MEDICI Framework of
one of the highest forms of human energy. It is a defining human trait that
enables us to design and to use tools, and it gives us the ability to solve
problems. In the modern world, creativity and its outcomeinnovation are
credited as the greatest predictors for economic advancement, equal to or
surpassing investments. Creativity can be a vehicle for empowerment and
fulfilment or, if denied or abused, it can lead to frustration, apathy,
alienation, and even violence. The role of creativity has been magnified by the
explosive developments in Information and Communication Technologies. ICTs are
the most powerful means to produce, preserve and communicate the fruits of
human creativity, including information, know-how, knowledge, and works of art.
Framework (Multimedia for EDucation and employment through Integrated Cultural
Initiatives) is a framework of co-operation that was established and supervised
by the European Commission. A partnership aimed at the application of new
information technologies to the field of culture is being developed between the
MEDICI initiative and the Council of Europe. Since 1998 MEDICI operates not
just in Europe but also worldwide. The goal of MEDICI is to promote the use of
advanced technologies to access, understand, preserve and promote Culture,
Education and Heritage.
The MEDICI Framework (Multimedia for EDucation and employment
through Integrated Cultural Initiatives) is a framework of co-operation
established in 1995 adopted and supported by the European Commission (1997) as
a follow up of the previous initiative known as Memorandum of Understanding for
the Multimedia Access to Europes Cultural Heritage. The initial goal of MEDICI
was to promote the use of advanced technologies for access to, understanding,
preservation and economic promotion of culture. Main action lines are:
information sharing, research projects, education & training.
The use of advanced technologies allows the
achievement of goals of important cultural value, which are hard or even impossible
to achieve with traditional tools. This will lead us to a fuller understanding
of our and others culture. Of course any form of economic exploitation must
take fully into account the primordial need for preservation of the cultural
heritage for future generations.
Starting from 2003 the focus of MEDICI was
extended to the use of different digital and other emerging technologies
supporting social and economic development.
MEDICI Framework of cooperation is a not
for profit, apolitical and non-religion oriented organization. The mission of
the organization is:
sharing and dissemination in general supporting social and economic development
and more specifically in the field of culture and arts;
Contribute to the
preservation, study, promotion and exploitation of the natural, cultural,
historical and artistic heritage. Including immoveable, moveable, tangible and
intangible. The organization extends the same interests to recent and future
heritage as well.
To favour and support
creativity with specific reference to young generations;
To contribute to the
development, diffusion and proper use of innovative technologies in order to
let them have a positive social impact;
In order to achieve these goals the
Activate a knowledge and
best practice sharing mechanism at international level:
Promote, and actively
contribute to research, studies and projects related to the mission of the Cooperation
Design and activate
projects aimed to: educate, train and disseminate knowledge and know how even
through publishing activities.
Design and organise
events, conferences, exhibits, workshops and seminars on the main activities
and aims of the Association;
processes and awards, grants and contribution addressing students, researches,
professors, academy, university, cultural and artistic world active members
cooperation in the field of culture, distance education and training, creation
of digital content and services, support innovation process in SMEs.
In order to fulfil the
mission the Cooperation Framework may take advantage from the help and
cooperation coming from other Associations, Foundations, single persons and
public or private bodies, both national and international having similar or
similar missions or anyway sharing the scope of the Cooperation Framework. Such cooperation may, in addition, promote
friendship, cooperation, twining and mutual acknowledgement and comprehension
among individuals, people and cultures.
MEDICI Framework of Cooperation, in the
general framework of social and economic development operated in three main
sectors: culture, education, heritage, eContent and services.
Cultural Heritage Networks Hypermedia (XI editions 1995 -2005)
Symposia on the occasion of CeBIT (Hannover) (1995- 2006)?
Culture Track on the
occasion of the World Wide Web Conference (1996 2005)
Best eContent and
Services events and awards / World Summit Awards (2003 2015)
Year of Culture Italy
Year of Astronomy
Year of Culture Italy
Russia (eCulture program)
CultH (Vienna 1999)
ACM Multimedia (Orlando
Cooperation with the
World Bank, UNESCO and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the occasion
of Culture Counts (Firenze 1999)
eContent/eServices (2005 2015)
World Summit on the
Information Society (Tunis Phase) MEDICI session on eContenr & Services
of ACM Multimedia International Workshop on Multimedia Virtual Exhibition:
Models, Technologies and Applications, October 1999
Orlando FL, Programme Chair of the Cultural Track of the IX International World
Wide Web Conference, May 2000 Amsterdam (NL), Chair of panels On culture in a
world wide information society WWW Conferences 2001,2002, 2003, Founding Chair
of the International Conference Cultural Heritage Networks Hypermedia,
September 1996, / Milan, Co-Chair of Infopoverty Conferences 2001,2003,
Founding Chair of the panel Business opportunities from cultural heritage
CeBIT 1998, 2007 Hannover (D).
