digitisation in Europe
Progress report of the
National Representative Group: coordination mechanisms for digitisation
policies and programmes 2002
Ministè de la Communauté francaise
Ministerie van de Vlaamse gemeenschap
National Report: Belgium
This Status Report is the result of the contacts and the exchange of information established between the ministries and administrations responsible for the relevant matters in Belgium.
With a view to allow a co-ordinated approach to NRG related activities an ad hoc Consultation Group was set up on the proposal of the French Community´s Representative within the NRG in regards of the role of the French Community in the Minerva project (Ministerial Network for valorising activities in digitisation). The co-ordination and the secretariat work are provided by the French Community.
This group is composed of the French Community´s Representative in the NRG, Isabelle Dujacquier, the Flemish Community´s Representative in the NRG, Debbie Esmans, the German-Speaking Community´s Representative in the Cultural Affairs Comity, Edith Bong and the Director of the Scientific and Technical Information Service (STIS), a service of the Federal Science Policy Department, Jean Moulin.
This report offers a view of the activities and perspectives of the Flemish, French, and German-Speaking Communities and of the Federal Science Policy Department.
1. FLEMISH COMMUNITY
Policy scenario for digitisation
In July 2002 Mrs Debbie Esmans replaced Mrs An Knaeps as the NRG representative for the Flemish Community.
In late September 2002, on the proposal of the NRG representative, it was decided to proceed with the formation of a co-ordination group by the name of Digicult Vlaanderen. The formation of this group was supported by the Culture administration and the Culture cabinet was documented on this initiative. The co-ordination group will meet three to four times a year when convened by the NRG representative, and has as its task:
Improving opportunities for information gathering, knowledge acquisition and knowledge dissemination in the area of digitisation;
further stimulating the digitisation debate;
creating the contacts needed between the different study groups and projects in Europe and Flanders;
working on a policy context to stimulate creativity and the dissemination of culture via the digital path.
The group met for the first time early in November 2002.
To date in Culture there has been no digitisation programme to warrant initiatives, but the Flemish cultural authority does support a number of large projects that aim to disseminate cultural and scientific information by digital means. Examples include:
- Archiefbank Vlaanderen: has the objective to create a Flemish register of private archives, similar to existing initiatives in the UK, Australia and the Netherlands;
- Vlacc II / Digitale bibliotheek Vlaanderen: the objective is to develop a single access point for finding information in any of the public libraries in Flanders;
- Cultuurdatabank Vlaanderen: the Culture database project aims to establish a crossroads database in a network of databases. The central core will become an open technical platform, within which all basic information on the cultural offer in Flanders is stored and exchanged (digitised), with countless other large and small databases. Basic information on the cultural actors, the temporary range (activities, events, courses, etc.), and the permanent range, (general information on a cultural institution, organisation or association), includes all possible primary information. Along with this basic information also belong numerous references to supplementary information, so that these can be quickly retrieved from partner databases. On top of this an extended range of services will be on offer;
one of the pilot projects of Cultuurdatabank Vlaanderen, has the
objective to collect, list and digitally publish the complete
range of museums, archives and cultural heritage in Flanders (addresses,
co-ordinates, general descriptions of their collections and temporary
public projects) on the World Wide Web. Information already contained
in the databases http://www.museumsite.be
will be of use here.
NV Reproductiefonds "Vlaamse Musea" has also been set up. Reproductiefonds
"Vlaamse Musea" is intended as a scientific, educational
and cultural project that provides reproductions (including digitised
image material) of Flemish cultural heritage in a professional
way, for a fee, for interested parties at home and abroad. The
reproduction fund should contribute to a coherent and uniform
policy on the commercialisation of reproductions of the country´s
cultural heritage. The reproduction fund is a point of contact
/ service centre in the area of creating images; image processing,
archiving, order processing, promotion of reproductions and legal
problems (reproduction rights, copyrights). An important aspect
of how the reproduction fund operates relates to the digitisation
and dissemination of image material. In the long-term, a meta-image
bank will be developed to disseminate the digitised material already
The Flemish cultural authorities have also created possibilities
for facilitating digitisation projects via subsidisation regulations
or decrees. In real terms, for example, we can mention the decree
on private law cultural archiving. This route can be taken to
apply for subsidies for projects to disseminate archives by means
of information and communication technology. Information and communication
technology is the generic term for all practically applicable
computer technology (computerisation and telecommunication) geared
towards the processing and exchange of information. Examples include
database management systems, Internet browsers, specific archiving
Under the museum decree or the dissemination of cultural heritage
regulations, project applications can be made in the area of digitisation.
The sectors of visual art, audio-visual art, theatre and architecture
also have a few projects aimed at digital dissemination, which
are funded by the Flemish government. A cultural heritage decree
is in preparation.
Terms of reference and National policy profile
The formation of the co-ordination group has already led to a more widespread familiarity with the NRG Terms of reference and the Lund principles, and they are gradually taking shape in practice, in the area of policy and in the cultural sector.
Consultations with the Belgian ad hoc consultation group have resulted in an agreement to map out the national profile. It was agreed that the Questionnaire on national/regional policies and programmes on digitisation of cultural and scientific content should be filled in. The Digicult Vlaanderen co-ordination group was called in for this, and contact was made with the Department of Education and the Departement of Science, Innovation and Media. With the results new steps can be undertaken.
2. FRENCH COMMUNITY
Policy scenario for digitisation
A prospective study for a co-ordinated process
In the framework of the follow-up to the Belgian Presidency in the field of "Culture and Knowledge Society" assumed by the French Community during the second half-year 2001, in the framework of the participation of the French Community in the NRG entrusted with the co-ordination of digitisation policies and programs within Europe and the participation of the Ministry in Minerva (Ministerial Network for valorising activities in digitisation), the General Secretary, Henry Ingberg has ordered a prospective study with a view to initiating a co-ordinated digitisation process in the Ministry, the first results of which should be expected by June 2003.
Though the will to integrate oneself in a digitisation policy is also in keeping with the access for the general public to heritage, the integration capacity in programs at the European level (eEurope, ITS program, Culture 2000, Media, etc.), the preservation and the conservation of the heritage, the multiform dissemination of information and the valorisation of heritage and finally, with its contribution to the influence of the French Community, it is however tempered by the current absence of budgetary means for the translation into reality of such a policy.
The priority of a prospective study will involve inventorying the collections. On this basis, the technologies associated with the different types of collections will be proposed. Their costs and the necessary budgets will be determined. The study will also establish standards for digitization. Based on the available budgets and the priorities defined, an initial phase of digitisation could be a possibility.
The priority measures of this prospective study will thus be inventorying and programming. On the basis of inventories and a state of the art, this involves finding a global common approach for digitisation (standards, technical and regulatory constraints, guidelines for establishing priorities and choices), and establishing collective and individual priorities.
In case there is no inventory, the basic inventory work will be done. It will also involve guaranteeing the conservation of aging collections via preservation activities and/or their transfer to other types of media.
One of the features of the policy of cultural institutions in the field of heritage digitisation is certainly the individualistic approach, the particular initiative, for a more or less long term and more or less advanced.
Of paramount importance for the study is to identify good practices in digitisation in the French Community of Belgium and to give them wide diffusion at the European level.
Participation in the NRG and in the Minerva project, guaranteed by the partnership of the French Community, offers the Ministry the opportunity and the possibility:
- to benefit from the work, experience, good practice, and plans for
digitisation of the other countries of the European Union;
- to compile a register of the individual and isolated approaches within its institutions or departments;
- to learn from the benefits and necessity of a more co-ordinated approach.
