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V I . 6
U n d e r s t a n d i n g n e w t a r g e t g ro u p s :
E d u c a t i o n a s a f u t u re d r i ve r o f t h e
c u l t u ra l h e r i t a g e s e c t o r
What is the purpose of creating, collecting and maintaining cultural heritage resources
and how will they be used in the future? For the experts participating in the DigiCULT
study it is clear, that any cultural heritage policy needs to formulate a vision about the
purpose and future use of cultural resources that serves as referential framework for future
decision making. Otherwise, national governments run the risk of spending ever more
money on digitisation projects that may produce masses of digital material that remains
unused. As Hans Petschar, Austrian National Library, states:"What does this mean at the
level of national policy? It means that digitisation projects need to have a clear goal.Why
should we digitise, if there is not a clear policy of what we want to do with the digitised
images? Why then bother to digitise at all?" (DigiCULT ERT,Vienna, June 25-26, 2001)
Educational pull
Although there exist many different purposes for future use that may justify the
investment, the experts participating in the DigiCULT Study stressed the importance of
education as the most promising and therefore most significant area of future use. Because
knowledge becomes obsolete more quickly in the Information Society it is now apparent
that Europe's population should expect that learning will not end with the termination of
school life but will more likely be a life-long experience. Cultural heritage information is
high on the list of interests of individual for learners. Accordingly, when making decisions
on priority areas for education, re-education and upgrading, national governments should
not neglect the importance of cultural heritage information.
Therefore, education should become the focus of every digitisation policy and a central
point in every cultural heritage policy. For example, when selecting material for digitisation
and producing new cultural heritage resources, memory institutions should follow a multi-
purpose approach focusing on education.This kind of "education pull" should always be a
part of the strategy.
To Mark Jones, Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, UK, comments that
education is so important that it should also become part of the core business of every
cultural heritage institutions:"ALM resources are vastly undervalued and underused as an
educational resource. It's not all about money. ALMs should be doing this as part of their
core business, it improves collection management as well as access." (DigiCULT Interview,
August 9-10, 2001)
Although there are many individual projects and initiatives that try to build a bridge
between culture and education, concrete national policies that address this issue are rare.
Two initiatives that stand as examples in bringing culture and education closer together are
"Culture Online" in the UK and "Education Online" in the Netherlands.
Culture Online: The digital bridge between culture and learning (UK)
In September 2000, the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)
announced the creation of a new, central "body" with the working name of Culture
Online, with the aim to establish a network of cultural heritage resources and know-how
that would deliver the riches of museums, libraries and archives to learners of all ages.
Although this central body does not exist yet, the national policy "Culture Online" conveys
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VI NATIONAL POLICIES & INITIATIVES