World Summit on the Information Society
Summits & Forums (2003 2015)
EVA Moscow (Evolving Visual Archives)
(Moscow 2003 2013)
UNESCO IFAP Cultural Heritage
Preservation International Conference, (2003
Hermitage Theatre Sankt Petersburg Russian Federation)
UNESCO IFAP Cultural Heritage
Preservation International Conference,
(2005 Hermitage Theatre Sankt Petersburg Russian Federation)
UNESCO IFAP - International Conference on
Preservation of Digital Information in the Information Society: Problems and
Prospects (Moscow 2011)
RIA NOVOSTI - 70th Anniversary Celebrations
UNESCO IFAP - The Moscow Declaration on
Digital Information Preservation (adopted by UNESCO General Assembly 2012)
UNESCO IFAP - International Conference on
Media and Information Literacy for Knowledge Societies (Moscow 2012)
UNESCO IFAP, IFLA - The Moscow Declaration
on Media and Information Literacy (adopted by UNESCO General Assembly 2012)
APCEO Gansu Government, 1st
International Summit on Culture Industry (Jiayuguan city, Gansu province, China
APCEO Jilin Government, Global Economic
Summit Leaders (Changchun, Jilin province, China 2012)
IFAP Special Event within the First WSIS+10
Review Meeting (Paris, 2013)
UNESCO IFAP - International Conference on
Internet and Socio-Cultural Transformations (Sakhalin Russian Federation,
UNESCO IFAP - The Sakhalin Declaration on
Internet and Socio-Cultural Transformations (Sakhalin, 2013)
APCEO Jiangsu Government - The 6th Global Outsourcing
Summit (GOS 2013) (Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province, China 2013)
State Hermitage Sankt Petersburg - «
Boundaries of memory: Destiny of a
In Armenia and Russia » (Sankt Petersburg,
Russian Federation 2013)
APCEO Wuhan Government The 2nd
World Emerging Industry Summit (WEIS
2013) (Wuhan Government, China 2013)
APCEO Gansu Province Government - The 2nd
International Culture Industry Summit ICIS 2013 (Lanzhou City, Gansu Province,
APCEO Jilin Province Government The 3rd
Global Economic Leaders Summit (Changchun, Jilin, China, 2013)
State Hermitage Sankt Petersburg -
«Boundaries of memory: Museum and Heritage of modern culture » (Sankt
Petersburg, Russian Federation 2014)
Co-funded under the European Framework
Programme since 2005 - IST-Africa 2014 (Mauritius 2014)
UNESCO IFAP - The Third International
Conference on Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace (Yakutsk, Republic
of Sakha Yakutia, 2014)
UNESCO IFAP - International Expert Meeting
on Improving Access to Multilingual Cyberspace
(UNESCO's Headquarters in Paris, 28-29 October 2014)
APCEO Gansu Province Government - The 3rd
International Culture Industry Summit (Lanzhou City, Gansu Province, China,
APCEO Gansu Province Government - The 7th
International Culture Expo (Lanzhou City, Gansu Province, China, 2014)
UNESCO IFAP - Ugra Global Expert Meeting on
Multilingualism in Cyberspace (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, 4-9 July 2015)
APCEO Henan Province Government - The 3rd
World Emerging Industries Summit (Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, China 2015)
APCEO Jilin Province Government - The 4th
Global Economic Leaders Summit (Gels 2015) (Changchun city, Jilin Province,
UNESCO IFAP - IFAP International Conference
on Well Being in Digital Media (Beer Sheba, Israel, 2015)
APCEO Gansu Province Government - The 4th
International Culture Industry Summit (Dunhuang, Gansu Province, China, 2015)
APCEO Gansu Province Government - The 8th
Gansu International Culture Expo (Dunhuang, Gansu Province, China, 2015)
ITU - World Summit on the Information
Society High Level Policy Statements, MEDICI statement (Geneva, Swiss 2015)
United Nations ECOSOC - United Nations
General Assembly High Level Meeting WSIS + 10 written contributions (New York
MEDICI is accredited at the World Summit on
the Information Society since the origin 2003
MEDICI applied for the United Nations
ECOSOC since 2003
Cooperation with the Council of Europe
Cooperation with The World Bank since 1999
Cooperation with UNESCO IFAP since 2003
Cooperation with Keio University since 1997
Cooperation with The Smithsonian
Institution since 1997
Cooperation with Ars Electronica in Linz
Within MEDICI special attention has been devoted
to the needs of SMMs (Small and Medium Museums). Museums and cultural
institutions, companies, governmental institutions and public and private
organisations co-operate within MEDICI in several ways (working groups, common
projects, other arrangements) in order to achieve the common goal of a better
access and fruitful exploitation of cultural heritage.
