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Digitization of Cultural Heritage

Digitization of Cultural Heritage

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by Aida Vežić
by Aida Vežić

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The views expressed in this essay are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views

of MDG-F Programme Culture for Development or implementing agencies.

Digitization of the Cultural Heritage
by Aida Vežić

What is the Cultural Heritage (CH)?
Term heritage refers to “the study of human activity not only through the recovery of remains, as is the case with archeology, but also through tradition, art and cultural evidences, narratives, etc.”1 Definition of the CH has been transformed from the one adopted in the “Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage in 1972”2 where CH encompasses “monuments, groups of buildings and sites with historical, aesthetic, archaeological, scientific, ethnological or anthropological value” to a definition where CH includes every “outstanding demonstration of human coexistence with the land as well as human interactions, cultural coexistence, spirituality and creative expression“3.

Digitization of the CH
Digitization, in its simplest form, represents conversion of the information from an analogue to a digital form. In recent years, the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the area of CH has become increasingly important. It all started when development of information technologies and computer graphics from the 1960’s onwards started to impact many unrelated disciplines, including archeology, archival science, library and information science and museology. When World Wide Web (WWW) was established in 1990’s, it completely changed the way in which CH is and could be presented. Internet was the media channel that enabled distribution of information to the unexpected limits. “Digitization of cultural heritage refers to the dynamic and evolving interdisciplinary domain that encompasses philosophical, social, cultural, economic and managerial aspects and consequences of management of cultural heritage in the technological environment.”4 Although each conversion from analogue to digital form means loss of data, digitization offers many benefits:  Digitized CH can be viewed regardless of the physical location and time

Roussou, M. (2000). Virtual Heritage: From the Research Lab to the Broad Public. VAST2000 Euroconference. BAR International Series 1075, page 91-100. Arezzo, Italy: Oxford, Archaeopress. 2 Text of the Convention is available at http://whc.unesco.org/archive/convention-en.pdf accessed on 18 May 2010 3 Global Strategy for a Balanced, Representative and Credible World Heritage List http://whc.unesco.org/en/globalstrategy accessed on 18 May 2010 4 European Curriculum Reflections on Library and Information Science Education, http://www.library.utt.ro/LIS_Bologna.pdf accessed on 18 May 2010
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exploring architectural sites trough space and time.htm accessed on 25 May 2010 7 Europe’s Digital Competitiveness Report . It also has a major role in making CH available for the future generations and protecting it from the inevitable vanishing. set of new challenges for a New Digital Agenda was defined including “Using ICT to improve the quality of life of EU citizens by unlocking the storehouses of Europe’s cultural heritage and bringing it online. manipulating digital objects) Preserves CH by allowing research without physical access and handling  EU Policy Framework Since the European Commission presented initiative i2010 .pdf accessed on 18 May 2010 6 The strategy is now coming to an end and is going to be followed by a new initiative – the Digital Agenda – in 2010. Text of the communication is available at http://ec.eu/information_society/eeurope/i2010/docs/communications/com_229_i2010_3 10505_fv_en. Thus.minervaeurope.htm#EDCR accessed on May 25 2010 8 http://www. More information can be found at http://ec.europa. all previous projects and initiatives related to digitization of CH got the right direction and were placed into the larger picture for digitization.    Dissemination of information/knowledge is almost unlimited Searching is performed more rapidly and comprehensively Increases use of collections and facilitates learning about CH in a way that would be impossible in a physical world (examination of the fragile manuscripts.The views expressed in this essay are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MDG-F Programme Culture for Development or implementing agencies. digitization is perceived as an important mean of ensuring greater access to Europe’s diverse and multilingual heritage. This initiative played an important role in ensuring that digitization efforts coming from Member states are not fragmented and exclusive to those states with easier access to costly ICT technologies necessary for this process. as an EU policy framework for the information society and media. online accessibility and digital preservation of Europe’s collective memory6.europa. Based on the experiences of the i2010 initiative.org/ 5 2 .europa.Main achievements of the i2010 strategy 2005-2009 http://ec.eu/information_society/eeurope/i2010/key_documents/index_en. provides high quality public services and promotes quality of life” with the concrete policy measure that will insure that all citizens benefit from Europe's lead in ICT.A European Information Society for growth and employment”5 in 2005. eContentplus Supporting the European Digital Library8. Digitization was specifically emphasized in the third objective of the i2010 initiative “An Information Society that is inclusive. The general objectives of the network are: Improve accessibility to and visibility of European digital cultural resources.“7 One of the most important projects supporting i2010 initiative is MINERVA EC MInisterial NEtwoRk for Valorising Activities in digitisation.eu/information_society/eeurope/i2010/index_en.

