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to adopt open standards and integrate them into their products.
Are you able to take a proactive approach? With regard to standards specific to the
cultural heritage sector, such as thesauri and metadata, the best strategy is an active
approach, which means to actually get involved in standards development.
As Edmund Lee, Data Standards Supervisor at the National Monuments Records
Office, described it in the 1
round of the DigiCULT online Delphi:"Heritage
sector standards should develop in the context of co-operative ventures between
organisation that will ensure `sign up' as part of the development process."
As a consequence, memory institutions need to formulate a comprehensive strategy as
basis for a methodological framework that drives the implementation of technology and
standards in the organisation.This includes an active preservation policy that informs the
selection process for digitisation and the management of digital information through its life
cycle. Both should be based on open standards to ensure that cultural heritage resources
remain accessible also in the future.
Nevertheless, to keep track of current and future standard development, cultural heritage
institutions would need mechanisms that helps them make informed decisions. As the
experts participating in the DigiCULT online Delphi suggest, there are several options that
would help ALM-institutions to avoid getting trapped in the standards jungle:
At the European level: establish an efficient pan-European expert organisation similar to
the European Information Technology Observatory that serves as standards authority for
the European cultural heritage sector.The role of this authority would be to:
monitor and track current standard developments that are of importance to the
cultural heritage sector,
participate in standards trials,
produce technical recommendations and guidelines,
collaborate with the technical working groups of international NGOs and special
interest groups such as IFLA, ICOM or ICA, and thus function as a European
umbrella organisation that is concerned with cross-sectoral issues.
On the national level: establish standards authorities outside the cultural institutions, to:
monitor, test and provide latest information on development of standards,
participate in international standard test best on behalf of other archives, libraries
and museums, and communicate the results down to less enabled institutions,
localise standards information from international resources for local and regional
give clear advice and guidance to organisations,
provide training of standards and their use.
Although by no means representative, the experts participating in the DigiCULT online
Delphi consider regional R&D centres to be the most viable approach to test standards, and
most effectively communicate the results also to cultural heritage institutions.