According to the needs expressed by
members, MEDICI promotes Action Lines and Special Interest Groups on topics of
general interest such as virtual exhibition, multimedia access for education
and tourism and more.
Action Lines should express mid- and
long-term goals to be achieved through the combined action of one of more
Special Interest Groups.
Special Interest Groups will gather
partners who share a common specific interest/skill in the field of ICT for
Cultural Heritage. SIGs will in particular issue reports and recommendations;
sometimes they could generate a correspondent Competence Centre in order to provide
services and solutions in the specific domain of knowledge.
Activities of these ALs and SIGs are
carried out under the responsibility of their coordinators, nominated by the
participants from amongst themselves.
The development of the Information Society
and the increasing use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) will have
a profound impact on how society presents views and interprets cultural heritage
material. Considering the general role played by ICT within the society and the
on-going transition toward the so called e-society or information society
technological developments will permit museums and other cultural heritage
institutions to redefine their traditional role and to present cultural artefacts
in new ways to new audiences. ICT is to be considered a new powerful tool
enabling the delivering of new added value services.
The intensive use of networked applications
immediately recalls the possibility to recreate both the cultural context both
the physical context of any artefact.
In doing so, they must collaborate with the
new media industries, broadcasters, publishers, information technology and
communications companies, on-line service providers and others.
The development of ICT for cultural
heritage will produce new products and open up new markets, both in Europe and
elsewhere. These will have an impact on employment in areas where the
presentation of culture is an important component of the production chain, such
as virtual exhibitions, education and tourism.
The primary aim of the Framework, which
continues the process initiated with the MoU and the Charter for multimedia
access to Europe's cultural heritage, is to create and maintain an open and
fair co-operation environment among cultural heritage holders, industry and other
players involved in the development of ICT applications and services and foster
the creation of conditions for the harmonious and balanced development of the
market of multimedia cultural information: the economic dimension.
In addition to other relevant activities
the Framework promotes several Action Lines expressing the priorities in
addressing the need of members. Action Lines should express mid and long-term
goals to be achieved.
Members cover their own costs for their own
participation both to Action Lines and Special Interest Groups. MEDICI Framework Secretariat will provide
operational support to ALs and SIGs through the Web site and other information
A special AL was requested in order manage
the projects and initiatives related to the year 2000, this AL was named (2000).
Action Lines from AL 2 up to AL 6 are
mainly addressed to vertical (specific) sectors such as ICT in Museums and
Archives of ICT for Monuments and Sites.
Below the list of ALs , which have been defined
by MEDICI members:
AL1 Virtual Museums & Exhibitions General
AL2 - ICT in Museums & Archives
AL3 - ICT in Science Centres and Museums
AL4 - ICT for Monuments and Sites
AL5 - Cultural Heritage, Multimedia &
AL6 - Cultural Heritage, Multimedia &
AL7 - Marketplace Issues & Trials
AL8 - Best Practice Handbooks
This section summarises a report that describes the achievements of panels and contributions on this
topic. The report distils over three years of activity in this area, will
enable us to outline some of the critical issues and
needs that must be addressed and to make
recommendations about pilot projects that should be launched to fully
demonstrate the role of culture in development and poverty reduction.
The report outlines how the members of the
G8 can include a cultural agenda in their efforts to promote global
participation and empowerment in order to advance the development goals of
poverty reduction, economic growth, education, health, sanitation, and global
The Okinawa Charter on Global
Information Society, created at the July 2000 G8 meeting in Okinawa, Japan, af rmed the importance of using ICT in
for developmental purposes:
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is one of the most
potent forces in shaping the twenty- rst century. Its revolutionary impact
affects the way people live, learn and work, and the way government interacts
with civil society. It is fast becoming a vital engine of growth for the world
economy. The essence of the IT-driven economic and social transformation is its
power to help individuals and societies to use knowledge and ideas. Our vision
of an Information Society is one that better enables people to ful l their
potential and realize their aspirations.
The recommendations of the report are
structured into four main sections:
Standards and good practices
Access and information policies
Frameworks and Intellectual Property Rights.
We will now consider each of these topics in turn.
The first section discusses how developing
cultural content still represents a formidable
Develop a critical mass of cultural
content. We are currently in a digital dark age with respect to lack of
content. Without a critical mass of information, technological capacity is a
hollow structure, like a highway without cars. It is even difficult to make
high-quality content available through digital channels, due to the lack of an appropriate format.
