Cultural web site focusing on the end-user

In July the web site ‘kulturnett.no’ was launched in its new version. Gone are the sector sites based mainly on the requirements of museum staff, art specialists, archivists and librarians. The focus now is on the end-user with an interest in culture.

Museum specialists have presented Internet exhibitions. Librarians have talked about electronic books. Archivists have made archive material available on the Internet.We believe, however, that the end-user is primarily concerned with access to information and is not particularly interested in whether that information comes from an archive, a library or a museum. This was the line of thought leading to the establishment of the Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority in 2003 as the Norwegian government’s organisation for the joint development of these three sectors. At the same time it was decided by the Ministry of Church and Cultural Affairs that the Authority should assume responsibility for the Norwegian cultural web site and its sector links. The task of developing this new version of the web site started as soon as the Authority had been established. The initial launching in July was very low-key but during spring 2005 a more ambitious presentation will be made with the emphasis on content.

The new cultural web site is based on the international standard for index cards, Topic Map, which gives substance to the concept of ‘seamless knowledge’. This is a new way of making more efficient use of basic data; a process more closely resembling the way in which the human mind works by association. Topic Map offers exciting possibilities when different index-card-based web sites cooperate. Kulturnett.no sets great store by such alliances with regional and professional partners. So far there exist six regional cultural web sites, but more are in the making. In the same way close cooperation has been established between kulturnett.no and various organisations representing artists, dancers and writers.

Kulturnett.no covers all aspects of the library, archive and museum sectors, while placing the main emphasis on a wider cultural concept.

Each year kulturnett.no offers funding for projects. Last year and this, priority has been given to improving content. From a cultural point of view the Internet is more than a technical challenge of how fast and efficiently one can travel. Culturally it is first and foremost a question of where one is heading and whether or not the journey leads to something worthwhile, namely highquality Norwegian content. The new web site intends to contribute towards achieving this end.

Translated by Eric Deverill

Project manager, Kulturnett.no, Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority.
Director of the Learning Centre and Library Oslo and Akershus University College