In countries around the world, significant amounts of money are being spent on making a range of cultural heritage resources available online. In the United Kingdom, some £50,000,000 will be committed this summer as successful applicants to the New Opportunities Fund's (NOF) Digitisation Programme are announced. In Canada, the Federal Government's Canadian Digital Cultural Content Initiative, too, is spending millions of dollars on content digitisation programmes in libraries, museums, and archives. These two programmes are not unusual, and most countries can now point to similar developments.
All of these programmes have several aspects which are clearly common, not least their remit to bring cultural heritage resources to a wider audience by means of online dissemination. How far the similarities between programmes go, and whether there are advantages in a more integrated approach to their formulation and delivery, remains to be proven.
This twoday invitational seminar examined the lessons to be learned from established programmes, and explored the likelihood that there is value in greater synergy between programmes, whilst of course maintaining their own unique qualities. These synergies might include such aspects as a shared view of technical standards, or greater flexibility in allowing cross-programme applications for funding. If successfully realised, these ought to result ultimately in a financial saving to the grant giver but also, and more importantly, in the creation of a resource which is more accessible to the end user, more likely to be comparable or 'interoperable' with related resources created under other programmes, and which has greater longevity in the fast-changing Internet environment.
Recommendations and conclusions from the event will be published here, and widely disseminated, informing both funding bodies and cultural content projects internationally.
Invitees included key staff and decision makers from a broad range of grant giving bodies and content creation programmes, drawn from Europe, North America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.