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

4.2.11 New technologies and digitalisation in the arts and culture

The two previous National Programmes for Culture, the first from 2004-2007 and the second from 2008-2011 have special chapters devoted to e-culture. The following measures are listed:

  • further digitalisation of public libraries and the national library (public libraries are already connected in a co-operative bibliographic on line system);
  • multimedia network centres (15) in different regions;
  • an inventory of cultural heritage;
  • the digitalisation of the working process of public institutions from the field of cultural heritage protection;
  • a national cultural portal;
  • the establishment of a music information centre;
  • the creation of a uniform information system "books on the market";
  • archives of significant cultural content on the internet; and
  • the digitalisation of Slovenian literary heritage on the Internet.

According to the summary of the current National Programme for Culture 2014-2017, the chapter on digitisation envisages, besides the digitisation and safe storage of content, also the provision of on-line accessibility to all digital cultural content, with particular care being devoted to content adapted to young users, cultural minorities and other vulnerable groups. An optimal organisation and free accessibility of digitised cultural content, created with public funds, is in the public interest, as in this way it serves educational, creative, research and also business purposes. In this context, we must not forget the issue of accessibility of work of contemporary authors, where the key challenge is to ensure adequate management and the protection of digital rights.

The following important measures and projects have been realised in the past years:

  • In 2005, the Slovene Music-Information Centre (SIGIC) in Ljubljana was established with ambition to serve as a basic information centre for accessing information on Slovene musicians, music, musical heritage and activities in this area. SIGIC participates in the International Association of Music Information Centres (IAMIC). In 2007, a web portal with presentation of the Slovenian theatre SIGLEDAL was formed; since 2010 it receives acknowledgement and financial support from the ministry in charge of culture;
  • In 2005 and 2006, a network of 15 multi-media centres in all statistical regions across Slovenia was established. Later, another four were included. A sum of 1.3 million EUR was invested in these centres, of which more than half of the amount was obtained from the European Structural Funds. Additionally, a separate accounting entry for financing activities connected to the regional cultural centres was planned, with the goal to increase the number of cultural institutions and their activities that are presented in individual regional internet portals, and to provide information on cultural themes, events and activities in the regions, and to enable connection to the national cultural portal. However, ambitions to get money from this European source during the present financial perspective are fading since the Ministry of Culture finds the related administrative procedures too bureaucratic. The most eminent of all centres is the Association for Culture and Education KIBLA in Maribor, the second biggest city in Slovenia. It combines a gallery, spaces for performances, a specialised bookshop and cyber café where new education, information, advisory, cultural and artistic praxis are successfully bridging borders between arts and science on one hand and research and education on the other. With more than 200 events and 50 000 visitors per year it is considered as a phenomenon. Its power is in its international reputation, excellent team with remarkable individuals, strong international connections, co operation (programme Culture 2000 in Culture 2007) and skilful self-promotion. Its international and national visibility makes it financially sustainable and fairly autonomous. KIBLA was also the head of preparation of the winning application for Maribor to become the European Capital of Culture 2012. This could be taken as an example of how a small cultural organisation can raise its profile by integrating information technology in all of its activities and programmes;
  • The portal KAMRA, with the ambition to include libraries, archives, museums, associations, local study centres and multimedia centres was started in 2005 by ten Slovenian regional libraries. The portal is specially intended for knowledge of a particular geographical area and it therefore includes digital information created at the regional and local level. The information concerns life and events in local communities, documents on the history of local communities that can be a source for education, culture, tourism, the creation of e-content, as well as for the economy;
  • The National and University Library – NUK developed the internet portal "Digital Library of Slovenia" (d-Lib.si) and connected its digital content to the European Digital Library. It was placed on the internet in 2006. It has the ambition to act as the national knowledge management portal and it offers free searches by source and access to digital content – magazines, books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, music and handbooks. Access to the collection on the portal is free. Besides being a repository for Slovenian digital publications, it also functions as a tool for harvesting Web publications on the basis of new legal deposit legislation which covers intangible digital publications as well. This SVAROG portal carries out its functions effectively since the publishers who are obliged to deposit the legal deposit of electronic publications, publishers who signed an agreement with the Slovenian Research Agency, and libraries and some other institutions have already successfully submitted their electronic material;
