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BRICKS - Building Resources for Integrated Cultural Knowledge Services

BRICKS offers cultural institutions, digital content providers, and digital collection curators a complete framework to manage, exploit and share digital resources throughout a worldwide network in a secure and cost effective manner.

Project website

Project type: Integrated Project
Start Date: 1 January 2004
Duration: 42 months
Funding: € 7 000 000
Number of Partners: 23
Project co-ordinator: Engineering - Ingegneria Informatica SpA, Italy
Contact: (email removed)

Project description

The idea driving the BRICKS project was a new generation of 'digital libraries', to be read as a comprehensive term covering digital museums, digital archives and other kinds of digital memory systems. Technologically, this should be based on a 'European Digital Memory' platform; organisationally, it was supported through the 'BRICKS Community', constantly growing throughout the project's lifetime.

Objectives and results

BRICKS was an Integrated Project, structured in three main areas of work:

  • Infrastructure: this area addressed the enabling technology of a European Digital Memory platform, i. e. a networked system of services based on open standards that integrates heterogeneous collections of digital multimedia documents.
  • Application services: this area was the main focus of the project, aiming at creating the initial services of the European Digital Memory. These services present added value for the involved user communities, and demonstrate the market potential of the platform and the soundness of its infrastructure. Four main application scenarios were defined: access to culture, management of culture, creation of culture, and edition of digital texts. The applications offer a wide range of possibilities for the exploitation of digital cultural heritage, and may be used to develop integrated eCommerce solutions for cultural heritage organisations, technology providers and users.
  • Sustainability: Another important goal of the project was the development of a ‘Factory’ that would be self-sustaining in the future. The BRICKS Factory is a user- and service-oriented space to share knowledge and resources in the cultural heritage domain. The most advanced technologies - semantic web, web services, DRM systems, watermarking etc. - were considered in order to offer innovative and customised solutions.

In order to build consensus and a critical mass, to share knowledge and services for digital content, and to exploit the results achieved, the BRICKS Community has been established. Among its members are content providers, art professionals, art researchers and students, as well as interested users in general.


  • When using BRICKS, cultural institutions can benefit from the opportunity to take part in value-added, trusted online constellations in which the identity, the liability and the quality of the involved actors are certified; the correctness and the legality of the e-content products are guaranteed; and the validity of licensing procedures, commercial conditions and transactions is ensured.
  • BRICKS has produced shared best practice and methodologies to measure the impact of investments in digital culture and the attention which services and contents receive from e-visitors. These marketing indicators may help memory institutions define e-commerce strategies.