Knowledge Sharing for Cultural Heritage 2.0: Prosumers in a Digital Agora

Knowledge Sharing for Cultural Heritage 2.0: Prosumers in a Digital Agora

Francesca Bertacchini (Environmental and Chemical Engineering Department, Università della Calabria, Cosenza, Italy) and Assunta Tavernise (Department of Physics, Università della Calabria, Cosenza, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/ijvcsn.2014040102


The word “prosumer” indicates the mixture of the terms “producer” and “consumer”: even if the term is almost recent, prosumers were already present in the historical period of ancient Greece and Magna Græcia (between the VII century b.C. and the I century A.D.). In this view, the platform Cultural Heritage 2.0 can be considered a digital “agora”: like the Greek square-marketplace, where there was exchange of goods and ideas, the system allows the gathering of an extensive amount of digital data and an interesting exchange of culture. The aim of this paper is to present Cultural Heritage 2.0, that offers the opportunity to mix heterogeneous contents in unusual amalgams, according to the imagination and design of the users-prosumers in the Web community.
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In recent years, Internet applications have been daily used with great intensity and skill by the so-called ‘Net generation’ (Tapscott, 1998; Bennett, Maton, & Kervin, 2008). However, by studying the use of these applications, it has been demonstrated that in this digital environment people develop their values and beliefs, as such informing their cultural space (Van den Beemt, Akkerman, & Simons, 2010; Bertacchini, Bilotta, Pantano, & Tavernise, 2012; Bertacchini & Tavernise, 2013). In fact, innovative uses of technology stimulate curiosity and interest in users, satisfy their personalized information needs and, especially for the involvement of young people, offer a new kind of experience that is instructional and entertaining at the same time (Bilotta, Gabriele, Servidio, & Tavernise, 2009; Adamo, Bertacchini, Bilotta, Pantano, & Tavernise, 2010; Bertacchini, Bilotta, Gabriele, Pantano, & Tavernise, 2012, 2013). In this view, the Web has increased as the most used communication channel for knowledge sharing, with the following characteristics: 1) to involve individual contributions, offering the opportunity to share information and opinions in an efficient and effective way (Sippings, 2007), 2) to offer the opportunity to live impressive common experiences (Memmi, 2006; Hemetsberger & Reinhardt, 2006), 3) to cause a change from a vertical command and control Web world to an horizontal connective and collaborative one (Bertacchini, Feraco, Pantano, Reitano, & Tavernise, 2008; Pantano, Tavernise, Viassone, 2010). This process of Internet fruition has implied the creation of a new kind of knowledge consumer, a mixture of producer and consumer (Mattelart, 2002; Dacin & Brown, 2006; Schembri, 2006): the “prosumer”. The concept of prosumer has been developed since the 80s (Kotler, 1986; Van Raaij, 1993), even if at the beginning it was linked to the production of real goods and services which were realized by the consumer himself/herself. However, in 1986 Hyman defined prosuming as a process to acquire the competences needed for an informed participation in a decentralized society, affirming that the used products were information. Only in recent years the concept has been linked to “digital” materials, consumed and produced via Web. As a consequence, currently production organizations and consumers have worked together to develop new goods (Bowden, 2005).

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