Digitization of Cultural Resources Workshop

Digitization of Cultural Resources Workshop.  2nd-3rd October Ayr, Scotland

The focus of the workshops at the University of Aberdeen were upon the daily usage of digital technologies and how these are (or could be) embedded in local communities.

 The target audiences to engage with were therefore academics with an interest in these issues as well as businesses, third sector and public organisations with related interests.  Thus the purpose of the scoping workshops were to  explore what resources were required to  digitize cultural resources, but also to facilitate networking between researchers, small businesses and voluntary organisations.  Three major questions were posed at the outset:

 1) What technologies are currently being used by cultural organisations,

 2) What were the barriers to further digitisation,

3) How might groups in the network work together to overcome some of these barriers.

The workshop in Ayr consisted of two parts.  On the first day, here were two on-site presentations of digital technologies in action.  At the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, we were introduced to their most recent digitization project.  These included a website, ‘To Your Mouse’, which was developed as a more accessible method to search non-display items.  In addition, there was a discussion of the barriers to idealized digitization projects, and an overview of other National Trust of Scotland projects. Next, there was a tour of Culzean Castle using their new digital guides. Presenters from both sites joined us for the discussion the second day.

The second day consisted of a short introduction to the CCN+ project, and then we conducted a ‘speed dating’ session where participants paired off to discuss ideas for pilot projects, or exchanged thoughts on solutions to particular issues that were being raised during their own work.

Results/Feedback

The groups who sent representatives were working on projects at various levels of complexity, from planning stages through complex virtual modelling.

During the discussions, the major barriers which appeared for most projects included limited time, financial resources, individuals with expertise, lack of access to larger databases for laymen and difficulties in working with local educational authorities.

Suggested pilot projects included, but were not limited to the following:

-Virtual modelling for areas which are inaccessible, due to fragility of space, mobility issues, or geographic distance

-QR codes to facilitate the use of various unstaffed/self guided sites

-Online learning and touring programmes including educational support for pre and post-visit.

-Modification of digital tour technology to motivate guide staff

-Digitize archives and link between multiple databases, including expansion of access for smaller organisations.

-Mobile app development using GPS/QR to develop national or inter site tours or scavenger hunts.  Coordination between organisations with links to particular themes (in this case Robert Burns)

-Use of natural language processing to geo-locate certain texts

-Numerous proposals on creating training protocols/ how-to videos

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