|Title:||Sharing Cultural Entitlements in the Digital Age: Are We Building a Garden of Eden or a Patch of Weeds?|
|Publication:||MW97: Museums and the Web 1997|
It is clear that we are witnessing a time of tremendous change and opportunity. While governments around the world are preparing for economic, social, and political changes spurred by new information technologies, those of us in the cultural arena cannot afford to sit in ivory towers and simply let events overtake us. While mounting more and more stand alone Web sites is a fundamental step into the cyberspace universe, it is just the beginning. In reality, cyberspace itself is currently raucous and untamed territory. Digital information alone is only a stream of millions of bits. It makes no sense if we have no way of knowing where to look for information or if different formats for recording text and images prevent us from access across Web sites. The great collective repository of our cultural heritage scattered around the world in libraries, museums, and archives contains vast numbers of art objects and literary works from the past and present. These are fragments of the great mosaic of human civilization. To make sure these pieces can be accessed across collections in ways that benefit our understanding of humankind and improve our quality of life, we need work together as collaborators in developing community and multi-institutional Web sites locally, nationally, and globally. Fortunately, a handful of models are leading the way.