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serve the public at large or particular users of their services whose activities enhance
knowledge and education. Maximisation of profit in financial terms usually is not part of
the mission and core functions of a cultural institution, rather it would likely be "to provide
free access".Therefore, the mission of a cultural heritage institution and the values it
nourishes can essentially determine who might or might not be a natural partner for the
institution (i.e. affect considerably what lines of co-operations it will develop).
In the DigiCULT Online Delphi, roundtables and interviews, experts from cultural
heritage institutions were asked whether they see a change in the "core business" of their
institution or of memory institutions generally due the "digital revolution".
The results derived from their answers point in the direction that:
the overall mission and core functions of archives, libraries and museums will not
change completely,
there will be an expansion of core functions: also to collect, manage, make
accessible, exhibit, and preserve "born-digital" and digitised objects,
there will be considerable changes in how the core functions will have to be
with regard to "born-digital" and digitised objects, users will expect new, value
added services, products, and experiences.
Overall, with regard to memory institutions and their mission and values it should be
highlighted that they rank very high under those organisations that have credibility and are
trusted by citizens.These institutions are seen to be centres of trusted knowledge driven by
a service ideal.They hold the key to coming to terms with the "information overflow":
professional selection and management (often including elaboration and analysis) of
information resources they regard to be of value for actual users and for future generations.
As Thomas Baiget, Institut d'Estadistica Catalunya, Barcelona, has stated in the DigiCULT
Online Delphi:"We are in an inflexion point. E-culture is advancing much more quickly
than expected thanks to the oil spread effect. (...) But what is more important is that our
institutional image as service provider to the community has improved a lot, far beyond we
had expected and beyond the ,real reality` that we know from inside." (DigiCULT
Delphi, June 6, 2001)
The collections a memory institution owns or holds are not part of their intellectual
capital.They have their own life, or rather the institution brings them to life by providing
the means to use cultural objects in different ways (e.g. an exhibition, an illustrated book or
an on-/off-line multimedia product).
Today, memory institutions have to come to terms with the radical changes in the ways
information is produced, distributed and used.The major institutions are working hard to
adapt their infrastructural and human capital in order to be able to collect, make accessible,
and preserve also "born-digitals", i.e. set-up and mange e-collections. In fact, as many
experts in the field see it, the rise of the "born-digitals" is the main driver of organisational
change in memory institutions. For some institutions most or key current objects they have
to deal with become "born-digitals".These objects stem from different origins, may it be
public administrations, scholarly publishing, or new networked media objects of artists.
Beside the question of how to come to terms with the "born-digitals", there is an even
more daunting question of how cultural heritage institutions can unlock the value of their