The departments concerned by this study are the Directorate General for Culture, its Archives, Libraries and Museums, the Film Library and the General Department for Audiovisual and Multimedia.
The French Community´s decree of 17 July, 2002, regarding the recognition and subsidizing of museums and similar institutions (Belgian Legal Gazette of 9 October, 2002)
This decree addresses both the recognition and financing of museums and similar institutions, and it sets up an advisory body called the Conseil supérieur des musées et des institutions muséales (supreme council for museums and similar institutions), which shall assist the Government in its decisions and actions.
Three underlying objectives governed the drafting of this legislative
text: the modernisation of the tool used by the museums - the introduction
of new technologies, for example, the scientific quality and, finally,
the democratic character of museum institutions. Emphasis is also
placed on collection inventorying.
More precisely, article 8 of the decree provides for observation of the following museum criteria:
- possess a permanent, inventoried collection of cultural and scientific interest;
- present sufficient guarantees with regard to the study, communication, conservation, and management of the collection;
- possess an infrastructure that is adequate for all museum functions, including the protection of heritage using adequate equipment;
- possess qualified personnel to perform scientific, administrative, educative and technical functions, as well as active security;
- be accessible to the public according to terms predefined by the museum or institution;
- develop a dynamic approach of socially and culturally diverse societies;
- participate in networking or collective museum activities;
- collaborate with other institutions in cultural, educational, social, economic, and tourism fields.
The collection of art works of the Ministry
of the French Community of Belgium and the digitisation of images
The French Community of Belgium Wallonia - Brussels admittedly possesses an
artistic activity pertaining to a long tradition and an internationally
This creative abundance fully fits into the European history of
Art, whether during the past or today, by regularly contributing
to it. Without going back to the Flemish masters of the 15th and
16th centuries, it should be noted that Belgian French-speaking
artists have always been singled out within international artistic
trends. We only have to think of the arts and crafts specific
to architects and artists of the Art nouveau - (for instance:
Horta, Hankar, the jeweller Wolfers).
More recently, the surrealistic trend saw the emergence of René
Magritte or Paul Delvaux, who both gave us another insight into
the world and its perception. Their European success and influence
as well as their numerous emulators all over the world testify
to their "fantastic imaginary", to its originality and
at the same time, to its universality, - this so unusual imaginary
we all see being created and created anew in the Wallonia and
The French Community of Belgium regularly acquires contemporary
art works, perpetuating in this way the policy advocated since
1860 by the Belgian State. It manages about 25.000 masterpieces,
from modern art to most contemporary art, which is one of the
most important and diversified public collections in Belgium.
These works and masterpieces are mainly entrusted to specialised
museums and contemporary art centres created since the 1970´s,
the most recent of which is the Museum for Contemporaneous Arts
at Hornu (Mons). These works are also regularly lent out to help
organise exhibitions - for major works - in great museums or in
local cultural centres for less known artists.
The technique of photography is one of the most essential tools
to be able to identify, show and valorise this heritage which
keeps growing, about 200 new works each year.
A first systematic campaign of black-and-white photographs among
all 25.000 pieces of the collection began during the eighties
and the archiving of negatives was entrusted to the IRPA (Institut
royal du Patrimoine artistique), a still federal institution.
1999 saw the birth of a new campaign of colour reproductions.
At stake was not only the creation of identification documents
as was the case in the past, but also the constitution of a genuine
database with respect to the various aspects and the preservation
state of works. So, sculptures and facilities are submitted to
shooting from various angles and paintings are specifically shot
when they are being restored or "re"-framed.
Though the digitisation of black-and-white drawings had been initiated
from the end of the Eighties onward, it could only really be materialised
and systematised within the framework of checking (verification
of inventory) and restoring campaigns launched since 1999. In
this process of digitisation of 4 x5´ ektachromes, special
care has been given to the reliability of colours for paintings,
as well as the restitution of matters for sculptures. Image retouches
are limited to these colour corrections, to the suppression of
some defaults resulting from the ektachrome support as well as,
in some cases, to the renewed creation of an environment or a
background allowing an enhanced valorisation of the art work.
The calibration between scanners, screens and printings must also
be checked and constantly adjusted so as to ensure a result aimed
at the most faithful restitution of the work.
Reproductions are ranked in separate computer repertoires, whether
identification photographs, restorations (before / after), photographs
of works in situ or how these have been integrated in
the scenography of an exhibition, for instance.
This digitisation of images entails various advantages, among
which quality control when these works are reproduced in catalogues
of exhibitions or in scientific books. It also allows an enhanced
speed of dissemination, as bought works can swiftly be advertised
through Internet, while awaiting a further paper edition.
Terms of reference and National policy profile
Various actions have been taken to support the diffusion and visibility of the Lund action plan and the NRG in the French Community.
Written reports are regularly sent in the French Community to the
Gouverment (Minister-President in Charge of International Relations
- H. Hasquin, Minister of Culture - R. Demotte, Minister of Audiovisual
and the Arts - R. Miller); in the Administration (Film Library,
Directorate General for Culture, General Department for Audiovisual
and Multimedia, General Committee for International Relations, Department
for International relations); and to the Permanent Representation
of the French Communicy to the European Union.
In January 2002 (14/01/02) an information day on the European projects and programmes took place at the Ministry of the French Community. The Lund Principles, NRG, and the Brussels Quality Framework were presented there. The exhibit was organised for private archive centres and for the libraries of the French Community.
In March 2002 a brochure entitled Culture and the Knowledge Society presenting the Belgian Culture Presidency led by the French Community was distributed to cultural operators in the French Community, in the framework of the Fête de l´Internet (Internet Festival). It presented the Lund Principles, the National Representatives Group, the Minerva Project, and the Brussels Quality Framework.
Its content was published online at http://www.cfwb.be/culture-internet.
The Internet site "Brussels Quality Framework" (French-English)
was launched in June 2002. There, the Lund Principles, NRG, and
the Minerva Project are referred to http://www.cfwb.be/qualite-Bruxelles).
On 3 June, 2002, an information meeting at the Directorate General for Culture examined the status of this diversified material and presented the good practices diffused on the occasion of the second NRG meeting held in Alicante in May 2002.
A page of the French Community´s Internet site will soon be put online to propose the start of a "French Community Policy Profile". It will be completed within the next 6 months.
Moreover, considering the structure of the Belgian State, in order that all the ministerial departments concerned by NRG activities should be informed, various activities have been undertaken outside the French Community by the Representative of the French Community to the NRG.
Together with the German-Speaking Community, a basis for collaboration was established in April 2002 with the representative of that Community to the Cultural Affairs Council of the European Union, Edith Bong.
Since March 2002, various informal contacts have been established with the Scientific and Technical Information Service (STIS) of the Federal Science Policy Department. On the 4th of June 2002, the NRG representative of the French Community made a presentation of the progress of the Lund Action Plan (creation of the NRG, launching of the Minerva project and Quality Framework), in a meeting of the National Focal Point "European Archives, Libraries and Museums" (NFP/ALM) chaired by the director of the STIS.
On the 21st of November 2002, during the information day organized by the STIS (in name of the NFP/ALM) in the Royal Library, the representative of the French Community in the NRG made a presentation of the initiatives taken since the Lund meeting with a view to better co-ordinate the digitization policies of the scientific and cultural heritage in the EU (Lund Action Plan, NRG, Minerva). The target public were the archives, libraries and museums of the country as a whole.
