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The problem of controlled vocabulary multiplies when one considers that cultural
heritage resources should also be searchable across language boundaries.To do so, we need
multilingual thesauri, but also localised special vocabularies.
The experts participating in the round table and online Delphi agree that multilinguality
is still one of the major unsolved problems. Providing multilingual access is a necessary
requirement to leverage the full potential of digital cultural resources, and considered as a
primary future R&D area.
As it will not be possible to create one single authoritative vocabulary, what is needed are
new kinds of multilingual search engines for cultural heritage resources.These search
engines should be able to work with diverse vocabularies and metadata standards, including
multilingual thesauri.
The DigiCULT navigator to providing seamless access
With the advent of networked communication, the provision of access to cultural
heritage resources has become the main activity of cultural heritage institutions to an
unknown degree. It has initiated a paradigm shift from building collections to providing
seamless access to digital cultural heritage resources.This requires the convergence and
interoperability of diverse systems.
From a technological point of view, to enable seamless access across sectors means finding
a compromise between a high level of interoperability, the granularity of provided metadata,
and the quality of search results.The higher the granularity of metadata the better the
search results, but at the cost of interoperability.What has been achieved so far is the ability
to search across sectors, yet at the expense of search quality.
The primary barriers to seamless access today are related to the following issues:
cross-sector incompatibility of metadata standards to describe cultural heritage
lack of de facto standards for the cultural heritage sector,
lack of awareness for new standard developments due to missing mechanisms for
cultural heritage institutions to obtain accurate, valid and trustworthy information
on standards,
lack of controlled vocabulary for cross-sector, international search,
lack of support for multilinguality,
international, national, regional/local, institutional and sector barriers that hamper
effective collaboration between standard developing consortia and bodies.
To achieve seamless access to cultural heritage resources as the basis for other future
services the following issues need to be actively approached:
reach an agreement on metadata standards in a collaborative process involving all
stakeholders across the boundaries of archives, libraries, museums,
foster and encourage the use of open and/or de-facto standards in the community,
provide mechanisms and tools to enable cultural heritage institutions to make
informed decisions on standards development,
further develop the technical requirements for user-focused and target-group
sensitive authority and multilingual thesauri to enable access across institutional,
sector and national boundaries.