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Re: [Nettime-nl] Teken het protest tegen de bezuinigingen op de landelij
Geert Lovink on Mon, 26 Oct 2009 13:28:54 +0100 (CET)

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Re: [Nettime-nl] Teken het protest tegen de bezuinigingen op de landelijke digitale infrastructuur

Hi, zonder iets af te willen te doen aan de goede bedoelingen van dit protest, wil ik wel graag wijzen op de merkwaardige wanverhouding tussen wat men in Den Haag en Brussel bereidt is neer te leggen voor 'erfgoed' en de geringe bedragen die er zijn voor het bestuderen en verder vooruitbrengen van de publieke digitale cultuur in het heden. Ik heb hierover net een blogposting geschreven, in het Engels. Waarom is het verleden zoveel belangrijker dan het heden, en de toekomst? Ik mis de diskussie daarover. Ciao, Geert


Critique of the European Heritage Industry
Posted: October 24, 2009 at 12:21 pm

A Conference Report from Lund (Sweden) by Geert Lovink

I love libraries and archives, yet shy away from the ‘cultural heritage’ industry. How come? I grappled with this question last week when I visited Lund where a EU meeting of national archives took place. The event was called “Improving Access to European Heritage” and I was invited to speak in section 3 on Friday entitled “Where are we heading”? BTW. before me spoke Pelle Snickars, the co-publisher of an anthology on You Tube who works at the Swedish National Archive as a researcher. Whereas he urged the dusty archivists to get more involved in Web 2.0 and do experiments with Flickr, YouTube and so on, I was more cautious.

The main emphasis of the meeting was on the progress of the Europeana project, which was launched late 2008 (read the Wikipedia entry for more info). You can find the ppt presentation of the Europeana director Jill Cousins here. Cousins emphasized that the Europeana digital libraries initiative is the most visible part but only the tip of the iceberg. Only 2% of Europe’s archives are digitized. Together with others it so far received 20-180 million euros in European funding. The emphasis on technical work is done through EU programs such as eContentplus/CIP and brought together in the Europeana Thought Lab. Europeana will look for public-private partnerships and has to figure out how to generate revenue. The main concern, so Cousins, is to work towards a reform of the fragmented copyright framework. There is a real risk of ‘national silos of information’, archives such as the one in Norway that is only accessible inside the ‘national web’. Europeana thrives for cross border access. Other problems are ‘orphan works’, broken links and the danger of a 20th century ‘black hole’ because of expanded copyright, for instance on audio-visual material. Limited access to 20th century material differs from earlier collections that are in the public domain and 21st century (user generated) content that is published under Creative Commons.

The main problem I have here is Europe’s preoccupation with its past. Why not Giving Access to the European Future? It’s in particular the European Commission who is to blame for this. It is save to put money in the past and risky to invest in the future culture. There is money to made from history. When I think of Europe I see Asian tourists doing’ Paris and Rome. How can we get rid of this cliché? Maybe we’re in Amsterdam all too sensitive for this problem of the tourist industry as a trap. Can we ever overcome Museum Europe?

In my abstract I wrote:

From a perspective of new media research Europe allocated too much of its resources into the digitization of its cultural heritage, leaving the debate over the architecture of the network society to hyped-up IT gurus and business management evangelists. Once again, the future was located in the past. Now that the 1.5 billion Internet users worldwide are preoccupied with social networking and other Web 2.0 activities, digital content is proclaimed dead and ‘free’.

The question central in my work has always been how Europe can be liberated from its preoccupation with the archive in order to mobilize its creative energies towards a ‘future culture’ that is both critical and innovative. How can we develop an intellectual environment that is capable to shape things to come that is not condemned to writing academic histories? In our work at the Institute of Network Cultures we highlight actual interventions in emerging fields such as the culture of search (beyond Google), critical Wikipedia research and the artistic use of online video, proving that a critical techno culture is small but alive and well.

