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Culture Online would also function as a stepping stone enabling small institutions with
few resources to contribute by encouraging partnership with other institutions to
commonly create the rich and high-quality learning resources that Culture Online
envisions offering.
Key success factors
However, as stated in the vision paper, the success of Culture Online depends on its
ability to overcome some critical issues related to, in particular, three areas: content,
technology and access.
With regards to content, the challenge would be to interlink the already existing
resources that have been created in many projects throughout the UK.The issue is not to
create better resources, but to create a network of digital resources to which many different
institutions can contribute. Projects in this area would concentrate on:
digital collections: Provide funding for digitising material of the national archives
that are relevant to the educational community;
sets of resources around exhibitions and learning themes: funding a new genre of
hybrid online and offline exhibitions;
national collaborative projects: Such projects could be focused on particular themes
(for example the upcoming 50-year jubilee of Queen Elizabeth);
participatory projects: Culture Online should offer ways for people to participate in
contributing their own resources and own stories;
masterclass channels: Creation of dedicated broadband channels to stream
live audio and video;
collaboration and creativity: Conduct collaborative projects, across different sectors,
across different nations.
Secondly, the success of Culture Online would depend on its ability to make materials and
services available in the most attractive format possible.This implies, to build a technological
infrastructure and channels that will be able to deliver the kind of services that would attract
learners. Projects in this area would aim at getting more organisations online, establish com-
mon standards and provide tailored tools to be used by the key audience. Content, however,
should come before technology as it would be a mistake to wait for a technology platform to
be built before content could be created. In addition, another goal would be to get all
publicly funded cultural institutions up to a minimal level of digital competence within a
given period (e.g. by providing easy-to-use templates for web sites, navigation tools, shared
hosting of web materials, joint purchasing of equipment, bandwidth to lower costs, etc.).
Finally, the success of Culture Online would be measured by its ability to implement a
strategy to make material accessible to a variety of users, especially those who were not
aware that such resources were available or even in existence.There would be a need to
develop an adequate strategy to make material accessible to a variety of users (should
include marketing and technology issues).This could be achieved by:
creating a CO portal or better: themed portals (themed around user interests and
communities of expertise in cultural organisations - relevant content and interested
user communities would be brought together),
building teaching materials available on the web,
syndicating digital resources to sites run by partner organisations such as
broadcasters, tourist boards and travel agencies,
providing specially designed search tools for kids.