COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Austria/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.11 New technologies and digitalisation in the arts and culture

In Austria, the Department of Media Affairs in the Federal Chancellery is responsible for coordinating the "Digital Agenda for Europe", which was published by the European Commission in 2010. The "Digital Agenda for Europe" makes proposals for measures on cultural and audiovisual issues that are also implemented in Austria: for example, for the EU online library Europeana and the digitalisation of content and support for the digitalisation of cinema, for the development of indicators for digital qualifications and media competence, as well as for initiatives in the field of intellectual property in connection with digital media.

The Ministry of Education and Women's Affairs is also placing an emphasis on new media: The eFit21 Digital Agenda for Education, the Arts and Culture aims at the efficient, sustainable and systematic utilisation of modern information and communications technology in the fields of education, the arts and culture. Thus, for example, Austria's artistic and cultural heritage is to be presented in an up-to-date way regardless of location, conveyed and preserved for future generations: in cooperation with the Federal Monuments Office, the "monument information system" (DEMIS) will be developed in order to ensure the archiving and availability of data on Austria's monuments.

The "Kulturpool", an initiative of the Arts and Culture Division of the Federal Chancelleryand the Federal Ministryof Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW), offers central access to digitalised Austrian cultural heritage resources in museums, libraries and archives. The Arts and Culture Division of the Federal Chancellery, however, also sees one of its main tasks as promoting contemporary art in Austria as well as promoting the presence of Austrian artists abroad. Comprehensive holdings of art and photography have therefore been digitally recorded and the image databases "Artothek" and the "Fotosammlung" (collection of photography) of the Federal Government have been established. Additionally, the image databases of the national museums (Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Albertina and Österreichische Galerie Belvedere) and others (Museum modernerKunst MUMOK, Museum fürangewandteKunst MAK) as well as the Austrian Mediathek and ANNO - Austrian Newspapers Online, are supported by public funds. Further cultural and scientific institutions maintaining databases are to be found at InfoNet Austria.

The Federal Ministry for Education and Women's Affairs has launched school projects, for example, the annual "media literacy award" and the interface http://www.museumonline.at to promote cooperation between museums and schools through the use of innovative technology.

In the course of the necessary digitalisation of the Austrian independent cinemas, a funding model was developed in which the federal governmentassumed a co-funding contribution of up to 25% of the agreed basic costs per cinema hall; in all, the Film department in the Arts and Culture Division of the Federal Chancellery makes EUR 1 million available for this. With a rate of 98%, cinema digitalisation in Austria has almost been completed.

The project ABO - Austrian Books Online has been running since 2010, as a private-public partnerschip between the National Library and Google. In the course of this project, 600 000 copyright-free library holdings from the 16th to the 19th century will be digitalisedand integrated into the online-inventory of the National Library as well as the Europeana. Critics fear that such a major project is giving free reign to the gradual hollowing out of copyright and with it the economic commercialisation of literature through third parties without regard for the authors. Above and beyond this, with "Vision 2025", the ÖNB has set itself the aim of digitalising the millions of books and other objects in the archives and putting its future collecting emphasis on digital media. 

A main actor in the field of media and digital arts is Ars Electronica in Linz (http://www.aec.at), which annually organises one of the most important festivals at the interface of arts, new media, politics and society in Europe.

In the field of audiovisual media the emphasis is also being placed on digitalisation. KommAustria has the statutory task of presenting a revised digitalisation concept every two years; currently the emphasis is on the nationwide introduction of digital terrestrial television broadcasting.

Apart from the official agendas for digitalisation and the utilisation of new media, there are various initiatives at the intersection of art, culture and new information and communications technologies that have combined in the "konsortium.Netz.kultur". The initiative sees itself as an interest-group representative as regards the public and the media, politics and administration and sees its task as raising public awareness of societal interrelations of electronic networks with a democratic, participative and socially balanced cultural development.


Chapter published: 02-02-2016

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