During the evolution of communication from
oral traditions to manuscripts to printed books, and later on to movies and
radio and television broadcasting, a specific format was adopted or readopted at
each evolutionary phase. However, even though we have now entered the
multimedia era, we are yet looking for a proper format for multiple media
channels; we are still porting books online.
Creativity must be encouraged, and new
interactive cultural expressions must be stimulated. As stated earlier,
Knowledge is not about circulation of information. It is about adding value to
ideas. A Knowledge Society must provide people with opportunities to think in
The creation of a fully interactive online
culture would transform links between computers into connections between people
that can stimulate ideas and new skills. We must create mechanisms that
encourage the participation and empowerment of all people in developing and
developed countries and allow them autonomy and control.
The second section of the report, entitled Standards and
Good Practices, develops standards for creating and
managing digital collections and guides to good practices for creating cultural content:
Developing standards to formulate and
manage data and to migrate data to new platforms is essential and will require
significant investments, which in turn demand standards and terminology to ensure
long-term viability of electronic information and the ability to search across
databases. Good practices are needed in order to help smaller institutions and
developing nations avoid reinventing the wheel (see NINCH 2001 for a good
The adoption of de facto standards and the
use of Internet technologies guarantees interoperability and reuse of
The report, in addition, suggests the
construction of a portal containing international data standards, good
practices, and policy frameworks in order to promote and encourage the
harmonisation of cultural content. This portal should be a basic mechanism that
allows information about international standards and policies to be
disseminated as quickly as possible.
In terms of enabling technologies, during
the same event (WWW10), Extensible Mark-up Language (XML)which was first introduced during WWW7 in Brisbane in 1997was
endorsed as a standard by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Many major organisations, including memory
institutions (libraries, museums, archives) and
galleries, have also adopted the Dublin Core (DC) meta-data standard and the Resource Description
Framework (RDF), which were developed to aid the
discovery of objects and content harmonization.
Technological aspects are not enough,
however; the economic sustainability of cultural services
must be ensured, meaning that institutional awareness of new economic
models must be promoted. Some surveys have
indicated that cultural institutions can earn revenue from ICT when they market
their cultural resources to media
companies (in a business-to-businessB2Bfashion) or produce their own value
added products and services (in a business-to-custom- ersB2Cmodel).
If the cultural institutions are to extend
their range of operations to include online services and content provision, the
creation of a web of links with related organisations implies the hiring and
training of qualified staff. Institutions must develop training
programs for technicians and managers of online
resources. The development of training programs at various levels (local, regional, national, international, and
also institutional) is essential.
10th WWW; as a follow-up, an of official
report was submitted to the G8 during the G8 Summit held in Genoa in June 2001.
The report and recommendations highlight:
The value of the cultural agenda in
The potential of information and communications
technologies to implement the cultural agenda by transforming information from
a scarce, unequally distributed and fragmented commodity into a true public
The importance of integrating the
cultural agenda and ICT into the G8 program for advancing a worldwide
A number of suggestions and remarks were
gathered, such as those regarding the Western-style top-down scrolling behaviour
of web browsers and the limited number of character sets displayable on a
single page (Asian servers need to be able to handle Thai, Chinese, Korean and
Following the summit held in October 2001
in Genoa, the Global Forum 2001: Expanding the Global e-Society held in Newcastle (UK) saw the presentation of the report from the
WWW10 Panel as well as other contributions that addressed cultural aspects,
such as the paper Time Rich Time Poor.
As already mentioned, a joint event managed
by the Council of Europe and UNESCO, Cultural Industries and
New Technologies, was held in November 2001 in
Strasbourg (France). A publication entitled Vital Links for a
Knowledge Culture was issued during this event. Vital Links deals with the complex relations between NICTs and culture across Europe. It starts with a discussion of the
context of the general context (culture, ICT, new technologies) and the deep
structures of the Knowledge Society. It then describes public access to new
information and communication technologies in Europe through statistics and
indices, and provides contributions devoted to various aspects of access in
Europe. The last part of the publication is devoted to policy frameworks, and
contains chapters entitled Cultural Policy in the Knowledge Society, Towards a
Strategic Evolutionary Cultural Policy, and A Policy Network Model.
During WWW2002, a panel on culture was held
(as usual), and the two distinguished panellists made some relevant remarks.
The rest of the contribution, from Lynn Thiesmeyer,
was dedicated to Indigenous Space and Cyberspace: Online Culture and
Development in Southeast Asia.