The views expressed in this essay are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MDG-F Programme Culture for Development or implementing agencies. Facilitate exploitation of cultural digital resources. Contribute to increasing interoperability between existing networks. Promote the use of digital cultural resources by business and citizens. - Support the development of the European Digital Library for accessing cultural resources.9 Major points related to the CH content are:      Create digital single market se Europeans can access cultural and commercial content across borders Promote and protect cultural diversity by using digital media as a distribution channel Strengthen EUROPEANA Financing large-scale digitization projects and translation of the content Include private partners provided they allow a general accessibility of Europe's common cultural heritage online. 9 Europe's Digital Agenda.europa.eu/information_society/digital-agenda/index_en. They are constantly updated and edited and a source of valuable knowledge and inspiration for all practitioners and theoreticians. which are divided into the following areas.htm 3 . I2010 initiative is followed by A Digital Agenda for Europe. http://ec. respecting and protecting the creators’ rights. Reinforce the European position in the global market competition. The main outcome of the project has been production of numerous respectable guidelines for digitization and presentation of the CH. each of which reflects a stage in the life-cycle of a digitization project: Digitization Project Planning Selecting Source Material for Digitization Preparation for Digitization Handling of Originals The Digitization Process Preservation of the Digital Master Material Meta-data Publication IPR and Copyright Managing Digital Projects These guidelines are based on the experience collected from many digitization projects throughout Europe and worldwide. providing clear rules for their use and re-use.

europa.eu/information_society/activities/digital_libraries/index_en. as part of the i2010 policy12.org/ http://www. the Network exists to encourage and facilitate the setting-up of projects and partnerships.net/sdx/herein/ 12 http://ec.european-heritage. The idea for the creation of virtual European library was developed from the i2010 strategic goal to make Europe's cultural and scientific resources available for all. Although we can find recommendation for cooperation between public and private sector to create new http://www. EUROPEANA EUROPEANA is a Thematic Network funded by the European Commission under the eContentplus program.htm accessed on 25 May 2010 10 11 4 . including countries bordering the European Union. young people.The views expressed in this essay are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MDG-F Programme Culture for Development or implementing agencies. Membership in the Network includes 37 countries with representation from 26 European countries plus new 11 members from the extension project. It is an international catalyst for initiatives and an ideal “meeting place” for the heritage family and a number of professions and persons active in this sphere who are looking for ways to improve their co-operation.pulmanweb. The European Heritage Network11 The European Heritage Network is a permanent information system bringing together governmental services in charge of heritage protection within the Council of Europe. It is strategically placed and strives to stimulate and promote best practice in the digital services and practices of public libraries and cultural organizations at the local and regional level throughout Europe and neighbouring countries. in public libraries and cultural organizations which operate at local and regional level. etc). research workers. The European heritage Network focuses on CH. heritage managers. members of associations. Best EU Practices PULMAN Network 10 The PULMAN Network of Excellence has the mission to stimulate and promote sharing of policies and practices for the digital era. particularly on architectural and on archaeological heritage in the context of: The European Cultural Convention (1954) The Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe (1985) The European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (1992) The European Landscape Convention (2000) Widely accessible (to conservation professionals.