3. GERMAN-SPEAKING COMMUNITY
There doesn´t exist any specific digitisation programme in the field of culture. The German-speaking Community approaches the matter by elaborating different projects to disseminate cultural contents.
- Art and Culture:
- Register of cultural associations and artists;
- Information desk;
- Museum (Art collection of the German-Speaking Community);
- Cultural Contact Point of the EU.
- Monument and Landscape Protection:
- Register of listed monuments and landscapes;
- Information desk;
- Information about the Royal Commission of Monument and Sites;
- European Heritage Days.
- Report on the excavations;
- Scientific and historical analyses.
- Media Center
- Register of libraries and media libraries;
- Network of catalogs;
- List of events and animations.
- Digitisation of film archives.
4. FEDERAL SCIENCE POLICY
Introductory note: the federal scientific
and cultural institutions
As a result of the State reform implemented in 1980, the general public competences
in the sector of culture (including the memory institutions: libraries,
archives and museums) have been transferred to the cultural Communities.
Nevertheless several institutions have remained under the responsibility
of the federal authority so as to allow them to continue to preserve
and develop as appropriate what is a priceless indivisible heritage.
Their tasks lie at both national and international level.
Ten of the federal scientific and cultural institutions are "Federal
Scientific Establishments (FSEs)" with a large autonomy, placed
under the administrative control of the department of the Federal
Science Policy, namely (in chronological order): the General State
Archives (created in 1796); the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of
Belgium (1801); the Royal Observatory of Belgium (1826); the Royal
Art and History Museums (1835); the Royal Library of Belgium (1837);
the Belgian Royal Institute of Natural Sciences (1846); the Royal
Museum of Central Africa (1897); the Royal Meteorological Institute
(1913); the Royal Institute of Artistic Heritage (1946) and the
Belgian Institute of Space Aeronomy (1964). To these ten institutions
should be added the Research and Documentation Centre on War and
Contemporary Society, which partly comes under the General State
Archives whilst enjoying autonomy status. The Belgian Royal Film
Archive is also funded by the Federal Science Policy budget. The
Royal Museum of the Army and Military History comes under the
federal Department of Defence.
Policy scenario for digitisation
Promotion and valorization of the scientific potential of the FSEs
During the last years, the Federal Science Policy department took various initiatives in order to promote and valorise the scientific potential of the FSEs. The emphasis was put on the support of new multiannual scientific projects (including digitization projects), the strengthening of their human resources, the setting up of research networks with the academic world and the integration of the establishments in the national communication network for research (Belnet).
White Book for the modernization of the Federal Scientific Establishments (FSEs)
A major initiative was taken in May 2002 by the federal Minister of Scientific
Research and the Government Commissioner responsible for Science
Policy, namely the publication (with the Heads of the FSEs) of
the White Book "Horizon 2005" that aims at giving a significant
impulse to the modernization of the ten federal scientific establishments
(FSEs), in synergy with the "Copernicus" reform of the
federal administration. The establishments should be raised to
the highest international level as regards both quality and social
relevance of the research and scientific public service they carry
out. And they should permanently secure that this high level of
performance is maintained. In order to reach these objectives
and to fill the gap accumulated with regard to the similar foreign
institutions, significant extra-investments will be needed during
ten years, in particular as regards infrastructure.
For more information see: http://www.belspo.be/belspo/ostc/geninfo/publ/pub_ostc/esf/Witboek_fr.pdf.
The conservation and valorisation of the scientific, historical
and artistic heritage held by the FSEs has been identified as
a major issue at stake, in order to give the FSEs the capacity
to keep in phase with the evolution of the society (new museology,
use of new information technologies, in particular digitization
policy, etc), to contribute to the image of the country and of
its institutions and to improve the services to the society, the
political authorities and the citizens. Another major challenge
is the role the FSEs have to play in the development of the information
society and especially in the improvement of access to knowledge.
Eight programmes of action have been identified, the first of
which being called "Using the new information technologies
in order to secure the management and the access to heritage".
A set of wide ranging measures in favour of the digitization of
the scientific and cultural heritage is proposed including the
digitization of collections, inventories, catalogs and data and
the development of new - online and offline - electronic services.
A preparatory strategic study aimed at contributing to the setting
up of the digitization action plan for the ten Federal Scientific
Establishments (FSEs) and the Royal Film Archive (RFA) is currently
being carried out by an external consultant and will be achieved
by March 2003.
The main tasks of the study are: (i) to make a comprehensive inventory
of the collections, skills, resources and needs and to draw up
a state-of-the-art report; (ii) to build a shared vision and a
common strategy with the FSEs and the RFA for the ten years to
come; and (iii) to make an estimation of the human, technical
and financial resources needed. A global and collective approach
to a large-scale digitization of the scientific and cultural heritage
held by the federal establishments should be elaborated (e.g.
on standards, technical and regulatory constraints, guidelines
for priority settings, etc), taking into account the individual
constraints and priorities and the specificities of each institution.
Terms of reference and National policy profile
It will be proposed that the federal contribution to the National
policy profile and to the Questionnaire will be co-ordinated by
the Federal Science Policy department (more precisely, its Scientific
and Technical Information Service - STIS). The STIS will gather
information on the policies and activities of the FSEs. The ongoing
study on the digitization of the FSEs and the RFA will be an important
source of information and of examples of good practices. The STIS
will contribute to ensure awareness of the NRG Terms of reference
and of the Lund Principles in the federal institutions. A progress
report on the Lund Action Plan will be circulated at the next
meeting of the College of Heads of the FSEs (9th of December 2002).
Setting-up of an ad hoc Consultation group
for the follow-up of the Lund process
On the 24th of September an information meeting on the Minerva project and on the activities of the National Representatives Group was held with the appointed representatives of the Flemish, French and German-speaking Communities, and of the Federal Science Policy Department.
In order to guarantee a co-ordinated approach of Belgium towards the EU for the follow-up of the Lund Action Plan, it has been proposed to give a permanent character to these ad hoc consultation meetings for the duration of the Minerva project (i.e. until February 2005). Taking into account its role in the Minerva project, the French Community will be responsible for the co-ordination and the secretariat of these meetings. This mechanism will also allow the exchange of information on these matters between the Communities and the federal department of Science Policy.
Federal e-Government portal
This is a project initiated by the federal Prime Minister. An agreement was established between the federal, Community and Regional authorities with a view to guarantee a co-ordinated approach of all public Government portals (Federal State, Communities, Regions). Two work groups were created: one for the technical aspects and one for the content. The task of the "Content" work group is to agree on a common definition of the two first levels of navigation in the portals.
Co-ordination of national networks
- Digicult Vlaanderen Co-ordination group: formed in September
2002. Composed of members from the Culture administration, representatives
from the Flemish Community in the European groups (NRG and Minerva)
and a few Flemish organisations such as CultuurNet Vlaanderen
(formerly: Vlaams Centrum voor Cultuurcommunicatie) and Culturele
Biografie Vlaanderen, which are developing a few important projects
in the area of digitisation. The objectives of this co-ordination
group are listed above. Between meetings, information is sent
electronically with a request for feedback.
