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Our pages provide information about EC funded research in new information technologies for applications in the cultural and scientific heritage sector.
What is DigiCult?
'Digital Heritage and Cultural Content' is a domain of research activity in the Information Society Technologies (IST) Programme, a European Commission programme addressing the pervasion of Information andCommunication Technologies (ICT) into all aspects of the European citizen's life. This programme was part of the Fifth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development(RTD) which run from 1998-2002, and continues to exist as a key thematic priority area within the6th Framework Programme (2002-2006).
Research in the DigiCult domain fosters the development of innovative technological tools and systems for the exploitation of both traditional and digital Cultural Heritage resources.The lattercomprise resources that have either been created as digital substitutes to the original objects held by cultural or scientific institutions (i.e. libraries,museums,archives, research centres, universities etc.) or are born digital, that is they have been created with the help of information and communication technologies and exist only in digital form.
Based upon the premise that cultural and scientific heritage resources are of fundamental value for Europe's present and future, both as a unique knowledge basis and in terms of their commercial utilisation, DigiCult research work is driven by the need to ensure that institutions holding such resources fully exploit the opportunities created by the advent of digital technologies for providing quality access by all European citizens to them, as well as for preserving them for the future.
With a research focus on eCulture and eScience (i.e. culture and science in a networked environment), the DG INFSO Cultural Heritage Applications Unit works to establish a lasting infrastructure of technologies, guidelines, standards, human and institutional networks that will support and extend the role of Europe's libraries, museums and archives in the digital age. Research activities managed by our Unit under the IST Programme have the following objectives:
Research topics addressed by DigiCult projects under the Fifth Framework Programme have included the following:
Since 1999, the Unit has developed a portfolio of RTD and take-up projects, while also funding several excellence or awareness-raising networks on the use of new technologies by libraries, museums and archives. In addition to its IST activities, the Unit has undertaken an action that has sprung up from the eEurope initiative and concerns the coordination of digitization programmes in Member States. Finally, the Unit still monitors on-going projects and activities under the former Fourth Framework Programme.
Who we work with
Encouraging European institutions and organisations holding cultural and scientific content, research communities and the multimedia industrie to form collaborative partnerships is a strategic goal in the DigiCult field. Projects bring together a wide range of actors from the public and the private sector, including libraries, museums and galleries, archives, public bodies responsible for the management of archaological sites or of data archives, archives of broadcast, film and video material, educational institutions (schools, universities) and research centres, electronic publishers, information and telecommunications companies, multimedia manufacturers and producers.
Among all parties involved in the research process, cultural institutions hold a prominent position: not only do they contribute with the valuable collections they hold in trust, but they also capitalise on the knowledge and expertise of curators, librarians and archivists, while they further build on the skills, know-how and resources of information and communication technology partners in order to develop new types of products and services and thus meet the challenges of the digital age.
Why go DigiCult?
Going DigiCult means devising, adopting and making use of innovative methods and facilities for managing, accessing, interpreting and preserving Europe's rich cultural and scientific heritage. It is about turning information lying in various heritage repositories into active knowledge, readily accessible through new channels, such as the Internet or mobile phones, and specific to our needs.
DigiCult research has yielded advanced, 'intelligent', highly interactive tools and user-centred services based on sophisticated technologies (e.g. virtual, augmented reality etc) that have been applied to various Cultural Heritage field, including music, film, literary, architectural and visual arts heritage, enhancing thus the conpetences and promoting the work of relevant institutions and professionals.At the same time, DigiCult applications have created new opportunities for learning and entertainment among schoolchildren, university students, lifelong learners, art lovers and collectors, tourists and other user groups. After all, going DigiCult is about making heritage available at the click of the mouse!
Who benefits and how
Libraries, museums and archives may benefit from DigiCult applications in a number of ways. They can use computer technologies and telecommunications infrastructures to:
Click hereto find out about project results under FP5.
DigiCult in figures
In the course of the Fifth Framework Programme, 8 calls for proposals were launched in the Information Society Technologies Programme, from which110 DigiCult projectswereselected andgranted funding, amounting to a total of89.7 MEUR.These projects brought together 688 partners from 35 countries, representing 506 different organisations and institutions from both the private and public sector (40%cultural actors, 30%industry and 30%research).
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