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understanding, interpretation might be done within single institutions (e.g. a museum
exhibition team), yet experts see the building of such intellectual spaces clearly as the
collaborative product of diverse communities.
Erik Jul, Executive Director, OCLC, highlighted the importance of collaboration and lists
some of the communities needed to participate in creating digital contexts for cultural
heritage resources:"Co-operative and collaborative efforts are essential to identify and
harness the resources of communities of interest that include scholars, knowledge
management professionals, subject matter experts, students, faculty and teachers, and lay
users. Each of these parties at interest can participate in on-going effort to create context
for digital cultural and memory resources." (DigiCULT Delphi, July 16, 2001)
It is clear that such communities do not easily emerge outside of targeted initiatives,
programs and projects, because creating contexts is a complex enterprise, which demands to
have vision, commitment, leadership, and appropriate resources.Yet, new technologies can
be supportive in connecting communities of interests as well as the results would be
completely new types of virtual collections and exhibitions.
As Jul describes this promise inherent in creating rich environments:"Moreover, techno-
logy enables the formation of communities of interest and supports synchronous and
asynchronous exchange of information among community participants, subject-matter
experts, knowledge managers, and resource users of all sorts.This rich environment both
demands and enables the creation of interactive, real-time, multi-dimensional, and dynamic
virtual collections.Traditional exhibitions, created and staged for a time, limited in geo-
graphic reach, and often intended for undifferentiated mass audiences, will be augmented
and, in some cases, replaced by ongoing, dynamic exhibitions or customised, on-the-fly
exhibit." (DigiCULT Delphi, July 16, 2001)
This description points to the feasibility of a new way of generating virtual cultural
exhibitions, events, or products that resemble the industrial "from file to factory" approach.
In embryonic form such an approach from digital collections to virtual products was for
example realised in the automatically generated "virtual resource packs" provided by
SCRAN (see case study in this chapter).
Providing expert knowledge & multimedia creativity
The DigiCULT four-layer model highlights the importance of bringing together expert
knowledge and new creative ways of catering to broader audiences (layer 3).This actually
means forming project groups that include subject matter experts and scholars as well as
specialists in interactive multimedia design and production.There is no doubt that cultural
heritage experts and scholars know how to for example preserve, exhibit, and contextualise
objects in broader cultural and historic contexts. But, generally, if the focus is on the
competency to develop and implement interactive multimedia, such competencies today are
neither present in the institutions nor in the scholarly communities, who are traditionally
mainly focused on the written word.
There are different strategies with which cultural heritage organisations can make sure
that their collections and related knowledge are used in creative ways, leading to new attrac-
tive and involving online as well as in-house digital environments.These strategies include:
Developing media creativity within institutions;
Buying in creativity from media companies;
Making use of "media culture" centres;
Linking up with new cultural heritage organisations and infrastructures (networks,