  • The improvement of ICT equipment in public libraries is very much connected with the development of the Co-operative Online Bibliographic System and Services (COBISS) which functions as an integrated and shared bibliographic tool of the Slovenian library network where all kind of libraries in the country cooperate and participate. Libraries are already changing into information nodes and digital content providers. Libraries, museums and archives have internet access via the ARNES.
  • The priority of digitising cultural heritage suffers from a lack of coordination although the need to set up an inventory of ongoing digitalisation projects has been recognised. Since the institutions are facing more and more pressure by users to make their collections available online it becomes clear that more digital content in all fields of cultural heritage, media and arts is needed. The leading institutions are the national library and state archives, first with digitised library materials such as manuscripts, newspapers and other periodicals, non-book materials like postcards, pictures, graphic art, maps and music(the biggest project of digitisation is a collection of articles of older Slovenian authors which includes 100 000 scans), and the second with old archival documents of different public sources (the most extensive project is the scanning of the Emperor Francis Cadastre which included 28 000 recordings or 2 800 recorded cadastral municipalities with 28 000 cadastral maps). National radio and television is expected to become another competence centre for digitalisation of cultural heritage. However digitalisation of radio-diffusion broadcasting presents a problem and Slovenia is at the bottom of the European states in this area. Although the awareness of the need to provide for digitised collections and to make them user friendly and service oriented has been increasing, there are still a lot of institutions that have not yet discovered the full potential of digitisation of their collection which results in a lack of quality of digital contents and related insufficient use of the internet in Slovenia.
  • A Slovenian NGO organisation SCCA implements a website Artservis which serves as a fundamental resource for financial, legal, statutory, applications to tenders, tax and other organisational issues for the self-employed and non-governmental organisations in culture in Slovenia. Artservis has over 2500 users and it is complemented by the website Evrokultura (engl. Euroculture), which provides information related to European tenders (it is formally part of the Cultural Contact Point in Slovenia managed by SCCA itself).
  • A new portal Culture.si was in 2010 by the Ministry of Culture. It is intended as a presentation of all relevant data in the field of culture in Slovenia to foreign visitors. It offers four major services: an up to date address book, logo and logo banks for downloading and use according to their specific licences, calendar of international events, and reference articles on Slovene culture.
  • In the framework of European Capital of Culture 2012 a programme module LIFETOUCH devoted to digital presentation and experimentation of the art events has been formed. It followed two basic principles. The first was to present the entire scheme of the programme and activities that are part of the European Capital of Culture (ECOC) Maribor 2012 to the entire world with the help of the internet. The part of the Maribor 2012 cyber space, intended for the programme section LifeTouch, should become a place, where a sort of media experiment is unravelling, an experiment that connects and gathers contents related to the ECOC Maribor 2012 from other media sources. The second part of the programme cycle LifeTouch was the publication of (auto) reflections, which was divided into two sections. The first part of the contemplations was aimed at following and (auto) reflecting on the programme, events and contents, offered by the ECOC Maribor 2012. The second part of the reflections was connected to contemplations of wider cultural and geopolitical contexts that affected and determined the areas of the eastern cohesion region - the area of the ECOC, seen through history and today.

Some of the planned measures remain completely unrealised such as the development of the unified information system for books on sale. There has been vivid discussion on which model to implement. Another project still waiting to be accomplished is the national cultural portal, although regional cultural portals such as the one in the region Posavje (Multimedia centre Krško) offer the realistic possibility to bring them together in one common access point.

Although the acceptance of three important legal documents for digital culture (in 2006 the Legal Deposit Act and Protection of Documents and Archives and Archival Institutions Act and in 2007 the Cultural Heritage Protection Act) could be considered as the realisation of the strategic documents, legislation is just an instrument like the strategic documents and not the end in themselves. These acts revise previous or bring new legal foundations to libraries, archives and museums for collecting, manipulating, preserving and use of digitised and digitally produced publications and archival documents which is of long term importance. In their regulative capacity they offer important legal grounds for positive developments of the information society in these fields. As such they could be considered as an official call for action.


Chapter published: 11-02-2015

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