prestoprime. It peak serves 1. delivered through a networked Competence Centre.bhl-europe. EUROPEANA Regia17.carare. galleries. CH became private and often restricted to broad public. To become and aggregator for the EUROPEANA. Bosnia and Herzegovina is still not a part of the EUROPEANA project. Cultural and scientific content available at EUROPEANA is provided by a huge list of partner organizations creating central index of metadata for over 10 million digital objects accessible through a web portal available in all EU languages. This will result in a range of tools and services. the institution/organization must ensure digital objects created upon specific standards and guidelines. Once digitized. Kultura. 13 5 . programmes and collections. archives and the media.The views expressed in this essay are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MDG-F Programme Culture for Development or implementing agencies. This is essential for smaller institutions that lack funding to make their digital collections available. Fortunately.eu/ 14 Scran is a charity & online learning resource base with over 360. 19 The Croatian Cultural Heritage project is a national project for the digitisation of archival. CARARE brings together heritage agencies and organisations.000 images & media from museums. multilingual and user-oriented service for all European citizens. improve its accessibility and visibility. and promote a systematic and even approach to the digitisation of holdings in cultural institutions. currently available only on the web sites or portals related to the CH. Originally known as the European digital library network – EDLnet – it is a partnership of 100 representatives of heritage and knowledge organizations and IT experts from throughout Europe. the European Digital Library as a truly interoperable. and find ways to increase access by integrating the media archives with European on-line digital libraries in a digital preservation framework.scran. National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina has become a member of this project.1 million hits per day. EUROPEANAConnect18. They contribute to the Work Packages that are solving the technical and usability issues. http://www.ac. http://www. archaeological museums and research institutions and specialist digital archives from all over Europe to establish a service that will make digital content for Europe's unique archaeological monuments and historic sites interoperable with Europeana.org/ 16 The Biodiversity Heritage Library for Europe.uk/ 15 PrestoPRIME will research and develop practical solutions for the long-term preservation of digital media objects.hr19 and others. PrestoPRIME15. in many cases it resulted in privatizing digital objects and restricting it. library and museum material. http://www. Being a part of such a network insures visibility of CH of a country on European level. The main idea is to use the content. http://www.eu/ 17 A digital collaborative library of royal manuscripts in Medieval and Renaissance Europe 18 EuropeanaConnect is a Best Practice Network whose overall objective is objective is to deliver core components which are essential for the realisation of Europeana. BHLEurope16. SCRAN14. It is intended to encourage the creation of new digital contents. and create services to bring the content to where the users are. ways of funding for digitization of cultural material. but to develop its own strategy for inclusion to EUROPEANA and get valuable information about development and resources of this portal. not to provide the content. There are several projects and organizations submitting different types of content to EUROPEANA and some of them are CARARE13.

met.gov. the highest importance is given to overcoming existing “informatization gap” in BIH.ba/Aktuelno/ZEP/broj91. but somehow it does not include digitization of the CH. They have recognized importance of inclusion of their national CH in EU frame as a way of protecting their own identity within current globalization processes.201020. Making information freely available to everyone is a condition for developed society. Legal framework necessary for the development of informatization society includes the following21:        Law on Electronic Documents (does not exist) Law on Electronic Signatures22 E-commerce Law (does not exist) Law on Communications23 Law on Electronic Media (does not exist) Law on Standardization24 Law on Copyright and Related Rights25 Action plan was adopted on the 69th meeting of the Council of Ministers which was held on 16 November 2004. Text is available at http://www. 91/06). Unfortunately. Digitization of the CH in Bosnia and Herzegovina Complex administrative structure of Bosnia i Herzegovina with two entities and ten highly autonomous cantons has not proved to be a very fertile field for creation of a national strategy for digitization of cultural and natural heritage. as it is the foundation of the development of BIH and the process of European integrations. the importance of overcoming the “digital divide” is set as one of the priorities.ba/bs/legal/?cid=2428 accessed on 20 May 2010 24 Zakon o standardizaciji (Službeni glasnik BiH.sllist.htm accessed on 20 May 2010 23 Zakon o komunikacijama (Službeni glasnik BiH.ecos. Pravni i komercijalni aspekti digitalizacije kulturne baštine 22 Zakon o elektronskom potpisu (Službeni glasnik BiH. Even in the new Strategy for the Development of Science in BiH 2010-2015.pdf accessed on 20 May 2010 20 6 . 19/01).ba/Templates/Akcioni_plan_razvoja_ID_u_BiH. little has been done in practice as these strategies are too wide and do not cover the problematic of digitization of CH. These strategic documents highlight that the transformation of the educational system and inclusion of ICT technologies in education has to become political priority. In the Strategy for the development of Science in BIH. Two basic documents are Strategy for the Development of Information Society in BIH 2004 – 2010 and Action plan for the development of information society in Bosnia and Herzegovina 2004 .cra. Text is available at http://www. Text is available at http://www.The views expressed in this essay are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MDG-F Programme Culture for Development or implementing agencies. Croatia is a bright example in the region where digitization process has been initiated and supported trough National Digitization Project since 2005.pdf2004-2010 accessed on 1 June 2010 21 Ivan Gagić. Text is available at http://www. Without Ministry of Culture on a national level. it is going to be very hard to fight the battle for ensuring necessary legal framework for digitization and creating related strategies and action plans. 31/03).ba/propisi/Zakon%20o%20standardizaciji%20BiH_19_01.

