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National Policy Profiles

The Chair reminded representatives of the survey of National Policies that had been undertaken in preparation for the Lund Meeting (4 April 2001) and that after the responses had been collated they had been returned to the respective Member States for them to review and make available on the web.  Only a small number of countries had so far succeeded in posting this material on the web.  At the same time the Commission had written to the Member States seeking examples of good practice, but to date no examples had been brought forward. 
The NRG Representatives asked that the Commission forward the request for examples of best practice be forwarded to them again.  They also felt that there would be benefit if they were each to indicate when their national profiles would be up on the web and what obstacles had prevented them going up earlier:

  • Austria had not yet put the profiles up.  This reflected the complexities of establishing an effective official published policy, and the involvement of three ministries (Culture, Technology, and Education) and a Secretary of State in the decision making process.  There are policies in certain fields and there is agreement that a national policy is needed.  As part of the process a conference in Vienna on Culture and Economy is planned and there is wide recognition that the benchmarking model should be adopted.  There were likely to be three major projects supported during the next three years including a 20th century photography project involving the four main archives and the national library that will lead the way in digitisation, preservation, and e-commerce.  As this project will involve the broadcasting sector, it should help develop mechanisms for enabling the public and private sectors to work together.
  • Belgium: The national profiles questionnaire had been challenging because it led them to discover information that had not be collected before and to lay the foundation for developing a national view.  The National Profile would be made available in due course.  Access to heritage information would benefit from moves to equip schools with Internet Connections, hardware, and access to training. The heritage information resource was being developed in areas including fine arts with online inventories, catalogues and digital images of items in collections, archives by putting images of documents on the Internet, film and audio archives through creating digital versions of videos and other moving image material (35 and 16 mm films), libraries through
  • Denmark: The national policy profile is being revised and once this has happened it will be made visible on the web. A Danish workgroup was established to make sure this stuff is available. There were many high quality projects currently under development in Denmark, among these a collaborative project between eighteen Danish institutions to have built an interactive web-tale around 1945 for children was notable.  One of the exciting elements of the project was that it involved multiple culture institutions involved across many domains.
  • Finland had not yet put up its profile because a review of the draft profile showed it to be in only a preliminary stage.  The Finnish Representative reported that the whole process to date had been an excellent developmental exercise that had encouraged progress and communication across multiple institutions and domains.  From among the numerous projects, an initiative to digitise newspapers from 1640 onwards and to enhance access to them through the development with free-text search facilities was singled out.
  • France has a government action plan for digitisation that is implemented by the Ministry of Culture.  There is a plan involving the education sector in what it is hoped will create a diverse, but coherent whole.  The aim is to create national coverage and a single market. There is recognition of the need to evaluate what has been done in this area.  Have create a catalogue of projects and they will be accessible.  The work so far has been based on a centralised approach, but there is a shift towards de-centralisation to reinforce these activities across the country.
  • The NRG representative from Germany reported that there were sixteen ministries of culture, but no policy on digitisation and it was unlikely that one would be completed in the near future.  First steps were being taken towards developing work in this area in Germany through ??EUBAUN?? (chaired by Prof Lehmann), which plans to establish a website, provide information on digitisation, and co-ordinate activity nationally.  It would be some time before the National Profiles were posted.
  • The Greeks reported that there was no single national policy, but many projects and good approaches to such issues as metadata, standards, and reconstructions.  The Hellenic digitisation project has been started; this 5-year activity would develop skills and training in digitisation.  A Committee, chaired by Professor Papatheodorou, involving nine universities and the Ministry of Culture, and private companies aims to create guidelines on culture and digitisation.  Among the activities of this Committee will be adopting and tailoring European work on benchmarking, metadata, and quality to the Greek context.
  • The Representative from Ireland reported that a national profile had not yet been established.  The Irish noted that they needed to identify key projects and to develop a strategy to build the profile.   Among the developing initiatives is a proposal for an infrastructure to provide access to through e-publication to archaeological data and a project called Activate to create a template to provide new modes of access to key cultural sites in Ireland.
  • The Representative from Italy reported that they had published the national profile in the website of the Ministry of the Department of Libraries.  A decision that reflected the huge size of the Ministry of Culture with its nine Director Generals.  Funds from the Italian lottery are being used to develop cultural digitisation projects; the conversion of catalogues was a first step in this process. Training at a national level is very important and is being put in place using an open distance learning approach.
  • The Netherlands reported that it had published its national profile and that it would keep it under review.
  • In Spain a National coordination group established within the Ministry of Culture was taking forward the national profiles.  In providing access to finding aids and content the Archives had been leading the way.  There was much activity currently in the Museum's sector involving the creation of online documentation.
  • Portugal, the Culture Ministry aims to put the information about the national profiles up on the web, but action was only starting towards developing such a profile.  It was agreed that there was a need to facilitate contact between the public and the administration. 

    In Sweden cultural heritage responsibility is divided among Ministries, which handle policy, and Authorities, that handle action.  A State commission tried to create an inventory for digitisation.  After examining digitisation, establishing online finding aids, and authority databases it looked as though a platform for providing access to profiles (there were likely to be at least three) was about a year away.  The Swedes intended to hold a large seminar next year to bring together all the different sectors and, if possible, to establish a national co-ordinator.
  • The United Kingdom had put its national profile up in time for the meeting in Mons (Belgium) in September 2001.  The Forum for Network Communication will be involved.  There are many programmes supporting digitisation including the New Opportunities Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Five studies to evaluate the processes that went on within digitisation projects would culminate in a series of reports covering project management, the impact of the ICT skills gap, collaborative working and content creation issues.


2003-2006 Minerva Project

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