4.2.11 New technologies and digitalisation in the arts and culture
Since 2003 the Czech Statistical Office has conducted a survey on the use of information and communication technologies annually in households and among individuals. In 2012, 67.4% of Czech households had a PC and 65.4% had an internet connection. Currently, cell phones are the most widely used information and communication technology among individuals; in 2012, 96% of people over the age of 16 used a cell phone. The internet is used by 66.8% of women and 72.3% of men aged 16–74.
The Czech government regularly addresses the issue of developing the information society. In July 2008, it adopted a Strategy for the Development of Services for the Information Society in the CR 2008-2009, with the main aim of providing citizens and businesses with user-friendly, safe and trustworthy electronic communication. The whole process of e-Government in the CR is in the competence of the Ministry of the Interior. The Government Council for Competitiveness and an Information Society is a professional advisory body of the government for the field, which plays a coordinating role and provides the government with material for decision-making in this area.
In April 2012 Government Resolution No. 271 instituted an update of the National Programme of Reforms for 2012. The compendious, more than hundred-page document responds not just to the objectives set out in the Europe 2020 Strategy, but also to the recommendations of the Council of Ministers of the CR of 2011 and of the European Commissioned expounded in the Annual Growth Analysis. The document reflects the situation in the areas addressed by individual reform measures. It assesses the steps that have been undertaken and outlines the direction in which measures to strengthen the competitiveness of the economy should turn. It also takes into account the regional dimension of economic policy, noting the trend towards more closely linking priority areas in the National Programme of Reform to the future form of cohesion policy. In the chapter "Improving Access to High-Speed Internet and Advancing e-Government" in the National Programme the Ministry of Culture is assigned specific tasks relating to the development of a National Strategy for the Digitisation of Cultural Contents. This task is linked to the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy and its flagship initiative A Digital Agenda for Europe.
Libraries have been the engine of the information society in the field of culture since the mid-1990s. In January 2012 the Government of the CR adopted the Concept for the Development of Libraries in the Czech Republic for 2011-2015, which includes bringing libraries online. This Concept aims to define the conditions for the provision and implementation of complex library services in the real and digital space. The Concept focuses on digitisation at different levels, but also deals with legislative, financial and methodological support. The objective is to create a conceptual solution for the long-term protection of digital documents and wide accessibility.
The system of libraries has been supported by the programme "Public Information Service for Libraries", with the main aim of innovation of public information services for libraries on the basis of information and communication technologies. The Ministry of Culture (MC) has also participated in the project of the Ministry of the Interior called the "Project of Internet Provision for Libraries", where setting up an internet connection in libraries and payment of the related fees were provided with the aim of establishing equal conditions for access to information. In 2009 the MC adopted the document "Digitisation of Cinemas in the CR", which defined the basic principles and directions for the transition to digital image and sound projection. Based on this document financial support was introduced for digitisation of cinemas provided by the State Fund for the Support and Development of Cinematography – now the State Cinematography Fund (see also chapter 3.2 and chapter 5.3.8).
In February 2009, the Film Council, which associates Czech professional film associations, festivals and institutions, set up a working group for the digitisation of Czech films, whose purpose was to devise proposals for making the "golden stock of Czech cinematography" digitally accessible both in cinemas and on other distribution channels in the best possible quality. The resulting document – Digitisation of Czech Film Works–Concept Proposal – was presented in April 2010. The digitisation of Czech films is also dealt with in the Concept of Support and Development of Czech Cinematography and the Czech Film Industry 2011-2016 (see also chapter 4.2.3).
The MC also participates in national and international activities connected with the digitisation of cultural content in relation to the initiative of the EC i2010: Digital Libraries. Digitisation of cultural content is one of the tasks of the National Cultural Policy 2009-2014. The MC ordered a working study for the National Strategy of Digitisation of Cultural Content, which was completed in 2010. The study should form the basis for developing a National Strategy for the Digitisation of Cultural Content, which has not yet been done.
The Ministry for Regional Development, in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs prepared the Integrated Operational Programme, which was approved by the European Commission in December 2007 and was part of the ERDF programme period 2007-2013. At the start of 2010, as part of the Integrated Operational Programme several projects relating to digitisation and cultural accessibility, such as the National Digital Library and the Information Cultural Portal Czechiana, which was designed as a national data aggregator for European. The National Digital Library was the only project selected out of the selection procedure. This is a project of the National Library of the CR and the Moravian Provincial Library in Brno, which focuses on the digitisation of books and periodicals. The project received support from the IOP with a sum of 255 million CZK and a sum of 45 million from the MC. Under this project, by 2019 approx. 300 000 volumes of, mainly, Czech books from the 19th and 21st centuries should be digitised. The project follows three main lines:
The National Library also concluded an agreement with Google, which will digitise a further 200 000 works from historical and Slavic collections from the period of the 16th to 18th centuries.
In the Czech Republic, these programmes are not particularly intended for artists who work with new media and technologies. Artistic projects of this nature are supported under the grant selection procedures of the Ministry of Culture in the form, for instance, of showcases, exhibitions and other artistic projects. New media are introduced together with visual arts and photography under the grant systems operated by individual towns, such as the grants offered by the City of Prague. NGOs are however working intensively on this issue. Current projects include, e.g., Platforma RESET, which emerged as a space for interdisciplinary interaction between artists, scientists, and technology, the aim being to mediate trends in the new media in the context of socially relevant themes for the emerging generation of Czech artists, researchers and techno-artists (http://www.platforma-reset.cz). More information is available on the website of the CIANT institution, which is one of the founders of the platform and whose long-term focus has been new media, technology, and interdisciplinary interaction. See: http://www.ciant.cz.
In 2010 Czech Google presented its programme aimed at using new technologies to support Czech culture, art and talent – Google for Czech Culture, which is part of the initiative Google for Czech Society (http://www.google.cz/intl/cs/landing/culture/).