Kim H. Veltman

Challenges for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Applications in Cultural Heritage in the Next Decade(s)

First Published as:
“Forecast of Application of IT in cultural heritage in the next decade,” JRES 2003, 5emes Journées Réseaux, Lille, Novembre 2003, Lille, pp. 13-37.” Also as CD-ROM.
Next translated into Spanish as:
“Debate e investigacion: Deasfios de la aplicacion de las TIC al patrimonio cultural,” Boletin PH 46, Instituto Andaluz del Patrimonio Historico, Seville, December 2003, pp.26-41.
Then translated into French by JRES as: “Les defies aux applications des technologies de l’information et de la Communication dans le patrimoine” for their website:


While a precise forecast for the next decade is clearly impossible, some of the major challenges that need to be addressed in the next 10-20 years can be identified. These include problems of repositories, the changing scope of cultural heritage; new links between national, regional and local; between culture, knowledge and scholarship; European approaches to intellectual property and to models of culture. Five dangers are outlined, namely, over zealous commercialism; anti-technology among scholars, antiuniversal narratives; forgetting the past and a more systematic destruction of memory. The need for a Distributed European Electronic Resource (DEER) to answer these challenges is outlined.

While the American vision of the Internet remains focussed largely on uni-lingual ecommerce, the European vision, through its links with tourism, clearly has financial dimensions, and at the same time is developing a multi-lingual approach to cultural heritage that includes historical and cultural dimensions. This vision extends beyond culture to new definitions of knowledge. While the rhetoric of the day may focus on profit schedules for the next quarter, it is important to recall that major changes in new media have much longer cycles entailing decades and even centuries before their full effects are appreciated.

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