Regarding digital policy in the cultural sector, the Strategy for culture and national heritage 2016-2022 acknowledges the importance of the digital development in all the fields of culture and presents an in-depth analysis of the main evolutions and obstacles in this respect.
In terms of intangible cultural heritage protection, the Strategy recognizes the importance of imposing both a series of measures to increase the number of digitised moveable heritage resources and the encouragement of the access of private owners to the restoration and conservation of the moveable heritage, which may be costly sometimes.
The matter of digitisation was approached at national level as early as 2009, when Romania drew up and assumed a public policy in this field. However, the results of implementing these undertakings were delayed, especially due to underfunding. According to the National Strategy for the 2020 digital agenda, the end of 2015 should have marked the digitisation and publication of 750,000 resources within the European Digital Library. Until August 2016, only 7.6% of these resources were digitised and consequently the Ministry of Culture proposed the E-cultura project, which was going to be financed from non-refundable European funds; the project aims for the digitisation of 750,000 resources coming mainly from the field of moveable cultural heritage, until 2020.
Furthermore, the text of the Strategy encourages public cultural institutions to develop digital instruments with a view to increasing the access to and reusing the cultural assets owned by cultural institutions (particularly by museums, libraries, archives).
The Digital Agenda for Europe 2020 stipulates culture-related goals, such as an increased degree of digital literacy and the increase of digital inclusion and skills. One of the pillars of the Strategy regarding the digital single market for Europe (2015) is the improvement of consumers’ and enterprises’ access to digital goods and services across Europe. These goals are also found in Romania’s digital Agenda 2020, which sets several objectives related to the digitisation of the national cultural content. Besides, the National Strategy regarding Romania’s Agenda 2020 sets the following objectives: at least 80% coverage through broadband networks (with speeds over 30 Mbps); at least 60% of Romanians using the Internet regularly; at least 30% of Romanians making online purchases and at least 35% of Romanians using the e-government systems.
The IT structure is not yet clearly defined in Romania’s institutions, and the inter-operability degree is low; several cultural institutions separately own and manage different databases (INP, National Archives, national and university libraries). The existing databases have a significant degree of redundancy, their contents partially overlap and they are updated from different information sources and with different frequency because of the lack of documents that would formalise and standardise the information flow. These distortions occur as a consequence of the lack of adequate information transmission channels, the absence of a set of unitary norms and regulations, and the low degree of communication between the institutions involved. A large part of the digital cultural resources is registered within libraries, but the size of the collections belonging to the libraries varies depending on the type of library and, at local level, on the approved budget for its operation. The IT infrastructure and the digitisation projects within libraries differ depending on the budget of each library. The electronic resources purchased by libraries are reduced.
Nevertheless, in 2018, the E-cultura: Romania’s digital library project was launched under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, with the National Institute for Heritage as associated member. The value of the project amounts to 11.4 million euro, being funded through the Competitiveness Operational Program (COP) 2014-2020, Priority Axis 2, action 2.3.3.: Improving ICT infrastructure and digital content in the field of systemic e-education, e-inclusion, e-health and e-culture. The specific objectives of the E-cultura project are:
- Growth of the number of cultural heritage elements digitised and displayed online, in a single access point;
- Increase of the degree of inter-operability between the institutions that own elements of cultural heritage;
- Promotion of the national cultural heritage by displaying the digitised cultural resources in europeana.eu.