Strategies for creating and sustaining digital services should be user-driven, but are often policy-driven.
Digitisation has changed the relationship between heritage institutions and their user groups, but this is not yet fully reflected in EU, national or institutional policies. These are still very much driven by a 'push' perspective, where the interests of the policy makers and institutions come first, and they ignore the interactive role of the users to create cultural value. Strategies for creating and sustaining digital services should be user-driven, but are often policy-driven. It is a common concern of all parties involved to invest in a new public space where digital cultural data can live and be used.
There are powerful opportunities for bottom up approaches in this new public space. There are already rich information systems built through user fora on culture (e.g. amateurs, cinefiles etc.), and these opportunities are unsufficiently addressed by both policy makers and cultural institutions. Is the cultural heritage sector fully aware of the potential of opening up cultural data? In EU project schemes there is hardly any room to set up grass roots projects, as project funding is highly institutionalised. Enthousiasm among young people is expected to be a major driving force in the future for entrepreneurship. This is not driven by policies or strategies, it is just happening. Mobile technologies enable virtual meeting spaces for these enthousiasts. How does this relate to the more traditional meeting spaces, the museums, archives and libraries? We need more organic (or overarching) forms of collaborations to support this kind of open innovation.
One may even state that there is a fundamental problem in the current framework, as is demonstrated in the discussions about copyright. It is getting more and more obvious that copyright in the digital age requires new laws and a new way of thinking about creativity and re-use. The same goes for the discussion about public/private partnerships. It is actively promoted that cultural heritage institutions try to find new business models and collaborate with private parties. However, we also see that cultural institutions are often restricted by non-disclosure agreements in such PPP's. How do we collectively handle our shared interests and create good conditions for all instead of one or two parties?
The theme "Building a new public space' addresses strategies for sustaining and using digital cultural data in the public domain in order to support the growth of a new public space. This encompasses a discussion of our experiences with policy development, international collaboration and open innovation. We will discuss good and bad practices and specific examples like i2020 and Europeana for the heritage sector. We welcome contributions about efforts to support and strengthen international collaborations and services both among institutions and user communities.
Topics addressed in this theme are:
- Cultural data as public data
- Individual and community enthusiasm as an economic force
- Rights framework
- Conditions for public/private partnerships
- Europeana: from a centralised portal to a distributive service
- Lessons learned from European digital projects
- Opportunities to improve international collaboration by involving user communities
Theme coördinator: Marco de Niet