background image
V I I . 3
D e f i n i n g i n t e ro p e ra b i l i t y i n
o r g a n i s a t i o n a l t e r m s
The interoperability of a cultural heritage organisation depends on its complete set-up,
that includes on the one hand its mission and values, on the other hand its "intellectual
capital".While it seems clear that cultural heritage organisations know what their missions
and values are, the term "intellectual capital" needs clarification.
The term stems from various origins, in particular from:
business related new concepts to make visible and expand the "real or hidden value"
of companies, that usually is not present in balance sheets and management reports
(e.g. Edvinsson, Malone, 1997),
theoretical thinking about learning organisations (e.g. Senge, 1990; Pedler,
Burgoyne, Boydel, 1996),
concepts of knowledge management that focus to a more or less degree on the role
of ICT (e.g. Davenport, Prusak, 1998).
Rather than dealing with these concepts in-depth, a generalised "intellectual capital"
approach will be used, that is summarised in the graphic below. In the following paragraphs
the different elements and their interconnection will be shortly described. It must be
highlighted that the interoperability of an institution depends on its complete set-up and is
put to the test in each interaction with its customers and partners. In these interactions
"user capital" and "co-operation capital" can be built, maintained, or lost.
The graphic illustrates that, with regard to organisational interoperability, the collections
of a cultural heritage institution are only of secondary importance, or rather: partners and
users can only access and make use of them, if an effective intellectual capital is in place.
Mission & values
The mission of a cultural heritage institution defines what the institution embodies, how
it sees itself in terms of goals and values, and the core functions it has to fulfil. Generally, a
memory institution incorporates and is driven by a service ideal, a special commitment to
Cultural Heritage Institution
Mission & Values
Intellectual capital
Physical objects
Digitised objects
Human Capital
Individual knowledge, exper-
tise & skills of the personnel
Infrastructural Capital
Systemised competency:
workflows, technologies,
documentation, etc.
Co-operation Capital
- Inter- /cross-domain co-operation
- CH intermediaries
- Tech. support organisations
- NGOs, funding bodies
- Cultural industry businesses
User Capital
- Key user groups (e.g. scholars)
- Other CH institutions
- General public
Source: Salzburg Research, 2001