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V I . 5
C a s e S t u d y : Ku l t u r N e t D e n m a r k
O n l i n e c u l t u re a s p u b l i c s e r v i c e o b l i g a t i o n
Initiated by the Danish Ministry of Culture, KulturNet Denmark (KND) is a portal to
Danish culture on the Internet that has become a role model for similar national initiatives
in all the Nordic European countries.Through the KulturNet Denmark gateway, citizens
have access to the 74 public cultural institutions of Denmark and their collections that are
administered by the Ministry of Culture.
KulturNet Denmark was started in 1995 as an initiative of the Danish Ministry of
Culture as one of the priorities in the government's IT Political Action Plan,"From Vision
to Action Info-Society 2000".The action plan paved the way for a Cultural Network
Denmark for pilot projects to provide Danish citizens online access to the holdings of
Danish public libraries, museums and archives.
"The presentation of culture by electronic means is aimed at supplementing and increasing
the communication of cultural experience and cultural knowledge. All cultural institutions
should gradually become participants in an interconnected cultural electronic network offering the
citizen electronic access to electronic cultural services." (The Ministry of Research and
Information Technology, 1995)
The focus of this Cultural Network Denmark was always to serve the citizens, stipulating
that the role of cultural institutions is that of intermediaries that, in the information age,
should help the public to navigate through the increasing flood of information. Already
then, the Danish Ministry of Culture set up a committee to review the future tasks and
conditions of public libraries as primary access providers to information, and especially to
examine urgent issues on copyright and a legal deposit for electronic publications.
In 1996, in the updated Action Plan entitled "Info-Society for all - the Danish model",
the Danish cultural Ministry re-confirmed the initial plan to build a Cultural Network
Denmark, and in contrary to the first plan, already put forward a rough concept for a
"KulturNet Danmark" and specifies the goals of this national initiative,"to broaden
information efforts between institutions in the field of culture and to simplify access to
cultural information for the individual and for other institutes, through the application of
the potential of infotech".The overall objective was to reach a wider circle of institutions
and individuals by overcoming geographical and time limitations by electronic means. (cf.
The Ministry of Research and Information Technology, 1996)
By the end of 1996, the plan financed eight pilot projects promoting and expanding the
diverse cultural-historical information available on the Internet.The pilots included:
historical cultural periodicals,
historical sound recordings,
sheet music,
genealogy "from the living room",
cultural-historical registries in museums,
the Danish Art index,
architectural images, and
historic film.
Based on these action plans, KulturNet Denmark was launched as a pilot project in 1997.
Information for this case study was derived from the following resources: the KultureNet Denmark web site:; Interview
with Pia Vigh, Manager, KulturNet Denmark on July 24, 2001, Edinburgh, UK. Digicult Online Delphi Survey, July 22, 2001