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I n t ro d u c i n g t h e Te c h n o l o g i e s
Selecting a Specification and Development Environment
Only the largest of cultural heritage institutions will be in a position to build their
own rights management solution from scratch. Standard, small-scale commercial packages
are still fairly thin on the ground. Off-the-shelf digital asset management (DAM) packages
are beginning to include DRM components, or allow them to be added on.
The legal
and technical issues involved demand a high degree of expertise, and substantial financial
investment. Collaborations between similarly sized and equally focused organisations may
offer a way forward for some institutions.
Shared portals may be the most effective
solution for the cultural heritage sector, and the use of Application Service Providers
(ASPs) should be investigated, as well as the potential of distributed, XML-compatible
Technological Infrastructure Issues
None of the technologies featured here require massive hardware investment for their
implementation. Most organisations will be able to run DRM software on their existing
systems.The difficulty is much more likely to be in selecting and implementing the
application solution for the task. Decision-makers must consider factors such as the scale
of their organisation, exactly what they wish to do with the new system, and the personnel
and finances that will be required to implement and maintain the application.These are
questions that can only be addressed on an individual basis, and advice should be sought
Staff and Policy Issues
The use of Digital Rights Management technology is inextricably linked with the
formulation of policy and best-practice approaches.The first DigiCULT report, Technological
Landscapes for Tomorrow's Cultural Economy, highlighted the fears held by managers of
cultural heritage organisations that the expenses incurred in the introduction and main-
tenance of a dedicated rights management strategy might outweigh the benefits.There is
not enough evidence from institutions that have adopted this technology to say either
way. It can be hoped that, once a DRM solution is in place, it will remain functional
(and even profitable) for many years, although it is likely it will require some maintenance.
In terms of interfacing, it should be borne in mind that the organisation is selling
two things: the licences to use protected content, and the system with which potential
Rights Management and
Payment Technologies
239 DigiCULT Technology Watch Report 1 features a section dedicated to Digital Asset Management software.
Readers are also invited to see the Artesia white paper (2001) at
for more technical information on the relationship between DAM and DRM.
240 See Manchester's Museums United,, for an example of such a venture.
241 See the section on the Application Service Model for a full analysis of the potential benefits of this approach for
the cultural and scientific heritage sectors.
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