Sunday, November 2, 2008

PL 51/08: Measuring access to digital culture

Filed under: Uncategorized — plinius @ 1:51 pm

The Numeric Study will measure the progress of the digitisation of Europe’s cultural heritage.

The picture shows a scene from the great Bayeux tapestry.
Below I quote more from the Numeric web site.
  • One of [our] policy objectives is to make the content and digitally preserved materials of archives, museums and libraries more widely available.
  • Across Europe these institutions are converting their ‘analogue’ collections into digital form…
  • NUMERIC is a European Commission project that defines the empirical measures for digitisation activities…
Such statistics are required to:
  • … identify the total European digitisation effort …
  • make international comparisons …
  • stimulate further digitisation …
  • … inform stakeholders … [such as] overnments, statistical agencies, cultural institutions, academic and scientific institutions, publishers, industry
The first year of the study (2007/8) was devoted to assessing previous research and gaining an emerging picture
An important step in the study was taken to establish appropriate and consistent definitions of ‘digitisation’ activities.
  • This is a classic example of the problem of finding appropriate indicators that describe value rather than simply volume. …
  • The International Standards Organisation (ISO) continues to develop consistent definitions in many areas …
  • key performance indicators … for … digitisation activity in libraries (ISO 11620) … include electronic serials, e-books, content downloads from databases, simple internet sessions, and on-line catalogues …
The next steps (2008/9)
The research team are collaborating with nominated experts in each country to apply common survey standards and definitions which are also recognised as practical measures for managers of cultural institutions …

This is clearly necessary and useful work. But I have one concern: the main development thrust is directed towards the supply side. The demand side is hardly mentioned.
A pragmatic approach to digitization needs to balance the two. The core of digital culture is not a collection of digital objects, but a community of digital users.




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