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Endangered cultural heritage: tools for preservation, investigation and copyright clearance

Develop software tools for digital acquisition, archiving,
interactive delivery of endangered cultural heritage
database entries, managing internet-integrated multimedia
database and electronic copyright trading environment.

In our rapidly developing technological environment, people are coming to rely more and more on databases and networks to access information. To meet this demand, cultural heritage institutions particularly have to rethink traditional approaches to managing and disseminating information about their collections. They have to think about the sustainability of their collections. Digital technologies have added new means to preserve of cultural heritage - safeguarding it in digital space. Multimedia technologies open the door to new multimedia business, and an electronic system of multimedia rights clearance (MMRC) is necessary. Project aims: (i) To develop new generation of tools - software for filling and searching Internet-integrated multimedia data base (MDB) and copyrights trading environment in one-step marketing and management of multimedia products and rights capable of operating on European basis. (ii) To create an MMRC value chain that links object creation, marketing, customer and access management, distribution and use. (iii) To create an MDB prototype using as entries multimedia musical heritage items (MMHI), based on early European musical heritage data (images of musical manuscripts, audio-video music records, related pictures, texts). The prototype will demonstrate MDB operability on digital acquisition and archiving, transfer and presentation of unique multimedia items as well as prove the benefits of interactive delivery. This is in accordance with the INFO 2000 program initiated by the EUROPEAN COMMISSION to stimulate the multimedia content industry to exploit new business opportunities and establish a European platform for information clearing and exploitation, for the transition 'from scribe to screen' in cultural heritage and for the latest EU program - eContent action to provide a bridge between companies in the digital content area and potential investors. The main project goal is to create consolidated approach and MDB on a transregional, European basis - can be reached by setting up the framework bridging together content owners-providers (libraries, cultural institutions), know-how partners (advanced multimedia technology institutions) and producers. Research work in advanced databases management, data mining and IT methods is necessary in order to process a huge amount of digital information, representing the highest-quality pictures, sounds and video records, and to create a fully explorable digital archive connected to Internet. The interactive delivery of results also require innovative solutions and research. Definition Phase Activities: Target areas to be developed: (a) the digital acquisition of MMHI - fragile/endangered image/audiovisual material, (b) an Internet-integrated MDB warehousing system, (c) state-of-the-art interactive delivery of multimedia content, (d) the highlighting of industrial structures, especially SMEs, capable of co-operating between content owners, scholars, multimedia producers, service providers, and end-users. Project Implementation Phase Activities: (i) To investigate and design innovative solutions in multimedial data presentations including: data compression techniques, the content and metadata integration research issue, advanced data mining; (ii) To research issues on digital MMHI acquisition, image/audiovisual signal processing; (iii) To research issues on archiving, transfer and presentation of acquired MMHI; (iv) To create database architecture and design database applications - to create a software for Internet-integrated MDB filling and running on server; (v) MDB warehousing: to develop standards for acquisition and electronic delivery of MMHI and their metadata system; (vi) To collect information on MMHI (old musical manuscripts stored in project' partners countries) and make local rights clearance for their digitisation; (vii) To create a prototype of MDB, filling it with digital MMHI (manuscript images, musical audio, video, texts, illustrations) and metadata; (viii) To develop an interactive annotation-based metadata extraction system; (ix) To create MMRC - multimedia rights clearance and trading environment as an electronic system capable of operating on a European basis; (x) To create means for a flexible two-way delivery of accumulated multilingual cross-cultural e-content: generation of response files (on-fly technology) and interactive CD-ROM (on-demand technology). Results and Economic Benefits: 1. Innovative solutions in Internet-integrated MDB filling online and personalised delivery of requested data online and offline will result in reduced delivery costs of production and ensure multimedia market competitiveness. 2. Promotion of information exchange between scientists and industry in all participating countries will develop market for high-technology products. 3. Software and experience in creating a prototype MDB on MMHI based on early European music and making it accessible as a total unit for researchers and other users produce the original software and digital collection entries as marketable products. 4. Knowledge, undiscoverable by other methods achieved by data mining of the MDB created, will foster the development of new research and industry areas. 5. Safeguarded as digital copies fragile and perishable cultural values become accessible in digital space and serve as a resource for the sustainability of the original collections. 6. Multimedia rights clearance and trading environment as an electronic MMRC system capable of operating on a European basis will simplify and speed up the rights clearance process and reduce localization costs for new products. 7. Dissemination of knowledge obtained both online (DB running on Internet server and delivering responses) and offline (publishing CD-ROMs-on-demand) will reduce delivery costs and create new jobs. 8. A network of organisations created to collect and digitise MMHI will advance the preservation other cultural values in digital space, their spread in the international market, cooperation between industry and content owners. It can be used in the future as a production distribution network. Keywords: multimedia database, signal processing, cultural heritage.
Acronym: 
ECH:TOPICC
Project ID: 
2 597
Start date: 
02-01-2003
Project Duration: 
31months
Project costs: 
1 030 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Cultural Heritage
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.