- The Media-innovation cell monitors and supports eFl@nders
- the Digitaal Actieplan Vlaanderen (development and spread
of know-how, co-ordination and policy recommendations, support
of operational structure of eFl@nders, which consists of the
Information Society Steering Group on the one hand and the Strategic
Digital Forum on the other).
- Some examples of co-operation activities:
a portalsite for exhibitions and museums;
an initiative of different actors in the cultural heritage sector
and supported by the Flemish Minister of Culture.
Relationships and co-ordination with other national initiatives
in connection with eEurope, e-government, e-learning
with the e-government programme the Flemish government aims to create
an integrated government counter, which ensures that all citizens,
businesses, organisations, institutions and associations can communicate
in confidence with an interactive government and that all authorities
work together to offer everyone in Flanders, regardless of location,
time and communication channel, an efficient level of government
services. A number of members of the Digicult Vlaanderen co-ordination
group are also monitoring the Flemish government´s progress
with e-government in the policy areas of Culture, Youth, Sports
and Media. For more information: http://www.vlaanderen.be/egovernment.
The Culture database also has a place in this story. The Culture
database project (of CultureNet Flanders) includes a network of
databases, whereby it is assumed that time will also be made for
partner databases: these are just as many initiatives by towns and
villages, cities and provinces, sector centres, and also by private
organisations. With all these partners, alignment is sought often
in quite intensive partner routes. The Culture database project
is also striving towards alignment with the e-government route of
the Flemish Community. Cultural information and services must be
included in the e-government initiatives on the Internet. Alignment
is also being actively sought with Flanders Tourism. In view of
the overlapping of tourism and cultural information, (events, cultural
organisations, etc.), and the many common partners, alignment of
the culture database with the tourism and recreation database of
Flanders speaks for itself. For more information: http://www.cultuurnet.be.
E-europe: The eFl@nders Digitaal Actieplan Vlaanderen aims to give a more concrete backdrop to the policy intentions expressed in the Flemish coalition agreement. To this end the Flemish government approved the eFl@nders Framework Note on 29 March 2002 in which the main lines, strategic options, and success enhancing activities of the Digitaal Actieplan Vlaanderen were established. The four lines of force are:
- High quality and accessible infrastructure;
- Investment in people and skills;
- Stimulation and strengthening of digital Flanders;
- Inclusive and democratic information society.
The practical details of
this framework will be established in an annual eFl@nders plan of
action. The Digitaal Actieplan Vlaanderen relates partly to the
digitisation of scientific and cultural content. With its eFl@nders
- Digitaal Actieplan Vlaanderen, the Flemish government hopes to
tie in with the objectives and lines of force of the eEurope 2002
action plan. For more information: http://www.eflanders.be.
In March 2002, the European portal site for Culture, (http://europe.eu.int/comm/culture),
was launched. In the first phase, the content is confined to general
information over the context and mission of the portal site. Furthermore,
there is a heading at which an overview is given with links to the
national culture Websites of the member states. For Flanders the
link is made to the Website of the Cultur e administration (http://www.vlaanderen.be/cultuur).
Visitors who click through to the Culture Website from the European portal site can obtain a concise English description (by clicking the "English" link) of the minister´s cultural policy and of Cultuurnet Vlaanderen.
Gert Van Tittelboom, Webmaster for the Culture administration and member of the co-ordination study group is also one of the Webmasters who monitors the portal site at the European level. In this context he also monitors Minerva WP5 "Website Quality".
A request has been put forward to extend the Flanders site in the future by adding English.
In the second phase it was opted to make the portal site a platform, upon which more detailed information can be found: more therefore than just a list of links.
the department of education gives information via http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/
ict over the educational use of ICT in education. Here, links are
made to studies, training and international networks.
A text explaining how ICT fits in with education in 2002-2004 has recently been written, and this can also be consulted via the Website.
Via Minerva too, information is exchanged on for example the "Campus Electronique" e-learning project.
European and international co-operation
both the NRG representative and the Webmaster for
the Culture administration are in contact with the Netherlands;
several Flemish intermediary organisations,
such as support points have international contacts
in their domains and / or participate in European projects (cf. the PULMAN project);
- the Nederlandse Taalunie (co-operation between Flanders and the Netherlands)
also deals with aspects of ICT. More information:
- CultuurNet Vlaanderen (CultureNet Flanders) and CultureNets Europe: one of the networks with which Flanders´ CultureNet maintains close contact, is CultureNets. This is made up of organisations abroad, which have developed projects, similar to Culture database. They want to set up the CultureNet Association (CNA) together. The CultureNets are commonly set up on the initiative of the government, and are mainly occupied with digital revelation of the cultural offer available and the public range. In the establishment of CNA, CultureNet Flanders wants to take up a key role. The aim of this network is to exchange experiences and knowledge about everything related to "culture&digital". In particular, the Culture database project connects to the CultureNets operations. The network exists of CultureNet Denmark, CultureNet Sweden, CultureNet Norway, CultureNet Iceland, CultureNet Finland, CultureNet Croatia, CultureNet Schleswig-Holstein, CultureNet Greenland and Digitaal Erfgoed Nederland (Digital Heritage Netherlands).
2. FRENCH COMMUNITY
Co-ordination of national networks
Creation of a task force for the NRG and Minerva within the Ministry.
Participation of the Representative of the French Community to the Committee for Cultural Affairs
of the European Union
Collaboration with the agenda of the Presidency of the European Union constitutes an important factor in the backing of the development and progression of the NRG´s work and in the guarantee of synergy between the NRG´s work and the Presidencies of the EU. This synergy was strongly established in the French Community through discussion via the Cultural Affairs Committee (CAC) of the Council´s draft decision on the long-term presentation of digital memory during the Spanish Presidency of the European Union.
This synergy will be actively maintained with the programme of future Presidencies of the European Union (presence of the Representative of the French Community to the CAC and close collaboration with the permanent Representation of the French Community to the European Union supported and encouraged by the General Secretary).
Cycle of meetings on the topic of cultural tourism and the importance of museums with regard to tourism organized by the General Department for Cultural Patrimony and Plastic Arts of the Ministry of the French Community
In the intention of contributing to the development of Museums and, more particularly, of practicing a cultural policy that favours such institutions, the Ministry of the French Community is organising a Cycle of meetings dedicated to cultural tourism, with emphasis placed on the role and importance of museums for tourism.
By inviting Museum directors, but also the directors of tourist agencies to these meetings, the Cultural Patrimony Department wishes to promote privileged meetings between cultural and tourism operators. It is together that reflection will take place and that the issues addressed will be determined in consideration of the demands of leaders in these industries.
Priority will be given to the public: a process of permanent collaboration will be established with the museum community, which will give this step a dynamic connotation.
The "inaugural" day of the Cycle, organised by our Ministry on 21 November, 2002 was singled out by the addresses of the Minister of Culture, R. Demotte and the Secretary General of the French Community, Henry Ingberg, Unesco´s Protector of Patrimony, the Director of the European Institute of Cultural Agendas.
Organizers have planned to add to the agenda of a Day of this Cycle of meetings, the European initiatives for co-ordination of policy relating to the digitisation of cultural and scientific patrimony in the European Union.
The Walloon Museums portal
Signed in December of 2001, the Convention linking the Walloon Region, the
French Community of Belgium, and the ASBL Musées et Société en
Wallonie, has the primary objective of involving Walloon museums
in a policy for tourism and T.I.C. development, while lending
visibility to the AICIM (computerised access to the collections
of museum institutions concluded between the CFB and MSW in December
2000) programme. To this end, the Internet portal, which will
soon be operational, will help the promotion, both in Belgium
and abroad, of the permanent and temporary activities of all Walloon
museums, that is, some 350 institutions.
