background image
Many archives, libraries and museums (ALM) have turned into hybrid institutions that
take care of both, analogue and digital cultural collections. Besides dealing with traditional
analogue materials like books, sculptures, paintings and official records, they collect, manage,
store and provide access to a variety of digital cultural artefacts, including digitised legacy
resources, digital data about cultural resources, and born-digital cultural resources. Managing
these new types of cultural heritage artefacts and the underlying technologies has become a
challenging task for memory institutions, especially with regard to two dimensions:
Access: How to enable users to benefit from the rich cultural holdings of ALMs.
Persistence: How to ensure that our digital cultural heritage will be accessible for
future generations.
Digital cultural artefacts
Digital cultural artefacts include:
Digital information on cultural resources: e.g. online catalogues, bibliographies, and
listings of cultural works and artefacts.
Digitised resources (all types of media and formats): Digitised resources refer to material
successfully transferred into the digital world: Besides the item in its traditional form,
there now exists a digital surrogate of the cultural source in a format suitable to be used
in another medium (e.g. for display on a computer monitor).
`Born-digital' cultural resources (e.g. electronic publishing items, virtual art works,
exhibitions, tours): Born-digital cultural resources have been created with hard-ware
and software.With regards to usage one can distinguish between a) artefacts that can
only be used with digital equipment or in a specific digital environment (e.g. a
virtual installation), b) artefacts or resources that can be transformed into other
media forms for easy use, for example to be printed (e.g. print-on-demand).