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Intellectual capital
The intellectual capital of an institution (or business) can be split into two different yet
highly related components: its infrastructural capital and its human capital. Both are abstractions
of processes and assets that are very common for cultural heritage institutions: for example, a
library catalogue or a collection management system (infrastructural capital), the know-
ledge, experience, skills of the staff (human capital).The efficiency of the intellectual capital
of an institution depends on the interplay of the infrastructural capital and the human
capital: Infrastructural capital without knowledgeable and skilled personnel is (almost)
worthless, staff without infrastructure cannot effectively, if at all, deliver what the users
The infrastructural capital of a cultural institution enables its management and staff to act
in certain ways and thereby fulfil its mission and core functions.The infrastructural capital is
the systemised competency of the organisation. It includes the structure of workflows, databases,
intranet/extranet, collection management systems, and all the systems at hand to offer
services, to exhibit, to produce cultural products etc.
These examples should not lead to the conclusion that infrastructural capital is "just
technology", and particularly information and communication technologies (also most
activities might be related to or supported by technical solutions). It also includes the results
of intellectual work the institution possesses and builds on (e.g. copyrights), or employee
programs which build on existing skills, or the introduction of new skills into the
The infrastructural capital empowers the human capital of an institution, and it stays in
the institution when the staff goes home.Therefore, it has to been seen and analysed
separately from the knowledge, experience, and skills the members have individually and use
in the work they do.
In their long history the memory institutions have developed infrastructural capital that
enables the handling of physical objects (records, manuscripts, books, film rolls, tapes,
pictures, etc.). However, in today's environment they also have to deal with "born-digitals"
or digitised objects.Which involves new solutions, such as the implementation of new
workflows and procedures, along with new tools to collect, make accessible, exhibit,
contextualise, and preserve these objects.
Whereas the major technological challenges concerning the infrastructural capital are
described in Chapter 9,"Technologies for tomorrow's digital cultural heritage", this section
focuses on the development of the human capital.
Co-operation capital and user capital
The interoperability of an institution, i.e. whether it fulfils its mission, is put to the test in
the concrete interactions with customers (users, visitors, clients) and partners (within or
across ALM sectors, public administrations, businesses). In these interactions "user capital"
and "co-operation capital" can be built, maintained, or lost. An essential factor here are the
mission and the values of the institution, that might or might not fit with the "culture" e.g.
of commercial enterprises or certain groups of users.
Co-operation capital
The co-operation capital includes for example: Institutional credit, loyalty of partners,
trust and openness, and the longevity of the partnership.The co-operation capital can
include signed contracts and agreements, or more or less explicit rules concerning for
example shared infrastructures, standards, and other resources. But contracts, agreements