Some interesting developments are taking place in the Netherlands with regard to (preservation of) the digital heritage. Initiated by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science the Network Digital Heritage (NDE) was set up. The participants in this network are national organizations with large digital collections, like the National Library (Koninklijke Bibliotheek) , the Institute of Sound and Vision, the Cultural Heritage Agency, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Archives, together with other partners like for example the knowledge center DEN.
This Network organized the Week of Cultural Heritage ( 9-12 March 2015) and presented the National Strategy for digital Heritage as well as a short animation . Sadly this is all in Dutch, hence this update.
The national strategy plans to streamline and intensify initiatives with regard to the digital heritage in the Netherlands . The strategy is focused on collaboration between all “cultural heritage organizations’ in the Netherlands. This phrase is perhaps a bit too limited, as for example the scientific community does not feel represented under the term “cultural heritage”, but they are included as well (via the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences).
This national collaboration should take place in two ways: vertically, within certain domains (archives and museums for example) where the big organisations in the domain could offer services and assist their colleagues from smaller organisations. And horizontally, by tearing down the traditional barriers between the domains and to look for shared initiatives to make a variety of collected material more visible to the public.
Three working groups are initiated to realize this in 2015-2016. Their goals are summarized in the slogan “Zichtbaar, Bruikbaar, Houdbaar”, translated as:
- Making digital heritage visible (Zichtbaar) This working group will identify what “the public” expects from digital heritage and how they want to use it, how to promote the visibility of the range of digital collections and how to support organisations to make their collections visible.
- Making digital heritage usable (Bruikbaar) This working group will deal with connections in all sorts: to aggregate and contextualize collections, to improve findability by making better use of existing thesauri and to work together with researchers to improve search facilities
- Preserve digital heritage for the long term (Houdbaar). For a preservationist this is the interesting part, although highly connected with the other working groups! In this working group the infrastructure in the Netherlands for digital preservation need to be developed. Thereby making use of already existing experience and facilities.
One could wonder, how is this related to the already existing National Coalition for Digital Preservation, the NCDD? Well, the NCDD plays a big role in knowledge dissemination about all aspects of digital preservation. This work will be continued, but the NCDD will also be leading working group 3.
These are interesting developments and it looks like many initiatives and plans are finally coming together and will hopefully lead to (a start of) an integrated approach for access to and preservation of our digital heritage. A memorisable moment for me was last February. For the first time it happened in the Netherlands that over 80 Dutch preservationists (and some Belgian colleagues) came together and discussed the national plans, sharing approaches, plans and doubts. Let’s see what we can achieve together!