The most appealing results of the research done in the Research Agenda 2008-2012 set in the spotlights.
Digital Museum Collection Netherlands (DiMCoN) is the digital collection platform for musea at this moment. Here are the museum collections of the Netherlands digitally brought together. In this way they are available for use in various applications within virtual exhibitions, scientific research, digital learning resources and tourism applications.
In addition DiMCoN has increased the international visibility of Dutch heritage by placing the digitized collections through a national infrastructure on Europeana.eu, the comprehensive portal for European digital heritage collections.
The impetus for setting up DiMCoN arose from a previous RCE project, the 'Modern Art Collection Audit', which inventoried the manner and amount of collecting of modern and contemporary art by museums in the period 1999-2009. After this rather arduous inventory, it was clear to all that large quantities of information about objects in museum collections should no longer be collected manually.
Therefore it was decided henceforth to collect data on museum collections through a digital platform.
DiMCoN provides digital access to museum collections and collects management information on the nature and composition of the affiliated collections. This is possible due to DiMCoN being designed with open source software, which permits an easy entering and removal of information. The Museum Inventory Project (MUSIP) database (inventory of sub-collections to 'type') and the Relocation Database are also connected to the DiMCoN website. The Relocation Database presents objects looking for a 'new home'.
Dozens of Dutch collections have connected to DiMCoN under the framework of the Research Agenda 2008-2012. They represent a great diversity of heritage institutions, ranging from the Rijksacademie van Beelden Kunsten [National Art Academy] to the Tropenmuseum [Tropics Museum] and from the Museum Kröller-Müller to the Stichting Oude Groninger Kerken [Old Groningen Churches Foundation]. The intention is that this number will grow. The aim is to connect as many digital heritage collections as possible. The heritage field is informed of the opportunities offered by DiMCoN.
The DiMCoN project also connects with the nationwide 'infrastructure' for the disclosure of information about digital objects. Previous digitization projects such as Nederlands Erfgoed Digitaal [Netherlands Heritage Digital], Digitaliseren met Beleid [Digitization with Discretion], Het Geheugen van Nederland [The Memory of the Netherlands] and Beelden voor de Toekomst [Images for the Future]. Four so-called 'aggregators' have been designated to operate the various heritage domains: the RCE (managers of movable heritage, museums), the National Archives (archives), the National Library (libraries) and the Institute for Sound and Vision (image and sound managing institutions). The aggregators act as digital hubs for information and links to digital objects. Here Dutch heritage institutions within the same domain can find the easiest route to making their digital collection accessible.
The four aggregators work together as a consortium in the 'national aggregator' de Digitale Collectie. This offers heritage institutions a clearly defined standard for opening up their digital collections on other national and international services and facilities, within and without the heritage sector. The institutions do remain responsible for the digitization of their objects and their own online presentation.
With the establishment of DiMCoN and its affiliation with the Digitale Collectie a digital red carpet is rolled out to Europe for Dutch museums. The Europeana portal already offers access to more than 25 million digitized books, maps, photographs, videos, paintings and musical compositions. The portal also focuses on the dissemination of knowledge on collection access and involves users in many activities. Thus a museum can show their own collection enriched with those of other institutions on their own website by way of a separate hub point: the Europeana API.
And political attention is also not lacking. In January 2011, the Comité des Sages of the European Commission called for a 'new renaissance', by making the cultural heritage of Europe available online on Europeana.eu.
Delving Open Source Solutions, Rotterdam