Digital technologies provide a unique opportunity to preserve, access and spread our cultural heritage. But what are their socio-economic and technological impacts?
The MAXICULTURE project provides a toolkit for measuring projects’ socio-economic and technological impact and how they can best use ICT in the cultural heritage domain.
Recent scientific projects in the digital culture domain digitise cultural heritage, making it accessible to many in creative ways and preserving its content. However, often, the results are not exploited to their full potential.MAXICULTURE offers two tools to help them: one is an assessment tool, the other is a community platform.
‘Digital cultural heritage is a large domain,’ says George Ioannidis, director of IN2, the company behind the technology for the MAXICULTURE community platform and project partner. Activities include scanning books, developing tools for digital storytelling, tools for accessing collections of multimedia documents, supporting collaboration in museums and libraries, and so on.
‘Working with partners across the EU has been very useful, to get a clearer picture in this large domain,’ explains Mr Ioannidis. The international partners (Eurokleis, T6, VDJ and IN2) got in touch with European experts in digital cultural heritage who helped to shape the assessment tool and improve the community platform.
Giving people a clear idea of how effective their project is
The self-assessment toolkit is available to 39 projects, some of which can be read about on this site. So far half have completed at least one assessment cycle. The projects can choose what to evaluate, for example their technological, economic or social impact. They complete an in-depth questionnaire and get back an assessment report which calculates a performance score.
This can be compared against the average result of other projects and allows progress to be monitored over time. From this report, projects can then see what they need to do to improve their scores and devise a plan to achieve their target results.
Cultural heritage projects across the EU tell their story
MAXICULTURE, which drew to a close at the end of 2014 and was backed by EUR 600 000 of EU funding, also offers a community platform which automatically creates collections of posts from information projects publish on social media along with articles, audiovisual files and photos that they upload to their website.
‘So far 20 000 items have been harvested’, explains Mr Ioannidis, adding ‘Collections are put together attractively, giving the user the chance to browse all the relevant posts and uploads in just one place.’
EC-funded projects gain a targeted platform to showcase their results. Projects looking for partners can see who is relevant to them and policy makers, museums, libraries and archives can gain an insight into what is working. The tool can also be used by investors to. find the latest innovations in digital culture.
Building up engaging event resources
‘The community platform also includes posts from events that the EC-funded projects attend’, says Mr Ioannidis, adding ‘so in MAXICULTURE we experimentedalso on how we can create engaging stories about what happens at events’.
Building on these ideas, the STOM and mymeedia projects now aggregate social media posts surrounding an event, along with visual material (photos, videos), presentations and keynotes. This is built up into an event resource which organisers can use, for example, to present the best moments from a conference.
For ICT Proposers Day 2014 in Florence, Italy, mymeedia made a digital stage available featuring the social stream and the highlights of the event. Over 3 000 posts from social media networks and event presentations were collected. The stage was visited over 600 times during the two day event.