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V I I . 1
A d a p t i n g t o t h e n e t w o r k l o g i c
"Networks are the fundamental stuff of which organisations are and will be made."
Manuel Castells (1996: p.168)
An essential corner stone for the understanding of the changing environment and
conditions for success of the cultural and memory institutions in the Information Society is
the "network logic", a logic that is of course directly related to the necessity of being
interoperable.The network logic constitutes and drives businesses and institutions that have
re-organised themselves in order to profit from the opportunities provided by the ICT-
based networks and new media in a highly competitive environment.
What is needed to make networking manageable?
"Visions and goodwill." Gertrud Nord, Parliament Archives, Swedish Parliament (Sweden)
"Culture and technology." Syrus Alidousti, Faculty, Irandoc (Iran)
"Interoperability, standards especially for terminology, economic sustainability,
technological expertise, leadership." Ray Lester, Head of Department, Natural History
Museum (UK)
Selected answers from the DigiCULT Online Delphi.
As Manuel Castells illustrates, the rise of the "network enterprise" was a consequence of
the process of disintegration of the dominant organisational model of the industrial society,
of the vertical, bureaucratic, tree-like structure of businesses and institutions.This model
proved to be inadequate to cope with the flexibility requirements of an ever more unpre-
dictable business environment, with rapidly changing market opportunities, competitors,
and consumer demands.
The network logic provided for more adaptability through strategic alliances, decentra-
lised decision making, projects-orientation, subcontracting and outsourcing.The "network
enterprise", the implementation of the network logic in the economy, was not the
mechanical outcome of the information and communication technologies (ICTs). On the
contrary, heavy re-organisation, doing away with the rigidities of the traditional corporate
culture was necessary to be able to effectively implement the new technologies.
There is no reason to expect that this will not be the case with cultural and memory
institutions that adapt to the network logic.The frequent assumption that the imple-
mentation of ICT can serve as a `motor' for organisational change in a company or
institution is more than questionable. In practice, such notions lead to short sighted and
unsuccessful ICT projects.The main prerequisites for the successful use of new media, such
as skilled employees (networkers, information or knowledge workers) and radical changes in
the workflow are often neglected. Interoperability in organisational terms is not foremost
dependent on technologies.
This insight clearly has emerged from the many experiences cultural heritage institutions
have made in the last years:"It's no longer all about technology. I think that is how it used
to be.When I say used to be, than I am talking about five, six, seven years ago. It's not that
long ago, when it was all about technology, technology, and technology. But, really it is only
one aspect of a broader picture.The questions are what do you want to do with it, what do
you want to communicate?" (Angela Spinazze, CIMI; DigiCULT Interview, May 18, 2001)