Assessing the Readiness of Small Heritage Institutions for e-Culture Technologies

Guntram Geser (2004): Assessing the Readiness of Small Heritage Institutions for e-Culture Technologies In: DigiCULT.Info 9, A Newsletter on Digital Culture, p.8-13

As we progress towards a knowledgebased information society, a digital culture is emerging. This e-culture will be based on technologies that enhance the creation, management and provision of attractive cultural content and engaging interactions on a variety of platforms. This article addresses the endeavours of small heritage institutions to prepare themselves for e-culture, while facing the “trilemma” of lacking human resources, lacking funds, lacking technical skills. It concentrates on the question: Which current and emerging technologies are most likely to find a broader adoption by large, medium and small institutions? It provides a classification of these sizes based on empirical data, and points out key issues that heritage institutions will need to consider when assessing the feasibility of adopting a certain technology. Based on this ?e-readiness check?, the paper assesses 20 technologies especially from the perspective of smaller institutions. These technologies have been monitored in the DigiCULT Forum project, and include, for example, virtual reality, agents and avatars, digital asset management, mobile technologies, RFID technology, customer relationship management, virtual community and collaboration technologies. Although some of the technologies may be used by smaller institutions, the article concludes that these institutions may only become ?e-ready? for, and benefit from, most of the technologies within a framework of larger cultural heritage initiatives.
In such initiatives, funded mechanisms such as cultural networks/service centres enable smaller institutions to keep their costs and risks manageable while not being excluded from new technological developments.

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