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The Cultural Olympiad
The Olympic Games are more than just
a sporting event. They are a major cul-
tural event and a major cultural forum.
The Cultural Olympiad http://www.cul-, is an initiative to pro-
mote cross-cultural events and activities
that are original and highlight co-operation
between cultures. They communicate the
notion of solidarity, peace and social cohe-
sion, are articulated both at national and
international levels, and seek to raise aware-
ness and mobilization.
The Open Access Model in Italy
The Italian situation on digitisation is char-
acterised by important national projects,
focused on converting analogue texts into
digital image formats, while higher edu-
cation and research institutions are in the
process of constructing many distributed
open access information databases. In Italy
only universities appear to be interested
in supporting and using the open access
model while libraries and cultural herit-
age institutions are unaware of it or do not
use it.
hy have digitisation projects in
higher education and research
institutions started using the open access
model? In order to address why this should
be the case one needs to ask what open
model digitisation really means for univer-
sities in Italy. This question has been the
subject of two recent seminars, the first
held in Parma on 22 November 2003,27
and the second in Florence on 10 February
Broader access
The importance of better modalities for the
searching out and retrieval of high-quality
articles and other digital material as aids to
learning is a key issue for Italian academia.
A broader level of access is the principal
aim of institutional databases held in Italy,
with the result that researchers want to
store literature such as technical reports and
annual departmental reports (low impact
publications) but also some articles and
learning objects.
he experience accumulated so far has
witnessed the involvement of university
libraries29 or at least the desire to integrate
institutional databases with university librar-
ies' OPAC, linking library catalogues and e-
print deposits. An interesting development
has been the trend towards the creation of
consortia for the provision of services based
on institutional deposits and the creation
of an infrastructure that is also available to
more narrowly based institutions with small
amounts of stored content. CILEA (http:// and CASPUR (http://www
., consortia of the North and the
Centre of Italy respectively, are two academic
consortia that have embarked on a collabora-
tive venture for the provision of this kind of
service. In this way, researchers can improve
the visibility and the impact of their results
at the national and international level.
nother trend is the creation of meta-
search engines, to allow the combined
searching of different databases using differ-
ent content management tools. An exam-
ple of a software toolkit of this kind is
OpenDLib (,
which has been developed by the inter-
national laboratory D-Lib Competence
Centre and the DELOS Network of
Excellence. The D-Lib group has test-
ed the software with about half a mil-
lion documents, including INRIA (Institut
National de Recherche en Informatique
et en Automatique) digital objects, e-print
archives of Florence, Bologna and Trento
universities, and CNR (National Council
of Research) institutional literature depos-
its. OpenDlib is not just a search engine
but also a value-added service offering ben-
efits such as preservation, access and access
control, open peer review, and personali-
sation of interfaces. It is the first example
of the re-use of digital objects in differ-
ent archives, offering the possibility of new
models of combined documents (such as
images and video with texts).
Most of the actual efforts for creating insti-
tutional deposits have been devoted to
technological infrastructure and there has
been a general lack of attention and care
paid to organisational and legal issues. This
is one of the principal reasons why Italian
institutional databases still lack content.
hen libraries have promoted the
setting up of e-prints databases they
have not had enough power to stimulate
27 `Biblioteche digitali per la ricerca e per la didatti-
ca', UniversitÓ di Parma in collaboration with Casa della
Musica, at:
28 `L`Archivio E-Prints dell`UniversitÓ di Firenze: pros-
pettive locali e nazionali', UniversitÓ di Firenze, at: http://
29 The universities involved in open access repositories are
Bologna, Firenze, Padova, Parma, Trento.