In mid December the new facilities of Kelvin Hall hosted the first international symposium on the evaluation of digital cultural heritage collections, which was organized by the Scottish Network on Digital Cultural Resources Evaluation (ScotDigiCH). It was a very dense two days event with numerous presentations that treated many aspects of the evaluation of cultural heritage resources in a smoothly flowing program. I was particularly surprised to see a good balance between researchers and practitioners; it is something that many events try to combine, but very few achieve to do so.

The first day had many very interesting presentations, mostly coming from the museums world, discussing various issues of museum digital collections, virtual world representations, augmented reality interventions in museum spaces, etc. If I had to single out some presentations I would say that Marco De Niet (Digital Heritage Netherlands) gave a fine overview of digitization activity recording in Europe through the ENUMERATE Framework and Observatory and Karen Brookfield from the Heritage Lottery Fund gave a straightforward point of view of the funding bodies.

The day was concluded with a brilliant speech by Mark O’Neill, who very elegantly and with very subtle commenting, both humorous and gravely seriously, presented the challenges of modern museums, while answering at the same time some profound questions of what museums can do for people. During the social event that followed the speech, participants could visit the audiovisual collections of the National Library of Scotland, in this newly opened space.

AudioVisual Collections in SNL

The first part of the second day’s morning was split in two parts and I was able to join the activities of the Europeana Impact Framework. This two hours long workshop was a platform of opinions and ideas exchange, as well as a validation of this framework and refinement.

Europeana Impact Framework workshop apparatus

The second part was the one I contributed with my speech, in a session that was shared with Christina Kamposiori (RLUK) and Milena Dobreva-McPherson (University of Malta). You can find my speech right below. My presentation, as well as all other presentations were video recorded and uploaded on YouTube.

Credit where credit is due, so I should say that the symposium was organized by the Scottish Network on Digital Cultural Resources Evaluation (ScotDigiCH), which is an endeavor jointly coordinated by the University of Glasgow (both the Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute and The Hunterian), University of Strathclyde (Department of Computer and Information Science), Glasgow Life Museums and the Moving Image Archive of the National Library of Scotland. The network is generously funded by The Royal Society of Edinburgh. All this information is pretty useful for the acknowledgement of contributions, but more important is highlighting the fact that all these organizations together make a critical mass of solid establishments that can substantially support the creation of a vibrant community. This community is at birth, but has some strengths as it can be exhibited in the Storify recording of the symposium’s attention on Twitter. The domain of evaluation of digital collections need more events like this; social and research spaces where academics, researchers and practitioners amalgamate to create unsterile and creative conversations to the benefit of cultural heritage.