more advanced environments). Both in Europe and
in North America we can see that there is a trend towards a decentralised model with a
common methodology for digitisation, but with the initiative in the cultural heritage
inventory coming from regions and local authorities. It can be expected that the success of
this model will become increasingly evident. More and more European countries will see
that the way to unlock the value of cultural heritage is to expand the number of digitised
collections and providing for their access and to support small cultural heritage institutions
by providing centralised centres of expertise.
It can also be expected that central governments will increasingly focus on providing
new and established centres of expertise, advice and assistance as well as standards
information and ensuring the wide access and use of this information.These organisations
and infrastructures would primarily fulfil two functions: On the one hand, they serve as
information transfer centres that provide training and further support small institutions with
developing the skills of their staff. On the other hand, such infrastructures would allow small
institutions to become more visible in the information society and "market" their activities,
collections, services and products.
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VI NATIONAL POLICIES & INITIATIVES