In my talk I warned for the Web 2.0 hype. Why don’t we talk about SecondLife and Orkut anymore? I urged institutions first and foremost to concentrate on their website and content. Web 2.0 is an ever- changing collection of national platforms, closed ‘walled gardens’ that facilitate selective, non-public so-called ‘social’ conversations. Rather than migrating to Twitter and YouTube for marketing purposes, let’s make materials

	• •Searchable
	• •Findable
	• •Tagable
	• •Shareable (cc-licence, .ogg)
	• •And maybe even mashable (open API)
Just have a good website, then the Web 2.0 crowds will do the rest. Let them work for you, these prosumers!

In the roaring nineties librarians played a pivotal role in the Internet access movement. At the time were ahead of the game. These days it seems that they have lost their edge and are busy with large digitization programs of historical material. There seems to be less and less money for public libraries and more project-based resources for ‘digitization’ of old stuff. This is why we see occasional panic over (US-American) commercial services like Google, Twitter and Facebook. If librarians and archivists would engage more in the development of standards and protocols, software and interfaces, they would gain confidence and have a more confident and sovereign attitude towards the fads of the market and its libertarian techno-evangelists.

What we need are creative and critical concepts, for instance in the case of Europeana, which is clearly neither a portal nor a search engine. Europeana’s goal, according to Jill Cousins, is to get higher up in the ranking as collected archives and libraries. We all understand that it is frustrating for individual archives not to even show up on the first three pages of a Google query. But Europeana is more than just an expensive search optimization project? Is it merely an ‘assistant engine’ to help or correct the big search engines? Should we for instance call it a content lobby site? Or a meta library? The archive of archives? Wikipedia calls it a ‘search platform’. According to Europeana it’s a ‘prototype’. In my view terms matter, so let’s become even more ‘beta’ and invent them. Central concepts shape and organize socio-technological developments; and focus attention and resources. This is where the role of theory becomes important as a futurist concept laboratory.

On 26 Oct 2009, at 9:08 AM, Floor van Spaendonck wrote:

Graag roep ik de Nettimers op om de petitie te ondertekenen tegen de plannen voor bezuinigingen op het gebied van de digitalisering en innovatie in de erfgoed- en culturele sector.

Samen met vijf andere koepelorganisaties uit de cultuur/ erfgoedsector is Virtueel Platform een actie gestart om te protesteren tegen de zware kortingen op de middelen voor de landelijke digitale infrastructuur in de erfgoedsector. Hierbij aan u een laatste oproep de petitie te ondertekenen.

Teken de petitie tegen bezuiniging op landelijke digitale infrastructuur!

Morgen, dinsdag 27 oktober, wordt de protestbrief met de ingezamelde handtekeningen overhandigd aan de Kamercommissie OCW. Deze zal op maandag 2 november aanstaande de OCW-begroting 2010 bespreken.

Hierbij de laatste oproep om de petitie te ondertekenen ter ondersteuning van de actie. Hoe meer mensen deelnemen, des te overtuigender is de oproep aan de Kamercommissie vragen te stelen over deze bezuinigingen.

Ga naar http://protestcultuurenict.tboek.nl/ en laat ook zien dat je tegen deze zware bezuinigingen bent.

Meer informatie over het waarom van deze actie is te vinden op http://www.virtueelplatform.nl/#2777

Floor van Spaendonck

Virtueel Platform -sectorinstituut e-cultuur
Damrak 70 - 6.54 |   1012 LM Amsterdam
office: +31 (0)20-6273758   mobile: +31 (0)6 24101328
web: virtueelplatform.nl   twitter: twitter.com/virtueelp
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* Verspreid via nettime-nl. Commercieel gebruik niet
* toegestaan zonder toestemming. <nettime-nl> is een
* open en ongemodereerde mailinglist over net-kritiek.
* Meer info, archief & anderstalige edities:
* http://www.nettime.org/.
* Contact: Menno Grootveld (rabotnik {AT} xs4all.nl).