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Protected environments are, of course, demanding in terms of technological set-up.
The protected environment concept is spearheaded by renowned organisations such as
the Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network (SCRAN) or the Mellon Foundation that
has funded similar digitisation projects (e.g JSTOR and ArtSTOR).
National and regional governments should support the creation of protected
environments that enable scholarly and educational user communities to access
high-value cultural heritage resources. This implies, to exempt educational use
from the current European Union copyright directive.
Cultural heritage institutions should participate in building protected
environments and allow for licensed uses of their digitised resources by scholarly
and educational communities.
Flagships and nutshells: Becoming visible in the digital world
Size matters also in the digital environment or rather for becoming a valuable and recog-
nised part of it. As Oliver Watson, Head of Digital Projects,Victoria and Albert Museum,
London, has stated it:"It is very important to remember that we are dealing with
institutions that are enormously different in their size, in the subject matters that they cover,
in their mission and why they're set up and what they are intending to do, in what you
might call their horizons, whether they are local, national, international, where their
funding comes from and where they sit in public perception. And all these make an
enormous difference in what they see as success in any part of their ventures including the
digital world." (DigiCULT ERT, Edinburgh, July 24, 2001)
A major concern for the cultural heritage sector is the future position and role of the
smaller institutions in the digital environment.They make up the large majority of
institutions (estimated to be up to 95 percent) and are of major importance for cultural
identity and life in particular on the regional and local level.Today, they observe that they
may lose their presence in cultural life if they do not become part of the virtual space that
increasingly influences the patterns and forms of cultural information and consumption.
Yet, there is ample evidence that for smaller institutions taking advantage of the new
opportunities provided by digital networks and new media is not easily achievable. For
example: Setting up a web site with basic information might be relatively easily done by a
small local museum, but it most likely will not become a powerful communication channel
and attraction point in the virtual cultural landscape. A much stronger position could be
gained by being part of a regional cultural network that is professionally set up, showcased
institutions and their unique resources, and provides information services for schools and/or
tourist agencies in the region.Yet, such networks do not emerge and develop without
considerable investment in dedicated organisations or units in major institutions with skilled
personnel and equipment.
As Paolo Galluzzi, Director, Institute and Museum of Science, Italy, explained in a recent
interview of the situation and possible solution for smaller institutions:"Small institutions
are facing and will face serious problems with the use of ICT in cultural heritage.They
have no budget, no specific knowledge for an efficient and exploitable use of ICT techno-
logies in their day-to-day life.We are living through a situation where small is becoming
synonymous with ugly and uninteresting. For this reason, national policies should adapt and
react to this threat. One possibility might be that the state could decide to finance only
selected initiatives, while promoting co-operation between smaller and bigger institutions,