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images online and download interesting images at screen resolution for drafting work. A
rates table can be downloaded, but licensing is done off-line.
What SCRAN is all about - reducing risks
First and foremost SCRAN is, all about, education: learning, exploring, telling stories,
historic contexts, interpretation.To cultural institutions SCRAN is also about, reducing risk
to a level that they are comfortable with their material being used in bringing an interactive
multimedia library with one million objects from different owners into life.
SCRAN is an excellent example of the new type of cultural heritage institutions needed
in the digital environment. It reduces uncertainty and risk, or rather all the risks cultural
heritage institutions see if they think of digitising and bringing their treasures online.
SCRAN has one of its partners after the other convinced that "taking risks" pays off, not in
commercial terms, but in terms of unlocking the value of cultural heritage to the
educational and other sectors.
Graham Turnbull, Publishing Manager, SCRAN, described his observation that many
cultural memory institutions seem to have "an imperfect understanding of actually what
their mission is at the moment", and while they are confronted with a completely new
media environment,"cannot easily take risks and do not understand `risk'. (...) What they
have to understand though, in that search for what they should be doing, is that they have
to take some risks. Now, not all of them are money-related. A lot of them are ideas-related.
There's a danger that SCRAN has faced and we spent an enormous amount of marketing
time at the start of SCRAN convincing the memory institutions in Scotland that they
should take the risk." (DigiCULT ERT, Edinburgh, July 24, 2001)
Top on the list of risks cultural heritage institutions envisage is losing control over
digitises objects (images) or valuable information once they are "out there" on the Internet:
"We have learned in SCRAN, that one of the inhibitions that these institutions have, is
that they are scared that if they give this information out that they lose it, it is somehow
devalued and so on (...), but there are safe and secure ways of putting digital information
into the public domain (...), it is not such a big risk, it is not such a big risk as they think it
would be and it can be run safely and securely". (Sandy Buchanan, SCRAN; DigiCULT
ERT, Edinburgh, July 24, 2001)
Another risk that institutions envisage is losing their reputation if for example digital
images of objects they hold are used in inappropriate ways, manipulated or set in contexts
they would not like to see them.Yet. experts that participated in the DigiCULT round table
on exploitation suggested that the risk of losing control of content and in particular its
authenticity on the Internet should be put into perspective.
How to protect authenticity online?
"It is about risk, surely.As soon as it grows into any proportion where it looks as though it might
have an actual risk, you take action. If it is lost in the noise of the web you don't worry. (...)
Surely the important thing is that the museum guards its authenticity within its own context,
within its own boundaries, within its own site and when things move off then there is no
guarantee. I mean, we as a museum do not say to somebody who wants to buy an image to publish
in a book,`Oh let's read your book first to see if we agree with it.'We do not do it. (...) If
somebody has taken your things and uses it somewhere else in a way you do not approve of, that's
life.That is not your problem, it's not our problem. Our problem is making sure that we guard our
own, where it is branded V&A, where it is in our own context that we maintain the standards."
Oliver Watson,Victoria and Albert Museum, London, DigiCULT ERT, Edinburgh, July 24, 2001