background image
digitisation initiatives in the scholarly and cultural heritage fields (e.g. JSTOR or the
recently announced ArtSTOR project).
The project ArtSTOR was established in April 2001 and is funded by the Andrew W.
Mellon Foundation. It plans to become an independent not-for-profit organisation (public
charity) that will develop, collect, manage, and distribute digital images and related scholarly
materials for the study of art, architecture, and other fields in the humanities. One of
ArtSTOR's first major projects will be the construction of an image gallery that will
facilitate the teaching of art history courses. Furthermore, it will build a number of
scholarly collections, including material of projects sponsored by Mellon (e.g. the
Dunhuang cave art archive).
Source: <>
Donald J.Waters, Program Officer, Mellon Foundation, in an interview described the
rationale of the protected environment:"We need to separate, make a distinction between
commercial users of property and educational cultural users. And so we also have to set up
in ArtSTOR and in all of our granting agreements, that the foundation will have a right
to aggregate material and distribute it for educational purposes, and that we will create a
protected environment in the Internet so that we can assure the owners of property that it
is only being used for educational purposes."
The Mellon Foundation is not advocating free use for everybody, but aims in fostering
and supporting scholarly and educational uses of high quality resources. As Water explicates:
"This whole notion of a protective environment is one that has to be aimed at particular
sets of users for certain purposes, and that environment may not be available for free
although it may appear to be free to the end user. (...) The second thing is that part of our
policy is aimed at ensuring very high quality images and digital products. One of the things
that we keep seeing is that if you are aiming for free you typically end up with lower
quality, because people are not willing to give the high quality image out for free."
(DigiCULT Interview, June 5, 2001)
The DigiCULT navigator to developing protected online environments
Cultural heritage institutions perceive many risks in the digital environment.They fear
losing control over digitised resources once they are "out there" on the Internet as well as
harming their reputation if, for example, images of objects are used in inappropriate ways
and contexts.These fears keep institutions unwilling to make their resources available
online.Trusted competency and service centres can convince institutions to bring their
digitised resources into protected environments for licensed uses by scholarly and
educational communities.
This demands:
to make a clear distinction between commercial versus scholarly and educational
to come to an agreement with resource holders that respects their rights and allows
them to provide their resources for non-commercial uses,
usually such an agreement will grant perpetual, non-exclusive rights to aggregate
materials and distribute them electronically for scholarly and educational uses,
these uses are bound to the protected environment and allowed only under well-
defined licences.