The portal will be divided into two parts. The first, addressing
the public at large, will offer not only information on Walloon
museums, but also on cultural "packages". In other words,
a collection of cultural and tourism information will be available
through each of the museums (lodging, dining, other natural and
cultural sites of interest, etc.). The second part will only be
accessible to museum professionals and will likely contain information
relating to the collections, libraries, etc., but also resource
lists (services, supplies, sources of financing, exchange programmes,
At the same time that the portal is launched, reception terminals
will be installed in thirty-four museums, while two promotional
terminals reserved for the Walloon Region and the French Community
will subsequently be installed at strategic tourist sites to be
This project is entirely financed by the Walloon Region, and its
implementation is entrusted to M.S.W. Each museum will thus have
one page - enriched with various links - illustrated with three
photographs. The illustrations come either from museums, or from
the work of photographers hired for the project (the photographic
campaign being closed).
The Portal was built in observance of the quality criteria of
Brussels Quality Framework on the recommendation of the Ministry
of Culture of the French Community.
Relationships and co-ordination with other national initiatives in
connection with e-Europe, e-government, e-learning
The French Community collaborates with the federal e-Government project initiated
by the Belgian Prime Minister, within the framework of the co-operation
agreement established between the federal, Community and Regional
authorities. The close work between the official of the Ministry
of the French Community, official representative of the Community
in the e-Governement concertation body and the representative
of the French Community in the NRG, co-ordinator of the Minerva
project for the Ministry, guarantees future co-ordination for
developing the culture item.
The project consists of entirely re-thinking relations between
the public authorities, citizens, and the businesses using the
opportunities offered by modern technologies, the Internet, and
new media forms.
The aim is to provide users fast, efficient, and integrated services
with minimal administrative formalities.
Via these portals, users will enter their requests only once (without
worrying who will process it).
Document required of a user by one administration and coming from
a second administration will be transmitted directly from one
administration to the other without user intervention.
The creation of this e-government called for an accord between
the Federal, Community, and Regional authorities...
Two portals (one for citizens, the other for businesses) are presently
being built. In the process, care is being taken to respect the
user´s logic and not that of the public authorities.
Two workgroups (with the members of Federal, Community, and Regional
institutions) have been created: one for technical aspects and
one for content.
The "Content" workgroup´s task is to define the two
first levels of navigation in the two portals. The definition
of this navigation structure for the Citizen portal was based
on the "Citizen´s Lifecycle". The first level of
navigation lists the important and / or memorable episodes in
life from birth to death (e.g., childhood, studies, health, married
life...), i.e., 24 episodes. These episodes are then subdivided
into multiple phases, making up the 2nd level of navigation.
To complete this task (nearly completed today), comparisons were
made by the selected service provider with other e-government
projects in France, Québec, Great Britain, and elsewhere.
European and international co-operation
The Europe and Culture portal
The "Europe and Culture" portal, launched on the occasion of the informal meeting of European Ministers of Culture in Salamanca, Spain, on 18 and 19 March, 2002, is a simple information tool in 5 languages (FR, EN, GE, IT, and SP) intended for all those interested in European Union activities in the field of culture.
The public address is:
The "Europe and Culture" portal aims to guide cultural operators, teachers ad researchers, heads of public institutions, but also ordinary citizens interested in Culture and Europe through the various interventions of the EU in this area. The portal presents a collection of useful and simple information on cultural activities such as music, dance, or restoration of heritage, or on the different Community activities, such as cultural
co-operation, regulations, cultural financing, and international relations.
With synergy in mind, Isabelle Dujacquier, representative of the French Community to the NRG and co-ordinator of the Minerva project for the French Community, was designated as Community correspondent for the European cultural portal. At the first meeting of correspondents of the European culture portal on 26 June, 2002, the Minerva project and the work of the Quality Group were presented.
The "Francophone" Museum portal
The participation of the Ministry of the French Community in the "Francophone"
(France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada) museum network project,
which constitutes the continuity of the three "Francophone"
meetings "Museum Institutions and New Technologies", should
allow for the diffusion of future results of the Minerva project.
Research and diversity of museums
The University of Québec at Montréal (EQAM) and, in particular, the master´s programme in Museology organised "Wealth and Diversity of Museums" on 13 April, 2002.There the representative of the Directorate for Culture, Museums Department presented the Brussels Quality Framework.
The objectives of this event were to present and analyze the relations between museums, to ensure the promotion of new works, and to promote the museology education programme of the EQAM and its partnership with the University of Avignon for a doctorate in museology.
The principal museologists and specialists of Québec museums (B. Schiele, R. Montpetit, M. Dubé,Y. Bergeron) and French museums (MM J. Davallon,D. Poulot) were invited to speak there.
Bibliocom 2002 - Rome, 17 October, 2002
"Quality in cultural Wesites"
Presentation by Isabelle Dujacquier of the work of the Quality workgroup of the Minerva project, while the Lund framework and the NRG were presented by Rosella Caffo, Minerva project co-ordinator.
3. FEDERAL SCIENCE POLICY
Co-ordination of national networks
There is no official and permanent body for consultation nor a
general co-operation agreement between the Communities (and the
federal authority) in the field of culture (and especially for
the memory institutions). Ad hoc solutions are thus defined
when needed in order to facilitate co-ordination e.g. within the
context of Belgian participation in international activities and
At federal level, the scientific, administrative and financial
co-ordination of the ten Federal scientific establishments is
carried out by the College of Heads of FSEs set up in 1996 under
the chairmanship of the Head of the Federal Science Policy department.
An Accompanying Committee has been set up to follow-up the study
on the digitization of the FSEs and the RFA. It comprises representatives
of each of the institutions and of the Federal Science Policy
department. Four thematic working groups have been created (Documents;
Artistic Objects; Scientific Objects; Digital Management). It
appears already that a new dynamics of collaboration between the
various federal institutions is being gradually initiated and
that common approaches are searched for.
The Belnet workgroup "Cultural Heritage" (WGPAT) was created
in 1998. It is a forum for discussion and information exchange
on the technical aspects of databases in the field of cultural
heritage. The aims of the project were: (i) to build a discussion
forum concerning cultural heritage (and specially digital images);
(ii) to list and evaluate standards; (iii) to publish a yearbook
with persons and institutions who are specialists in the field
of cultural heritage; and (iv) to make public reference databases
Relationships and co-ordination with other national initiatives in connection
with eEurope, e-government, e-learning
The White Book for the modernization of the FSEs and the digitization study
take full account of the need to develop the potential contribution
of the FSEs in the federal e-government initiative (especially
the federal e-Gov Portal).
European and international co-operation
The Federal Science Policy department has been co-ordinating since 1990 the activities of the Belgian National Focal Point (NFP) which was created in order to follow-up the Telematics Applications for Libraries activities of the FP3 and FP4 for RTD of the EU. It was decided in January 1999 to enlarge the NFP to representatives of the archives and museums in order to be able to reflect in an appropriate manner the new place for these memory institutions in FP5 (IST programme). The NFP/European Archives, Libraries and Museums (NFP/ALM) comprises professionals from the three sectors as well as civil servants from the appropriate administrations nominated by each Cultural Community and the Federal Authority. It was appointed for the duration of FP5. The chairmanship and the secretariat of the NFP/ALM were run by the STIS (Scientific and Technical Information Service).