The contribution outlines the chances of
preserving cultural representations that are not simply object- or text-based
thanks to the WWW technology. Examples of such cultural representations in
mainland Southeast Asia include life practices,
such as the use of space and time, which are closely associated with different
These practices include female-based
culture and economic activities, indigenous medicine, the creation and use of
hand tools, cultural adaptation to diverse geographies and climates, and
indigenous knowledge. All of these rely not just on static objects or spaces,
but also on movements through house- hold, communal, agricultural, and forest
spaces for a variety of interlinked pur- poses. Conventional databases, as well
as conventional data-gathering techniques, have so far failed to adequately
capture the intangibles of space, movement and indigenous knowledge.
This is the challenge and the ultimate goal
of the Multimedia Online Project for Southeast Asia: to create a practical
multimedia archive with the capacity to handle several new forms of
information, and to maintain a direct real-time visual link to onsite sources
in rural Asia. In addition, the multimedia archive must comply with the reciprocity principle, thus providing added value to the owners of cultural content.
Kimmo Aulake introduced the second topic, cultural policies, starting with the Intergovernmental Context for Culture in the
Information Society, which included a list of key
organisations such as UNESCO, the European Union, the Council of Europe, WTO,
OECD, and the G8.
Cultural policies are legitimised by
national constitutions, national laws, and international instruments and
commitments. There are two main principles to consider in a discussion of
cultural policies: public access and cultural diversity.
Excerpt from the report On Culture in a Worldwide Information Society
People who helped shape this report: Eleanor Fink, The World
Bank Report author; Co-chair, The Future of Online Culture Alfredo Ronchi, MEDICI
Framework, Co-chair of the session on The Future of Online Culture at WWW10
and coordinator of the SIG; Andrew Cameron, Maplehurst Consultants, Canadian
Heritage Information Network; Mercedes Giovinazzo, Council of Europe; David
Green, Founding Director, National Initiative for a Networked Cultural
Heritage; Kim Machan, Director, Multimedia Art Asia Pacific; Ranjit Makkuni,
Xerox, Palo Alto Research Center; Liddy Nevile, Senior Research Fellow,
University of Melbourne and WWW10 Culture Track Chair; Bernard Smith, Head of
Unit, Cultural Patrimony Applications, European Commission; Lynn Thiesmeyer,
Director, Southeast Asia Online Archive, Keio University; Friso Visser, Expert
for Cultural Patrimony Applications, the European Commission; and Shelley
Sperry, report editor.
More recently, a number of different global
initiatives aimed at predicting and possibly solving different problems related
to the provision of universal access to information have been activated. These
include, in relation to cultural preservation, UNESCOs Intangible Heritage
Task Force (2002) and South Eastern Pacific Archives (supported by Keio University);
in relation to the digital divide, the G8s Digital Opportunities Task Force
(2000), UNESCO OCCAMs Infopoverty Programme (2001), the two phases of the
World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the first of which was held in
Geneva in December 2003 and the second held in Tunis in November 2005
(organised by UNO and ITU), and the creation of the Global Alliance for ICT and
Development (GAID, in 2006).
In November 2001, a joint event managed by
the Council of Europe (see New Information Technologies and the Young; Council of Europe 2000) and UNESCO, Cultural Industries and New
Technologies, was held in Strasbourg (France).
Such problems must be faced and
possibly solved whilst developing trans- national cultural applications.
The idea of creating a working group that
deals with cultural issues in the Information Society era was launched by
MEDICI in the year 2000 in cooperation
with a number of institutions.
Long Term Preservation - Comprehensive
and updated (first report Vienna 99 second report New York 04) state of the
art in the field of long term preservation of digital content, taxonomy of good
practice and relevant methods. Publication of a set of recommendations as a
follow up of the last international meeting.
In the last decades we faced two related
processes, the increasing role of electronic devices in our every day life and
the rush to digital formats. Institutions, organisations and private
companies launched a mid term programme converting their own archives in
digital format. Even people at home started a personal data conversion toward
digital format: documents, music, movies, drawings and photos left their
original format and medium reshaped in bitstreams on digital media. It was a
common understanding that digital format was the ultimate format in order to
freeze information forever. The idea to perpetuate texts, images, artefacts
once converted in digital has been widely shared and supported / sponsored.
As a result large part of our future heritage, our legacy to future generation
relies on digital technology. Here comes the major concern: is digital
technology suitable for long term preservation? Is electronic machinery, actually
the implementation base of digital technology, enough durable in order to
guarantee future access to information? If not how can we face this problem?
