Digitalization has increasingly impacted the Italian cultural sector over the last years, with particular reference to cultural heritage, its preservation and valorization. Digitalization has been pushed along with Legislative Decree No. 83 of 31 May 2014 and subsequent legislation, called after Dario Franceschini, the Minister for Cultural Heritage from 2014 to 2018 who drove the reform through.
This reform recognized the relevance of innovating museums and heritage sites and acknowledged the centrality of users in enjoying cultural heritage. Alongside an organizational reshaping of the roles and units within the Ministry, digital actions were also pushed. These actions occurred at two levels: at the policy making and at the organizational level.
At the policy making level, the General Directorate of Museums, for the first time, analyzed the performance of Italian State museums based on their online reputation, thus relying on comments by visitors provided on online review platforms. The final aim was that of creating a network of all the Italian museums that could become part of such a network if some quality standards were achieved. Beside this monitoring activity, some organizational changes also occurred within the Ministry.
As far as the digitalization path is concerned, the main challenge is related to the creation, in 2019, of the Central Institute for the Digitization of Cultural Heritage, called the “Digital Library”: an institution with special autonomy, with the purpose of coordinating and enhancing projects of digitalization of the Italian cultural heritage (Art. 35 DPCM 2 dicembre 2019 n.169).
At the organizational level, with the Decree of the Director General of Museums, in 2019 a programmatic plan for the digital transformation of museums was approved. This document is intended to serve as a guideline for museums to enhance their digital transformation path and encompasses the following actions:
- The adoption of museum quality standards in each cultural heritage site in order to improve the service quality offered to visitors.
- The adoption of novel methodologies of digitalization of heritage, such as 3D modelling, augmented reality or gaming experiences.
- The adoption of big data and analytics to improve knowledge management within the museum.
- The adoption of customer satisfaction surveys to monitor the experiences of visitors.
- The adoption of georeferencing technologies to improve visitor experiences.
- The document was pragmatic in detailing actions and offering some further notes on how to manage a digital innovation project.
In terms of results and impact of these actions on the digitalizational level of cultural heritage sites, a survey conducted in January 2020 showed that 6% of Italian museums had a strategy plan that specifically targets digitalisation; 18% had a plan that was more generally related to the overall strategy rather than specifically focused on digitalization; while the remaining 76% had no plan yet.
As far as the level of technology is concerned, 15% of museums, heritages sites and monuments did not have a website, 76% were leveraging on social media to engage with users, 32% adopted an audio guide, 31% of respondents adopted QR-codes and beacons, while interactive installations were adopted by 28% of respondents and 3D displays and touchscreens were used by 26% of respondents. Finally, the less diffused technologies were virtual reality and augmented reality, adopted respectively by 11% and 7% of the sample; games were adopted by 5% of respondents and chatbots by 2%. It is also important to underline that technologies are continuously evolving and we may find different scenarios in the coming years.
Finally, an aspect strictly connected with digital transformation in the cultural field is represented by digital competences. At the policy making level, it has been acknowledged as important to act on competences and skills in order to educate and re-skill professionals in the cultural field with competences both in cultural heritage and in the digital humanities. Although several calls on this topic have been made over the years, a specific policy on this aspect is not developed yet. However, it is important to underline that the educational activities of the personnel in the cultural field are promoted by the Fondazione Scuola dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali that delivers, among the others, educational activities on digital competences.
 For more details, consider http://musei.beniculturali.it/progetti/monitoraggio-della-reputazione-online-dei-musei.
 Source: Art. 35 DPCM 2 dicembre 2019 n.169. For more details, refer to https://www.beniculturali.it/ente/istituto-centrale-per-la-digitalizzazione-del-patrimonio-culturale-digital-library.
 “Piano Triennale per la Digitalizzazione e l’Innovazione dei Musei”, available here http://musei.beniculturali.it/notizie/notifiche/piano-triennale-per-la-digitalizzazione-e-linnovazione-dei-musei.
 Survey conducted by the Observatory Digital Innovation in the Arts and Cultural Heritage of Politecnico di Milano, 2020. For more details, refer to https://www.osservatori.net/it/ricerche/osservatori-attivi/innovazione-digitale-nei-beni-e-attivita-culturali.
Comments are closed.