The STIS is the Belgian national node of the pan-European network CULTIVATE for the Digital Cultural Heritage community. The network is an accompanying measure of the IST programme (FP5). Contacts were established with the new Candidate Countries within the framework of the network CULTIVATE-CEE. The STIS is also one of the Belgian National Contact Points of the programme eContent (2002-2005), included in the eEurope action plan.
1. FLEMISH COMMUNITY
The Flemish representative in the Benchmarking Group has distributed the benchmarking model to a few museums in Flanders, but not received any useful information. It seems the model was not always easy to fill in for these institutions, which are often still in the early stages of digitisation. Also considering the fact that museums are often asked to fill out questionnaires, a government incentive would be of interest when questionnaires have to be filled in.
It would be interesting if a sort of theme were to grow from the benchmarking model for the process of digitisation, in other words, a sort of checklist to which institutions could refer.
2. FRENCH COMMUNITY
With a view to the seminary on heritage preservation, organised under the aegis of the Belgium Presidency, Community Minister Demotte, in charge of Culture, has ordered an inquiry to take stock of the practices of competent instances and institutions in the field of digitisation and of the processing on Internet of the cultural and scientific heritage in the French Community of Belgium. Through this enquiry light has been shed on the disparity among institutions, some being already highly evolved in digitisation and reflection, others even not possessing computers.
On the occasion of the Internet Feast in March 2001, the General Direction for Culture of the French Community of Belgium has edited a booklet bringing back to mind the initiatives taken by the Belgian Presidency as far as new technologies and Knowledge Society are concerned. It was also an opportunity to take stock of our results and to show our projects as well as to begin a book summing up the Internet sites of cultural operators.
The first initiatives in the field of e-administration of the French
Community of Belgium (http://www.cfwb.be/portail/guichet)
and the sector initiatives are presented. This resolutely practical
booklet enumerates the electronic addresses of institutions that,
in the same way, have answered a questionnaire inspired by the work
of the Benchmarking group (http://www.cfwb.be/culture-internet).
The current initiatives and the coming initiatives are and will be conceived taking into account recommendations coming from the work of the Minerva project "Benchmarking" Workpackage.
3. FEDERAL SCIENCE POLICY
A study was carried out
by the Royal Institute of Artistic Heritage a few years ago on the
information tools (inventories, software, Websites) used in the
field of cultural heritage (especially art history). As a result,
a Website "Belgian Art Links and Tools" was set up (see: http://balat.kikirpa.be/web/index-fr.html).
The above mentioned study on the digitization of the FSEs and the RFA will undoubtedly provide new data on the specific competences and skills existing in the federal scientific establishments as regards digitization and on the experience already gained.
Inventories and resource discovery
1. FLEMISH COMMUNITY
In preparation for the eFl@nders - Digitaal Actieplan Vlaanderen a
summary of ongoing government initiatives and projects in the area
of the information society has been drawn up. For more information:
- In the Culture administration,
a summary has been complied of the digitisation projects subsidised in the year 2002.
- In the framework of the Culture database project of CultureNet Flanders,
in the preparatory phase, an extended qualitative investigation (inventory) was
conducted into existing databases and initiatives in Flanders. This investigation
provided a good picture of existing digitisation across the culture sector in
Flanders. For this purpose a methodology was developed. In the future a similar
investigation will also be carried out, with the intention of gaining a complete
quantitative image of the situation in Flanders, and this at regular intervals.
Metadata and interoperability for resource inventories
As far as the ministry is aware there have been no co-ordination activities with the Minerva-study group in this area.
Nevertheless, within the different ongoing projects such as VLACC
II / Digitale Bibliotheek Vlaanderen, these items are being further
developed (cf. infra - competence centres).
2. FRENCH COMMUNITY
For the General Direction of Culture, only Heritage and Plastic Arts possess an exhaustive inventory of their collections, updated but not integrated and not suitable for interoperability.
The first actions that will be taken within the framework of the digitisation plan will, first, make an inventory of the collections on the basis of a questionnaire. When there is no inventory, in whatever way, of some funds or collections, the basic inventory work will be performed, taking into account the significance of the involved heritage.
Nevertheless, we can already mention various initiatives aimed at co-ordinating institutions.
AICIM (Accès informatisé aux collections des institutions muséales), launched in 1997 by the General Department for Cultural Heritage and Plastic Arts and currently managed in co-operation with the limited company Musées et Société en Wallonie, has the following aims: facilitate the information and the management of collections through the use of common software and establish data exchange among museums.
This project is directed at public museums subsidised by the French
Community of Belgium, i.e. more than 80 institutions among the 450
existing in the French Community of Belgium. In its first phase,
the team of the project has made an inventory of the existing material
to complete it. Five groups of specific interest have been constituted
(archaeology, art and history, ethnology and natural sciences, technical
sciences and industries) to draw up a minimal common inventory file
according to the type of collection using the international standards
of ICOM - CIDOC and determining the adequate thesauri. Currently,
the database common to 56 institutions holds 11.000 files.
As regards the inventory of audiovisual heritage of the General Department for Audiovisual and Multimedia (Service général de l´Audiovisuel et des Multimédias -SGAM):
- the SGAM put in place an Internet database called CINEKIOSQUE,
containing cinema productions aided by the Centre du Cinéma
et de l´audiovisuel since 1995. This database allows
visitors to search alphabetically by the following categories:
documentaries, short films, long films, films for television,
directors. It is made up of a collection of descriptive reference
cards in html format for each production and each director. Each
card includes textual information (summary, director, etc.) and
a photograph, whenever possible. Each film card is connected by
link to the card for the film director.
- The SGAM is currently working on a new, more powerful version
of CINEKIOSQUE. The new application is developed under MICROSOFT
ACCESS and is used to generate cards for paper catalogue and for
consultation via Internet instead of the current CINEKIOSQUE version.
The database is said to contain all films produced in the French
Community since 1990 for long films and since 1987 for short films,
regardless of whether or not they were aided by the Centre du
Cinéma et de l´Audiovisuel. The information available for
each film will be textual information (summary, director, producers,
co-producers, medium, duration, etc.), photographs (TIFF for catalogues,
JPEG for Internet viewing), and Internet links whenever pertinent.
No video clip attachments are planned.
At present, the database contains some 2800 entries (not all of which are complete).
Metadata and interoperability for resource inventories
The field of
audio-visual archives is usually characterised by proprietary solutions,
such as HUMMINGBIRD (for the archive bank available on-line at http://www.paxos.com,
or for the archive project PORTAL currently developed through local
televisions of the French Community of Belgium) or CONVERRA (for
archiving CANAL + Belgium). However, the existence of a project
based on open standards, and supported by the CIRTEF (Communauté
Internationale des Radios Télévisions d´Expression Francophone)
and developed by a Belgian consortium, should be noted. It is the
AIME project (Archivage Intelligent Multimedia Economique), inspired
from the concept "collection-based persistent data archives"
developed by the San Diego Supercomputer Centre. The management
of metadata is based on XML and MPEG7, and the project is currently
developed following the DJAKARTA freeware series. A short description
of the project is available at the address http://www.titan.be/fr/hanovre.htm.
