A Strategy Framework for Digital Heritage

A Strategy Framework for Digital Heritage

Steven W.P. Wu (National Heritage Board, Singapore)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-044-0.ch023
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Abstract

As digital heritage covers a very broad spectrum of human knowledge and expression, this paper focuses primarily on the cultural heritage space. A three-box, three-layer strategy framework is proposed for managing innovation in digital heritage. The concept for this framework is derived from the Govindarajan Three-Box strategy framework. The three layers identify the major sets of challenges that a digital heritage ecosystem has to address. These are challenges directly relevant to a large museum, challenges in connecting with the broader ecosystem, and synergies with other ecosystems. Each layer is further divided into five components – technology, infrastructure, capabilities, content, services - for a clearer perception of the key drivers of innovation. A strategy framework for digital heritage should necessarily be open and adaptive yet cognizant of the drivers of innovation. These drivers ultimately determine the type of content and services that may be delivered to visitors and users. In the absence of a national digital heritage strategy, a surrogate framework may be used. A detailed Singapore case study of a surrogate framework, iGOV2010, is included for reference and learning.
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Background

UNESCO's Charter on the Preservation of Digital Heritage states that “digital heritage consists of unique resources of human knowledge and expression. It embraces cultural, educational, scientific and administrative resources, as well as technical, legal, medical and other kinds of information created digitally, or converted into digital form from existing analogue resources. Where resources are 'born digital', there is no other format but the digital object. Digital materials include texts, databases, still and moving images, audio, graphics, software and web pages, among a wide and growing range of formats. They are frequently ephemeral, and require purposeful production, maintenance and management to be retained” (UNESCO, 2003). Article 2 of the Charter goes on to explain the need for accessibility and provision for privacy. The purpose of preserving the digital heritage, it notes, is to ensure that it remains accessible to the public. Accordingly, access to digital heritage materials, especially those in the public domain, should be free of unreasonable restrictions. At the same time, sensitive and personal information should be protected from any form of intrusion.

The UNESCO Charter recognizes that digital heritage is eclectic and multi-format. While much effort has already being put into digitization of existing museum and archival records, increasingly it will be the born-digital heritage assets that draw away museum's resources to manage, preserve and make accessible. The sheer diversity and volume of cultural heritage information being produced and exposed daily over the web poses long-term technological and administrative challenges in terms of storage, preservation, retrieval and data quality.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Asset: A digital asset is any form of binary-format content (text, images or multimedia) protected by right-to-use provisions. A digital asset may have been transformed from an existing artefact by a digitization process that involves hardware, software or a combination; alternatively, it may have been created or born digitally so no physical artefact of it pre-exists.

Strategy Framework: Framework implies a structure as yet incomplete but is reusable for many recurring problems so an instance of the framework is a solution set for a specific problem. A strategy framework supports an architecture for a strategy (solution) to be defined.

Public-Private-People Initiative (3PI): Public-private-people Initiative (3PI) is a service delivery approach where services offered by the public, private, and people sectors are integrated to create benefits (e.g., cost savings and specialised expertise), convenience and effective delivery to citizens and businesses.

Digital Heritage: Digital heritage consists of unique resources of human knowledge and expression. It embraces cultural, educational, scientific and administrative resources, as well as technical, legal, medical and other kinds of information created digitally, or converted into digital form from existing analogue resources.

Infocomm: Short-form for “Information and communication”. It may be applied to computer/communication hardware, software, web, wireless, mobile and fixed-line infrastructure, technologies, content, services, policies and regulatory frameworks.

Strategic Thrusts (or Objectives): Strategic thrusts are high-level initiatives arising from the strategic vision and serve to guide the action plans towards some over-arching goals.

Digital Preservation: Digital preservation is the management of digital assets over time through the set of processes and activities that ensure continued access to the assets as well as track modifications (format, re-digitisation of the original artefact, etc), provenance and other time-stamped changes over their lifecycle. The goal is to produce authentic and stable digital assets.

Performance Metrics: Performance metrics are used to measure and monitor the progress of action plans and activities for meeting an organization’s strategic thrusts. Metrics may also be defined for national strategic thrusts.

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