Rapid changes in technology make
preservation of digital content a challenge. Taking into account the huge
amount of data to be filed, the amount of time to accomplish with this task and
more over the period of time we need to store such information, we have to
value objectively a problem up to now widely underestimated and that is the
conservation for long periods of time of digital information. This subject
takes us to consider two aspects, the first is technological obsolescence and
the second the 'temporary instinct' of the so-called 'permanent supports'. The
biological clock of ICT beats smaller time slices compared to those considered
worldwide in the field of cultural heritage. Digital formats becomes suddenly
obsolete and disappear. An extraordinarily long-lived solution, such as the
PC/DOS in great favour for over twenty years, represents a short-lived
apparition if compared to the time spent in state owned archives. Computer
systems are aging, media on which information is stored are disintegrating; the
magnetic technology diskette survives without problems for thousands of hours
but not enough to be considered 'permanent' for those aims. Which are the
long-term implications if we rely on current digital technology to preserve our
cultural memory? Long term preservation of digital archives is an issue not
only for cultural content but even for e-government and social services.
Electronic devices are disappearing because some key components are no more
available on the shelf so the only chance is update the devices if possible or
have a look at vintage market, if any.
Thanks to MEDICI Framework of Cooperation
on May 2004 a panel on long term preservation of digital content was held in
New York on the occasion of the World Wide Web Conference . Later on, on
September 2006 on the occasion of an event held in Asolo a set of
recommendations was issued (may you need further information pls. refer to the
Last, probably, but not the least the
meeting on Digital Preservation held in Moscow in 2011 under the aegis of UNESCO
IFAP, the outcome of this meeting, the Moscow Declaration on Digital Preservation,
was adopted by the UNESCO General Assembly on 2012.
On the occasion of the World Wide Web
International Conference held in 2005 in Chiba (Japan) MEDICI organised a panel
devoted to the SIG on Digital Preservation of Intangible Heritage.
content is not necessary related to physical objects; intangible heritage
should benefit significantly from new technologies. The preservation and
exploitation of intangible heritage is one of the most important cultural
issues today. Various institutions have launched their own projects and actions
in this field; for example, UNESCO recently established the Intangible Heritage
Cultural expression is
not limited to tangible Cultural Heritage, but also includes valuable but
fragile intangible expressions that are controlled by the intelligence of the
human creativeness, which comprise the intangible cultural heritage (ICH).
According to the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural
Heritage, the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) is the mainspring of
humanity's cultural diversity and its maintenance is a guarantee for continuing
creativity. However, ICHs creations are typically transmitted orally or by
gestures and are modified over a period of time through a process of collective
recreation. To this end, there is always a risk that certain elements of ICH
could die out or disappear if they are not safeguarded. Furthermore, effects
such as the globalization, wars, and the movement of people caused the
diminishment of the unique culture of many communities and pose a risk for many
other types of ICH.
advances in ICT open new perspectives for the Preservation and Transmission of
Intangible Cultural Heritage, including applications in the fields of digital
libraries, media entertainment, and education. Several organizations and
research projects have contributed significantly towards this direction in
order to provide access to cultural resources, such as Europeana (the European
Digital Cultural Heritage Library: www.europeana.eu) and many related projects.
The Beijing Planetarium and the Beijing
Ancient Observatory are two relevant assets of the same institution starting from
1949. The Beijing Planetarium has been recently (2004) expanded thanks to the
creation of new exhibition and training area including different facilities
such as automated telescope, wide displays for solar crown observation and two
high tech theatres.
The Beijing Ancient Observatory, is located
on the third ring of Beijing not very close to the Planetarium, it was first
built in 1442 in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) was named
"Guanxiangtai". and was the national observatory in the Ming and Qing
Key element of the Observatory is the observation tower about 14 meters high. On top of this is
located a set of seven astronomical instruments made in Qing Dynasty plus a New
Armilla build in 1744. Similar Astronomical Instruments are no more available
in other countries even because of the obsolescence of natural observation and
the reuse of bronze. The whole complex is a key national relicts protection
At ground level there is a court with four
single-floor buildings hosting offices and a small museum devoted to the
history of the observatory, in addition some bronze replicas of observation
instruments similar to the one on top of the tower.
The instruments survived through different
periods of time and events such as the war in 1900. On that occasion the
instruments were damaged (e.g. bullet hole) and transferred in the French
Embassy (5 of them) and Berlin (the other three). Later on, in different times,
they were repositioned on the tower.
Beijing, is one of the biggest and most
populous metropolis of the planet. The city animates with its lights and tall
buildings far more than the third ring and embraces the observatory with a
number of grand hotels and corporate buildings all around. All these aspects
make very difficult to think about the actual use of the observatory as an
historical window on the sky. Of course scientist are very interested in
reactivating the observation tower and enjoy a live experience of pre
Galilean direct observation.
From the environmental point of view this
metropolis in the last 10/15 years experienced and it is still experiencing
deep changes and transformations. The big boost due to the opening to the
rest of the world and the explosion of private transportation and commercial
traffic together with the escalation of tourism both domestic and international
has generated both pollution and
antropic risk for monuments and artefacts.