In the field of tattoos and of the management of rights of intellectual
property, note should be taken of the solutions developed by the
OCTALIS firm (a spin-off of UCL communication laboratories). OCTALIS
has, among others, developed a system of rights in the field of
digital films. OCTALIS furthermore advocates the ORDL (Open Digital
Rights Language) initiative, the aim of which is to develop an open
standard for the management of digital rights. Further information
can be obtained at http://www.octalis.com.
3. FEDERAL SCIENCE POLICY
and links to the Websites of the federal institutions can be found
on the following Websites: http://www.belspo.be/belspo/ostc/institut/index_uk.stm (Federal Science Policy department) and
under "Archives-Libraries-Museums" (Website of the STIS). Specific
pages dedicated to the National policy profile will be set up.
One of the objectives of the ongoing strategic study on the digitization of the ten Federal Scientific Establishments (FSEs) and the Royal Film Archive (RFA) is to produce an inventory of their existing resources, collections, databanks and information systems. A detailed inventory of their achievements and existing experience will be done. The results of the study should be made available by March 2003.
Good practice and skills
1. FLEMISH COMMUNITY
Good practice exemplars and guidelines
Various recently formed organisations are in the process of starting and developing a number of large projects on digitisation and digital dissemination.
The listing of good practices in Flanders has not been systematically compiled, but undoubtedly will be a major next step in developing digitisation policy.
The Flemish government has opted to use support points in its development of a cultural policy. A support point acts as a catalyst between policymakers and people in the field, between universities and the public, between information and education, between government and practice, between society and cultural practice.
The support point has three key tasks:
- practical support;
- practical development;
Competence and specialisation in the area of digitisation is growing in a few of these and other institutions. For example:
- CultuurNet Vlaanderen: As an expertise junction, CultureNet Flanders wishes to collect, develop and re-distribute and share existing knowledge and experience around cultural communication, and thereby contribute to improved practice and professionalism in the field of cultural communication. A knowledge Web supplies tailor-made, relevant and practice-oriented information, such as white papers and announcements of relevant events. The development of the culture database project will also generate crucial knowledge on digitisation.
- Vlaams Centrum voor Openbare
Bibliotheken (Flemish Centre for Public Libraries): develops specific
competence in the application of standards for data description
= (meta) data description standards. And later on for searches:
search and retrieval standards; integration of services in a network
context: service provisioning in a network
Biografie Vlaanderen: The Culturele Biografie Vlaanderen vzw,
the support point for cultural heritage, has been set up on 1
January 2002 and has been further developed in the course of 2002
Culturele Biografie Vlaanderen vzw supports and co-ordinates the
operation of the cultural units implementing the covenants. In
addition, it provides advice to other organisations and initiatives
aiming to develop a comprehensive approach towards cultural heritage.
Situated between the people in the field and the policymakers
the Culturele Biografie Vlaanderen vzw plays, like the other support
points, a detecting and informative role towards both groups.
At the same time it fulfils, whitin its domain, a co-ordinating
task between various other support points, such as the Vlaams
Centrum voor Volkscultuur (http://www.vcv.be).
Main digitisation training initiatives for cultural heritage institutions
The more these organisations are able to develop their operations, the more we will see educational initiatives in the area of digitisation. In the future the Digicult Vlaanderen co-ordination group can take on a stimulating role in the creation of a knowledge platform relating to the digitisation of scientific and cultural content. Examples include:
of the educational possibilities offered by the museum in the
digital youth culture" (2001): The Flemish community has given
this study assignment to the Education Research Group at the University
of Gent, and it is supervised by professor Soetaert. The digital
report - a work in progress - commissioned by the ministry of
the Flemish Community, Department of Visual Arts and Museums,
can be found at: http://memling.rug.ac.be/museum.
- "Information on Flemish collection on the Internet; need for a phased approach" (2000): The Flemish community has given this study assignment to the firm, Kate Thomas & Klein, Corporate Communications Consultants, Brussels.
- Adlib (since 1997): The museum application (Adlib standard) is a program used to record a museum´s collection in an effective and reliable manner. The Flemish Community organises courses on how to operate the program.
2. FRENCH COMMUNITY
The projects enumerated hereafter allow us to identify some competence centres and practices used in the field of culture.
In the field of archives, an experiment of digitisation is currently
carried out at MUNDANEUM (http://www.mundaneum.be),
centre for private archives of the French Community of Belgium.
Created at the end of the 19th century on the initiative of two
lawyers, Paul Otlet and Henri Lafontaine, the Mundaneum aimed at
bringing together within one place all the knowledge in the world.
Documentation centre with a universal vocation, its objective was
to become a meeting place for all men of good will and from all
disciplines with a pacifist conviction. It possesses countless documentary
collections : Musée international de la presse, Répertoire Iconographique
Universel (posters, post cards, glass plates, photographs, Universal
Documentation Register, archives of the Amis du Palais mondial.
The will of the institution is to diffuse information internationally.
That´s why iconographical documents and the documents of the Musée
de la Presse are being listed, digitised and made available to the
public on computer.
Even if costs are high and results sometimes deceptive (thousands images, and the memory allowed for each one is very small, so of lesser quality), the moral obligation of paying a tribute to the will of the creators to put at the disposal of the whole world the wealth of collections compels us to go ahead rather than opting for solutions that are less expensive and more reduced as far as diffusion is concerned, such as microfilming.
However, to save in all urgency the press of the 19th and 20th centuries, it seems indispensable to transit through microfilming which allows a consultation during more than 500 years, the costs of which are reduced and the technology of which is not evolving, while waiting for the digitisation of the originals or microfilms.
This is the position adopted by the CarCob (Centre des Archives communistes en Belgique) that is digitising its collection of the organ of the Belgian Communist Party, Le Drapeau Rouge. This work is done in close co-operation with the Royal Library, on the one hand, to complete the incomplete collection of both institutions, and on the other hand, for the microfilming performed on the equipment of the Royal Library. This project is a pilot experiment and should be repeated with other institutions that possess collections of 19th and 20th century newspapers written in French. For this very fragile heritag his very fragile heritage microfilming provides good value for money for safeguarding in all urgency, waiting serenely for the digitisation with a view to preservation and consultation. Finally, both institutions will have, each, a copy of the almost complete collection of Le Drapeau Rouge.
The Centre international de Codicologie, the head office of which
is at the Royal Library of Belgium, works, in partnership with the
French Community of Belgium, at the creation of an Internet site
where will be presented the magazine Scriptorium, the Bulletin Codicologique
and the bibliographical documentation with respect to mediaeval
manuscripts registered in the magazines.
The project is ambitious, concretised with the scientific rigor of researchers benefiting from an experience of numerous years. Every researcher, wherever in the world, will accede to bibliographical references, in the places of preservation and, in a second stage of the project, to reviews made the collaborators to these magazines that respectively exist since 1946 et 1959.
In the same vein, in the French Community of Belgium, the Maison
du Spectacle - La Bellone (http://www.dataflot.com/bellone)
has begun digitising its documentary resources and its on-line connection.
Its platform is directed at the same time to performing professionals
(databank with curricula vitae of actors, show announcements, rights,
etc.) as well as at the wide audience with a subscription possibility
to a cultural agenda and the access to the archives of the centre.
As far as the library sector is concerned, several initiatives have
been taken in the French Community of Belgium. For instance, the
site of the Ministry of the French Community of Belgium shelters
in its feature "public reading" an interactive site (http://www.cfwb.be/annuairebiblio)
managed by librarians and proposing a book of sites according to
an assessment grid devised by librarians for their audience. Beside
this presentation of the institution, it comments on the content,
the identification, the navigation, the presentation, the referencing
and the configuration with notes from one to three stars.
