Kim H. Veltman

The Future of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Multimedia Access to Europe’s Cultural Heritage

Unpublished Lecture, Brussels, 1996.

1. Introduction
2. International Developments
3. A New Model
4. Needs and Challenges
i. Open Distributed Processing Environment
ii. Demo Rooms and Prototype Service Centres
iii. Toolboxes
iv. Strategies for Digitizing Museum Content
v. Library Connections
vi. Applications to Education
vii. Meta Data Reference
viii. Search, Access and Navigation Interfaces
ix. Self-Learning Environments
5. Conclusions.

1. Introduction

A revolution is underway. Major galleries and museums around the world are scanning in digital images of their collections and producing new products, some for sale (e.g. CDROMS, videos), some for the public good (e.g. web sites). This digital process introduces enormous new possibilities. For typical tourists, digital collections permit post-cards and even sculptures on demand. Persons in remote places will be able to make preliminary virtual visits and will thus better appreciate the actual works when they eventually visit the museum. Visitors and everyone with access to the world wide web will, for the first time, be able to view those parts of collections which are in storage, which typically account for somewhere between 50% to 98% of the whole. In the physical world, paintings by a given artist are scattered in different museums. For instance, there are paintings by Botticelli in Florence (the Uffizi), Berlin (Dahlem), London (National Gallery) and elsewhere. In the past, attempts at publishing the complete works of such artists in the form of a catalogue raisonnée were frequently limited to producing only a few images in colour, with the rest appearing in black and white or even in thumbnail versions. In digital form, the complete works can be in full colour and potentially even in very high resolution. Instead of being limited to a random set chosen by a curator, users can buy posters of any particular painting which they find interesting.

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