Tourism both in China and towards China is
increasing exponentially. Domestic tourism is becoming more and more popular in
China; day by day groups of American and European tourists are doubled by
Chinese tourists more and more interested in discovering the beauty and
treasures of their own county.
Following such thoughts if on one side it
is no more convenient to observe the sky from the tower on the other side it
seems reasonable to take into account some aspects related to the preservation
of such an historical patrimony, preserving, communicating and exploiting the
instruments event in a touristic framework.
The activity in the field of cultural
heritage was mainly devoted to refinement of an Italy China cooperation project
aiming to preserve, communicate and exploit the Ancient Astronomical
Observatory located in Beijing (China).
The study address the goal to improve scientific
communication, it introduces a layered approach to the preservation,
communication and exploitation of the Beijing Ancient Observatory. This means
that we foresee different levels of intervention, with different phases and
consequently a set of goals. Single levels or phases may be implemented
The main goal of the proposal is to improve
scientific communication, as clearly
stated in the title the three main action lines of the project are:
Preservation: how to protect the astronomical
instruments in order to transfer them to future generation. Eventually restore
them fixing minor and major damages getting closer to their original status.
This only pertains to the rehabilitation of their own functionalities or the
restoration of the physical aspect.
Communication: define a communication
strategy by integrating real and virtual objects in order to reach a global
improvement of the communication both related to the history of the observatory
and to the astronomical instruments. One of the goals is to enable the direct
experience of the main functionalities of such instruments in a virtual
environment. Explain how they work, positive achievements and limits in the
field of the astronomical observation.
Exploitation: exploit such relevant cultural
and scientific assets without any risk to jeopardize their conservation. Define
an exploitation strategy addressing both local and international markets. This
strategy may include a close link to the new observatory and the planetarium.
Expand and extend the experience of the visit from the pre-tour phase, direct
fruition and post tour phase. Generate new opportunities to came back and visit
again the exhibit.
The exploitation strategy will include the
opportunity to develop specific merchandise both generic and educational
(simulators, tools, dida box etc).
This initiative focus on legal, policy and
practice issues concerning the integration between built heritage protection
and urban/spatial planning systems with specific reference to area‐based protection
mechanisms, conservation management plans, heritage led‐regeneration, funding
programmes and sustainable approaches. Practice has been examined in Western
Europe, where integrated systems and practice are more developed (e.g. Denmark,
England, France, Germany), and in South East Europe referring to the progress of national policies on integrated management and
sustainable development. Reference have been made to guiding principles through
UNESCO and Council of Europe conventions, recommendations and other charters. A
case study of Grainger Town, Newcastle upon Tyne (recognised as an exemplary
regeneration scheme through the European Union funded INHERIT project Heritage
Led Regeneration Delivering Good Practice) has been considered.
To Google is simply one of the neologisms
providing the evidence of a running revolution, go digital is the keyword. A
wide range of information and services are directly delivered on our desks or
mobile phones: a tight interface with public administration, healthcare,
education, entertainment and more. Quality content and services are a paramount
issue in such a context, technological infrastructures without content looks
like a highway without cars or a library without books. The World Summit Award
initiative posed this question very clearly all around the world and ignited
the quest for quality content.
Through the centuries we faced a number of
revolutions that shifted the human paradigm, this time we are crossing the
digital river, the border line of the stating side was probably the merge of
IT and Telecommunications how can we call the opposite side? Information
Society? Knowledge Society? It will take some more years and technological
developments to reach destination.
In the number of initiative derived from
the global award the one we activated in Italy is based on three main actions
running all over the year: scheduled road shows both along the country and
abroad on the occasion of major events, educational projects, information days
and more recently the creation of the WSA Institute for eContent located in
Venice. The main aim of our project is to bridge the gap between the local
lonely authors and the join international community stimulating at the same
time creativity and innovation. The feedback is largely positive: an increasing
number of quality products, more and more Institutions supporting the project,
better results in the global contest.
eContentAward 2008 year book ISBN
978-88-95441-05-4, MEDICI Publisher 2009
eContentAward 2009 year book, ISBN
978-88-95441-07-8, MEDICI Publisher 2009
Global Forum 2009 - ICTS & THE FUTURE
OF INTERNET: Opportunities for Stimulating & Reshaping the Economy, ISBN
978-88-95441-08-5, MEDICI Publisher 2009
Alfredo M. Ronchi, Сотрудничество в сфере
обмена собраниями цифровых материалов и культурным контентом, keynote speech on
the occasion of the International Seminar RUSSIA-EU: SIGNS ON THE ROAD MAP OF
CULTURAL COOPERATION, Moscow 8 December 2009
Alfredo M. Ronchi, From paperback to
paperless (again?), proceedings Global Forum 2009, ISBN 978-88-95441-08-5,
MEDICI Publisher 2009
Alfredo M. Ronchi, eCulture: Cultural Content in the Digital Age, Springer (D) 2009 ,
The speed of
evolution of our current society is running towards a global brain paradigm, with key focus on the sense of the variety of
interconnected human thinking and being, as coined by Peter Russell in the 80s. However, at this stage the anxiety of
being connected and aware of everything everywhere lets us no longer enough
time for the pleasure of understanding and assimilating the multifaceted
variety of the cultural contents.
