November 2004

11 -12 October 2004, Jerusalem, Israel

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The Israel Museum in Jerusalem hosted a conference on 'Digitisation of Science and Cultural Heritage' on 11th and 12th of

October, 2004. The meet was organised in association with the Jewish Agency for Israel ( http://www.jafi.org.il), Ministry of Science and Technology ( http://www.most.gov.il). The international initiatives like Minerva (http://www.miner vaeurope.org), EVA Conferences International ( http://www.eva-conferences.com) and Judaica division of the Harvard University Library collaborated to provide an international dimension to the event.

The conference focused on the creation of awareness among professional community in Israel and its policy makers for the opportunities and challenges of digitisation like: (1) Support for cultural diversity (2) Education and content industries (3) Accessible and sustainable heritage (4) The great variety and richness of digitised resources.

The challenges faced by these agendas include:

  • The fragmentation of different approaches
  • Obsolescence
  • A lack of simple and common access for citizens
  • Intellectual property rights
  • A lack of synergies between cultural and new technologies programmes
  • Limited institutional investment and commitment to cope

Law, culture technology and copyright
The first day of the conference was organised by the Israel MINERVA Working Groups (WG). Minerva is a European Commission project for concerted policies in digitisation. This group dealt with law, culture technology and copyright. The dilemmas involved in this area were expounded. The solutions proposed and limitations inherent to the i-Commons project of the University of Stanford on copyright for digitised materials described.

The WG also organised a workshop on 'User Needs and Quality Framework for Common Access Points' which showcased local projects and explored online accessibility as recommended by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). Leading web presence providers in Israel discussed ways of implementing the 10 Minerva principles on quality of cultural websites ( http://www.minervaeurope.org/userneeds/qualityprinciples.htm).

Another workshop on 'Good Practices and Competence Centres' was organised which showcased some of the best projects in digitisation currently undertaken in Israel.

Future of European digitisation
Pier Giacomo Sola, MINERVA coordinator, presented the future European digitisation policy and projects planned by the European Commission. Dov Winer, director of the eJewish.info initiative lectured on the 'End of the Internet? Some consequences for the Old/New Jewish People'. He focused on the cultural consequences of the total convergence of the media, telecom and Internet. Adolfo Roitman, the curator of the Dead Sea Scrolls addressed the fascinating issue of the relation of one of the oldest documents from the Jewish and Christian traditions and the newest technologies.

Ongoing European projects showcased
Projects supported by the European Commission in the area of digitisation of cultural heritage were also showcased :

PrestoSpace
The project was moderated by Didier Giraud from the National Institute for the AudioVisual and coordinator of the PrestoSpace project. It associates the main European broadcasting authorities with research and industrial partners. It will provide the actual facilities and services for digitisation factories for audiovisual preservation. This was a landmark meeting for broadcasters in Israel – presenting the problems and discussing the advancement of a digitisation programme for their assets. ( http://www.prestospace.org)

Calimera
Calimera assists local institutions (libraries, museums, archives) to apply and develop innovative technologies and strategies for serving ordinary citizens in their everyday lives.

A substantial representation of Israel local authorities' cultural institutions and umbrella organisations participated in the workshops led by Breda Karun from the National Slovenia Library and the Calimera project. ( http://www.calimera.org/)

Epoch
Epoch is a network of about a hundred European cultural institutions joining their efforts to improve the quality and effectiveness of the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for cultural heritage. Training and dissemination are part of its mission and in the conference workshop several cutting edge technologies were showcased. ( http://www.epoch-net.org )

The Jerusalem declaration summary

Reported by: Dov Winer
dovw@jazo.org.il

 

Innovating with technology for development

GKP South Asia Regional Meeting 2004
13th October 2004, Chennai , India

The Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) held its third South Asia Regional Meeting in Chennai, India, on 13th October 2004. The focus of the meetings was on “Dimensions of Poverty and how we can use Technology to achieve Poverty Reduction”.

The meeting, hosted by the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) of India, brought together over 30 participants from GKP member organisations and specially invited guests, including representatives of regional organisations, bilateral and multilateral development partners, civil society, academia and the private sector.

GKP meetings are a lot more than just a meeting of members of this global multi-stakeholder network of organisations committed to harnessing the potential of ICTs for sustainable and equitable development. Since 1997, GKP and its members have been assimilating the lessons learnt and debates on ICT for development (ICT4D) through various consultations and numerous ICT4D initiatives around the world at the national, regional and global level. The third South Asia Regional Meeting proved to be one such opportunity for members and participants to continue this enriching process, and they grasped it with tremendous enthusiasm.

Participants engaged in extensive discussions and debates on core issues and concerns in achieving poverty reduction in South Asia and beyond. Intense knowledge sharing and exchange of ideas and perspectives were seen during the panel sessions on

Multi-stakeholder Partnerships (MSPs) in ICT-enabled development, ICT and poverty alleviation: Models from South Asia and from other countries and regions, and sustainability and scaling up concerns with a focus on poverty reduction initiatives.

 

Several practitioners and researchers from within and beyond the region made presentations on issues of poverty reduction. Success stories of ICT programmes dealing with poverty reduction from the region were presented, and the experiences shared by participants brought out the wide ranging complexities of poverty reduction initiatives.

During the meeting, key questions emerged and were debated on:

  • Should ICT interventions (in poverty reduction) aim at “Financial viability” like a business operation?
  • What should be the role of the “public commons” approach, which can address the social aspects of poverty such as empowerment and transparency in governance, which then can facilitate achieving economic viability? The presentations of the meeting can be downloaded from http://www.globalknowledge.org/sarm2004/

 

 

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