digitization of 890 oriental manuscripts was implemented and digital objects now wait for the second phase of the digitization – organizing of a digital collection. many institutions have already started digitization projects.gov.NUBBiH .gov.The views expressed in this essay are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MDG-F Programme Culture for Development or implementing agencies. technical and professional possibilities are preventing it from the development of the strategy for digitization of the heritage material in museums of BIH.National Museum of BIH has implemented co-operational project with Media Centar of digitization of the oldest scientific journal in BIH “Glasnik Zemaljskog muzeja BiH” Other important examples are: .ba/ 30 Ismet Ovčina .pdf accessed on 20 May 27 Zakon o slobodi pristupa informacijama u Bosni i Hercegovini (Službeni glasnik BiH.ba/Org/ZakonOZastitiLicnihPodataka. DKKBiH 2010 31 http://www.ba/index_files/Page3158.ombudsmen.ba/ba/katalog/pregled/zakon-o-autorskom-pravu-i-srodnim-pravima accessed on 20 May 2010 26 Zakon o zaštiti ličnih podataka (Službeni glasnik BiH. aware of the quantity of work ahead of them and importance of this process. 45/02). In cooperation with Gazi Husrev Bey’s Library. 32/01).arhivtk. this institution digitized the oldest examples textbooks in BIH and several journals that survived the latest war activities were digitized such as Bosanski vjesnik.fbihvlada.ipr.htm accessed on 20 May 2010 29 http://www. Bright examples are: National and University Library in Bosnia and Herzegovina29 In recent years. financing. Bosna.ba/ 32 More information (only in Bosnian) is available at http://www.rs. Legal status of the institution. .Digitization of the film archive of Bosnia and Herzegovina is implemented by the Slovenian production company "Restart". Digitization project in archive of Tuzla with more than 1182 digitalized documents since 2008. 28/00).zemaljskimuzej.pdf accessed on 20 May 28 Zakon o arhivskoj građi Federacije Bosne i Hercegovine (Službene novine Federacije. Text is available at http://www. Text is available at http://www.32 Zakon o autorskom pravu i srodnim pravima u BiH (Službeni glasnik BiH.ba/ZOSPI/ZOSPI-RS.nub.htm.    Law on Protection of Personal Data26 Act on the Right of Access to Information27 Law on Archival Material28 (exists only for Federation entity) While waiting for establishment national strategies and legal framework to operate in.fzs. Text is available at http://www.potreba i mogućnost uključivanja u Evropsku Digitalnu biblioteku.ba/bosanski/zakoni/2002/zakoni/50_bos. 07/02). Text is available at http://www. Sarajevski cvjetnik i Neretva.com. Another important project is digitization of Jewish periodicals from 1900-1941 which covers sources from ex-Yu region.30 The National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina31 This institution is the oldest scientific and cultural institution in the country and is supposed to be the reference for the best practices for digitization and preservation of CH. accessed on 10 June 2010 25 7 .