Spot news as
pills of generalized information-knowledge may give an illusion to be
sufficient to satisfy, by quantity instead of quality, the inherent need of nutrition for our minds. But at the same time, this new wave of the
increased amount of stimuli is indeed a great challenge for all youngest
and for all bright persons -but everybody
is progressively included- to feed the
creative curiosity and to evolve ahead. There is a clear quality issue for the
cultural content to be addressed, within the mass communication and the
The last decades have boosted the ICT into an
exponential trend to creating the Information Society, in which we are now
fully immersed. On-line cheep communication and information on the web have
resumed now the priority of content and media over the infrastructural
technologies. This achievement is enabling the transition from the Information to the Knowledge Society. Herein we have a great challenge to revitalize
a new renaissance era with renewed cultural
accelerated evolution calls by now for the question which the next society?.
In my personal view, more symptoms can be already
perceived (globalization, sustainability, climate change) to disseminate a new
concept and need of consciousness-responsibility for our human being on our
magic planet. Thus I like thinking we are migrating into a Consciousness Society, just powered by the global brain, which
ultimately can distill all the previous stages.
This initial reflection guides me to the great honor and pleasure to
add my compliments to my friend prof.
Alfredo Ronchi and to all the MEDICI networked members, in celebrating the bright 20 years anniversary of MEDICI.
It is indeed a special pleasure to highlight this initiative, which
has been evolving from the first trans-European networking Virtual Museum
project MOSAIC (EC TEN-Telecom
Programme, mid 90s), extended into a Cultural Heritage initiative in a wider
international context. I was testimony at that time of the proactive validity
of the networked knowledge concept brought into reality.
MEDICI is a successful example of how,
after the first EC co-funded project, the spirit and strong commitment of the
core members has been continuing on own resources to progress in the
development of emerging knowledge technologies, clustering of innovative
projects and valuable dissemination. Therefore I share the best wishes for the
excellences achievements to persist in future.
Conti (firstname.lastname@example.org) matured over 40 years experience in the
ICT industry, also expert at the European Commission DG INFSO, then RDTI
responsible at the Lombardy Region Presidency in Bruxelles, now scientific
consultant also linked to the EIPA Institute for public administration of
The vision of access the whole of knowledge
has a tradition that goes back at least to the Library of Alexandria. The 20th
century added two new ideas: 1) that networked access to knowledge and culture
would lead to a World Brain and 2) that collaborative sharing of such knowledge
could lead to new research design and creativity. This essay reviews these and
related trends that led to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the MEDICI
Framework and the vision of networks of excellence in culture. Although
successful, the framework did not receive official support as expected. An
assessment of recent European developments offers five possible reasons.
These two ideas were initially related and
have since evolved in parallel. In Europe, for instance, there is now a curious
dichotomy. One part of the Commission is pursuing networked access to knowledge
(idea 1) and striving for an information society with the European Digital Library
as a flagship project. Other parts of the Commission are pursuing networked
collaboration (idea 2) in the form of grids, an European Research Area and
speak of Knowledge Europe. Needed is a reintegration of these two ideas, a) to
align our information systems with knowledge systems; b) to integrate enduring
knowledge of memory institutions with emergent knowledge of our research
councils, institutions of learning, design and creativity; and c) to develop
systems that allow multiple ways of knowing, which Francis Bacon called
knowledges. This integration of the two ideas could become one of the key
challenges for the 21st century (idea 3). In retrospect, while the
original visions of a MOU, MEDICI Framework and networks of excellence in
culture need revision and expansion in scope, the need for them remains.
 1 Passage from the Vienna
Conclusions of the conference ICT and Creativity: Towards a Global Cooperation
for Quality Content in the Information Society, held in Vienna, Austria, 23 June
 Dr. Lynn Thiesmeyer, Coordinator, Mekhong Region Development Net /
Women and Development Online, Faculty of Environmental Information Keio
University, ShonanFujisawa Campus Endo 5322, Fujisawa, Japan 252-8520. See:
 Kimmo Aulake,
Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland.