The EPOCH research agenda for the applications of ICTs to cultural heritage
Arnold, D.B. and Geser, G. (2008) The EPOCH research agenda for the applications of ICTs to cultural heritage Excellence in Processing Open Cultural Heritage, Archaeolingua, Budapest. ISBN 978963991103
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EPOCH – Excellence in Processing Open Cultural Heritage – has been a Network of Excellence cofunded under the European Union’s Sixth Framework Programme, Priority 2, Information Society Technologies. EPOCH involved 95 partners from a wide range of perspectives, brought together to create a holistic view of the field, integrating and enhancing the previously fragmented efforts in research directed toward intelligent information and communication technologies (ICT) for tangible cultural heritage. The target for these technologies is monuments, sites and museums and the collections of tangible heritage that they hold. Monuments and sites include castles, churches, monasteries, historic town centres, archaeological and other heritage sites. The Research Agenda is a distillation of debates and expert opinions on necessary future directions that have taken place both within the Network and beyond as this very inter-disciplinary group has shared a journey over increasing cross fertilization of ideas and perspectives and engaged others in the debates. EPOCH was founded on a basis of taking the holistic view of the field. As well as ICT researchers, the Network includes researchers in cultural economics, arts and humanities, social studies of cultural participation, cultural administration, regional regeneration and many other relevant fields of researchbased guidance of policy making and professional work in the cultural heritage sector. This multi- and inter-disciplinarity is required to fully address the goals set by the European Union in the Lisbon Agenda to make the European knowledge society competitive in sustainable economic growth and employment and a good place to invest, live and work based on a high quality of life. Europe’s rich and diverse cultural heritage makes considerable contributions to the Lisbon Agenda. Cultural landscapes, historic towns, museums, monuments and other heritage sites benefit the European tourism sector, Heritage sites and museums show considerable multiplier effects in employment (one job in cultural heritage generating between five and nine in related sectors), they drive citizen’s cultural learning and enjoyment, and also contribute in many other ways to the quality of life and regeneration of European regions and towns. ICT applications and digital content already add considerably to these societal benefits and there is much more to expect from new and enhanced technological capability. This expectation motivates dedicated funding of collaborative research projects under the 7th Framework Programme (e.g., the ICT Challenge ‘Digital Libraries and Content’) and the flagship project of a European Digital Library under the i2010 Information Society focus Digital Libraries. Yet, there is much to do to deliver the potential benefits. EPOCH’s effort to provide a common research agenda in cultural heritage and ICT is intended to foster a better cohesion of the communities involved, promote synergies among new initiatives and projects, yield more efficient spending of available funding, and result in better and more sustainable ICT-based solutions.
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