On the other hand, the Service de la Lecture publique (http://www.cfwb.be/lecpub)
and the Centre de lecture publique de la Communauté française (http://www.cfwb.be/clpcf)
want to create a "site of the sites" of libraries of the
French Community of Belgium. Functioning as major linking element,
there are more than 200 libraries having access to Internet (ISDN
or ADSL lines).
This site will present three access levels : one for Webmasters, one for librarians and one for users of libraries and the wide public. Will be taken up on these sites : the announcement of an agenda with subscription possibilities, one (or two) database(s) regarding each library and bibliobus, an intern database (administrative everyday management and maintenance of a descriptive file compendium with respect to libraries and other institutions) with interoperability at the level of the actualisation of the data.
European added value and content framework
1. FLEMISH COMMUNITY
Quality and accessibility for Web sites
The aim of this working group is to draw up a "Quality framework" with criteria for the realisation of quality Websites on culture. Belgium and Spain are the leaders in this group. The Culture administration has delegated its Webmaster to participate actively in this package. Via the Digicult Vlaanderen Co-ordination group, he keeps the main players in Flanders up to date on these developments and consults closely with the NRG representative of the French-speaking Community.
It appeared at the last meeting, held on 16 October 2002, that most countries have guidelines for government sites, involving a number of quality criteria. This is also the case in Flanders. Proposals have been made to pay greater attention to the aspect of "accessibility" to cultural Websites, particularly in the context of the "European year for disabled people" in 2003.
The proposed co-operative links between the Benchmarking group and the Websites Quality group can only serve to enhance the incorporation of models and recommendations.
We have some projects that are specifically working on this subject (for example: the conservation of videomaterial), but we perceive the need to work further in this area in the future. (See also research projects).
2. FRENCH COMMUNITY
Quality and accessibility for Web sites
The Ministry of the French Community of Belgium, founding partner of the Minerva project (Ministerial Network for valorising activities in digitisation) has been entrusted with the co-ordination (80%) of the working group "Identification of user needs, content and quality framework for common access points", in partnership with the National Library of Spain (20%).
The quality criteria for Websites originate in the principles adopted at Lund on 4 April 2001 and appear in the conclusions of two expert meetings organised during the Belgian Presidency of Culture ("The digitisation of cultural heritage on the Web", Brussels 17 July 2001 and "Culture and Internet",
Mons 22 September 2001).
The Brussels quality framework has been included in the "Culture and Knowledge Society" resolution adopted at the Council of European Culture Ministers of 5 November 2001. A working document has been devoted to the Brussels quality framework and presented during the first meeting of National Representatives Groups held in Brussels on 11 December 2001 under the aegis of the Belgian Presidency of Culture.
The working strategy of the Group is to feed on experience, good practices and quality criteria existing at the national level in the various countries of the European Union.
Though various actions were initiated to disseminate quality criteria, as well inside as outside, the short-term aim is to constitute a quality group in the French Community with representatives of the museum world, libraries and archiving places.
In the field
of preservation and maintenance, we have already spoken of the AIME
project resting on the "collection-based persistent digital
archives" approach. This approach has received all the attention
of the AIME consortium as it appears to be one of the most promising
approaches if we keep in mind long-term preservation. Very schematically,
we can say that this approach proposes an architecture to manage
the migration of data, and an informational model to manage the
migration of the structure of the context allowing data interpretation.
For more details on this approach, you can consult the San Diego
Supercomputer Centre Website at http://www.sdsc.edu/NARA
or even the two articles published on the subject in the on-line
magazine D-Lib at http://www.dlib.org
(March and April 2000 issues).
Research activities on digitisation
1. FLEMISH COMMUNITY
"Management of cultural institutions, cultural experience
and cultural participation in an information society": this
area of study focuses on the question of how ICTs take advantage
of cultural experience as such, and whether and how ICTs can help
increase cultural competence and lower participation thresholds.
An information society will shape the cultural field, i.e. the
artists, cultural institutions and organisations, and the public
who (may or may not) participate in the culture, through the import
and more widespread use of information and communication technologies
(ICT). In the broad cultural field the emphasis comes to lie on
specific cultural institutions (or sub-fields) such as museums,
public broadcasters and cultural centres. In this context see
for Encouraging Stimulating Innovation through Science and Technology
in Flanders: http://www.iwt.be:
including Technical Feasibility Study. Products and Services for
the Arts and Antiques Market, Kempies bvba.
- DAVID (Digital
Archiving in Flemish Institutions and Administrations) is a research
project about digital durability in a governmental environment.
It is a project of the Foundation for Scientific Research within
the scope of the Max Wildiers Foundation and is a co-operation
between the Antwerp City Archives and the Interdisciplinary Centre
for Law and Informatics of the K.U.Leuven. For more information
2. FRENCH COMMUNITY
Should be singled out the
activities of the UCL telecommunication laboratory in the field
of image processing and coding, and of multimedia network securing
(see the site : http://www.tele.ucl.ac.be).
3. FEDERAL SCIENCE POLICY
Ongoing initiatives as regards the digitization of the FSEs
limits of the available means, the FSEs have undertaken a series
of actions during the last years in order to implement various digitization
projects (including the digitization of collections, inventories,
catalogs and data and the development of new - online and offline
- electronic services).
Multiannual Information Society Support Programme (2001-2008)
The Programme is implemented by the Federal Science Policy department and backs up the various initiatives taken elsewhere. Its aim is to stimulate the use of information technologies in target sectors through application projects. The technologies concern the complete array of tools for, e.g., digitizing, processing, exchanging and disseminating information of all kinds, emphasizing what is actually at stake with respect to the interoperability of existing systems. The programme has a pluriannual budget (2001-2008) of EUR 15.2 million.
The programme rests upon an approach that is experimental (funding of test bed projects), targets four specific sectors (i.e. the federal administration, the federal scientific establishments, the non-market sector, and the Belnet users community), is bottom-up (i.e. based on the individual and institutional users´ needs and capacities for initiative) and does not give overriding priority to technological innovation. Special attention is given to applications that meet the programme´s objectives regarding multilingualism, enhanced mastery of content in line with the various types of use, and consideration of the entire implementation chain (back-office reorganisation, regulatory context, and long-term manageability of the systems).
For the FSEs, the programme gives the preference to projects that use a co-operative approach to tackle the digitization of these highly specialised establishments´ collections and information holdings with the purpose of ensuring their conservation and facilitating their use. What is more, in line with the European initiatives taken in this area, it is expected to see the development of innovative application projects on accessing this heritage, especially when it comes to access for users outside the FSEs themselves, that is, the scientific community, education sector, the broad public, etc. The projects are carried out in partnership with technical and/or academic service providers.
The first call for proposals has led to the selection of 10 projects for a total budget of EUR 6.9 million. Most of the projects are implemented in two phases of two years. The implementation of the second phase is conditioned by the result of an external evaluation that takes place in the end of the first phase. Projects involving the FSEs are: UniCat, towards a Belgian virtual union catalogue; Digital access to aerial and astronomical photographic archives; DISSCO, document management integrated system for scientific organisations; Telematic network for teaching art history in universities.
For more information, see: http://www.belspo.be/belspo/ostc/act_scien/fedra/prog.asp?l=u.