Diversity

04.12.2003

Kim H. Veltman

Towards New Cultural Histories in a Networked World

EVA Moscow, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, 1-5 December 2003 (in press).

Abstract

Cultural networks entail an implicit assumption that institutions/individuals wish to share their cultural expressions with persons around the world. Such networks bring obvious technological challenges with respect to interoperability of software and hardware and problems of languages. In addition, there are many more subtle challenges. To share there must be things in common: How does one reflect these things in common and at the same time adequately reflect cultural differences? This paper outlines some common frameworks to begin such sharing and explores implications for cultural history. Russia offers a particularly interesting case in point because it clearly shares many cultural strands with Europe qua nature, religion, mythology, literature, and at the same time has a very distinct history that cannot be subsumed simply as another chapter of the European tradition. The need for a new framework to approach such cultural histories is outlined. Not considered in this paper are cases where cultural differences are so deeply rooted, that they require a much more complex approach.

1. Introduction
2. Centres and Peripheries
3. Alternative Stories and Histories
4. Shared Topics
5. Static and Dynamic Expressions
6. New Models of Culture
7. World Networked Distributed Electronic Repository (WONDER)
8. Conclusions

1. Introduction

In the past, local, regional and national cultural heritage typically proceeded in parallel with little interdependence and often with complete independence of and from each other. Cultural networks entail an implicit assumption that institutions/individuals wish to share their cultural expressions with persons around the world. Such networks bring obvious technological challenges with respect to interoperability of software and hardware. Such challenges are being addressed on a number of fronts such as the GEANT network and the grid initiatives, which are linking with other networks around the world. There are also obvious problems of languages, which are being addressed by groups such as the International Standards Organisation (ISO), the Unicode Consortium, and newer bodies such as the Multilingual Internet Naming Consortium (MINC). This infrastructure is essential but since such technological challenges are already the subject of large-scale projects they are not further considered in this paper.


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