Bosnia and Herzegovina needs to take serious approach in the area of digitization of the CH. could provide necessary funding. squares. social rituals. galleries. Telling new stories from old material has never been more easy and popular. urban spaces (such as monuments. Digitization is the most efficient and effective way to allow access not just to cultural heritage but to the storied behind it. industrial zones and different types of neighbourhoods) and skills (crafts. libraries and other cultural facilities). - Several interdisciplinary digitization projects related to architectural heritage. invisible for the public and unpreserved for generations to come. design). Through the implementation of projects.The views expressed in this essay are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MDG-F Programme Culture for Development or implementing agencies. protect and promote cultural heritage. Digitalized cultural content will inevitably lead to the democratization of access to cultural amenities and the development of information society. that has to be in charge of cultural heritage. religious buildings. it is necessary to be aware of the cultural infrastructure (museums. but what is most important is to know how to best tell the stories (narratives. based on the EU recommendations from e-Europe 2005 program. feasts and other) to city’s inhabitants and visitors. Luckily. In order to enable self-identification process of any locality (region. Lacking the overall national strategy and legal framework for this process. - Ways Ahead Cultural resources consist of infrastructure. digitization process can open new employment opportunities for young professionals. Bosnia and Herzegovina could take advantage of not being the first in this field and use numerous examples of good practices and recommendations that exist worldwide. However. At this point. archives. legends. which is integral part of European and World Heritage. we are deemed to stay far behind current European trends and make our CH. village) and to redefine the cultural offer of that place. carnivals. The steps to be taken (based on the examples from the region and EU) are following: 8 . theatres. skills and narratives. space. fashion. ceremonies. The stories that could be told offer education and entertainment that we expect from the culture. lead by Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Sarajevo School of Science and Technology Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia i Herzegovina who was awarded with the EC award Europa Nostra in a Category 3: Dedicated Service for its contribution in building sustainable peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina by incorporating CH into the process of reconciliation and rebuilding civic trust despite lack of funding and weak legal system. Co-operation with public sector. city. in Bosnia and Herzegovina we are witnessing the emergence of experts and teams that are using information technology to preserve.

organisational management. high quality and easily available digital content. improve its accessibility and visibility. and promote systemic and balanced approach to digitization of cultural institutions in accordance with known principles and priorities defined at the national level. In 2007-2008 she conducted the policy research in Bosnia and Herzegovina that resulted with the Policy Study and Policy Brief on the topic “The Role of Civil Society Organisations in the European Integrations Process in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. strategic planning. It is going to be long. - - The road in front of us is wide and clear. - Definition of the basic standards for digitization of CH. but very exiting process! About Author: Aida Vežić graduated at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Sarajevo and received master diploma (cum laude) from the programme Cultural Projects for Development at the University of Torino and International Labour Organisation. institutional capacity. NGO with expertise in capacity building programs and network development. and planned. and according to established norms and standards Create new services and communication channels based on digitalized content. Aida is currently National Policy Mentor for 9 . environmental and democratisation nongovernmental organisations. and related topics. according to current and pre-defined rules of use Support creation of new. legal and strategic framework for the digitization of CH and strategic documents for coordination of digitization of CH in Europe Improve co-operation within existing cultural and educational institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and region Improve the resources. Since 2000 she is in the management team of Association for Democratic Initiatives. and the selection of appropriate equipment and practices that will enable the digitization process in the framework of existing. participation of civil society organisations in the policy development. As a free lance consultant Aida is conducting trainings on project cycle management. Aida is member of several cultural. sharing knowledge and experiences Raise the awareness about the importance of application of digitization and ICT usage in all areas of CH Define measures to ensure long term protection and utilization of digitized and other digital content and prevent its misuse Increase the accessibility of CH through digitization.The views expressed in this essay are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MDG-F Programme Culture for Development or implementing agencies.

10 . About the MDG-F Programme: The Programme Culture for Development is a three-year programme funded by the Spanish Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund which is being implemented in partnership of three UN Agencies: UNDP. Ministry of Education and Culture of RS. The Programme started in January 2009.The views expressed in this essay are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MDG-F Programme Culture for Development or implementing agencies. the UNDP Strategic Planning and Policy Development (SPPD) programme and essay writer for MDG-F Culture and Development. in cooperation with the Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH. UNICEF and UNESCO. as well as other institutions working in the area of education and culture. Ministry of Culture and Sports of FBiH.

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