Kim H. Veltman

The Challenge of Augmented Culture: Abstract

Congreso Internacional Culturtec 2000, Faculdad de Ciencias de la Informacion de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, November 2000, II Jornadas Europeas, Actas, Madrid: Editorial Complutense, 2000.

We are told that the Internet is growing at a rate of 7 million new pages a day and that there are now more than 2.1 billion pages online. A convergence between fixed networks (with 70 million kilometers of new fiber optics in 1999 alone) and wireless communications (WAP, HAVI), will theoretically permit us to have universal access to information. In addition to the challenges of interoperability of the technological infrastructures, there is an equally great challenge of interoperability of content. Here there is need for fundamental work in the realm of meta-data. In this context there are already a number of useful initiatives such as RDF (Resource Description Framework) and SVG (Scaleable Vector Graphics) of W3; JPEG 2000, MPEG 4 et 7 and MPEG 21. In addition the W3 Consortium in collaboration with the Dublin Core, has developed an important strategy. They use 15 categories as entry points into resources and as such focus on finding aids rather than resource description. The Schemas project of the European Commission adds the possibility of linking with various classification systems but remains more a stop-gap measure than a long term solution. This is partly because these initiatives are limited to the categories of metadata for content and do not really address the standardisation and harmonisation of names, terms and places within these categories in the form of authority files.

On a national basis most countries have made useful contributions in this regard. For instance, France has the databases of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux (RMN); Britain has those of the Museum Documentation Association (MDA) and the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS); Italy has those of the Istituto Centrale del Catalogo et Documentazione (ICCD). European projects such as AQUARELLE and TermIT were in the right direction pointing to ways in which such databases could be integrated. This principle needs to be extended.

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