Consortium Project Description
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The concept of a European Digital Library cannot only be based on a technical framework enabling access to digital goods - there is also a need to introduce new ways of cooperation between different stakeholders (Cultural Organisations, Industries, Administrations, etc.) as well as to "re-engineer" traditional business processes in the light of globalisation and world wide markets. The main activities within a support environment for I(nternet) Markets comprise: Content Engineering, Platform Engineering, and Enterprise Engineering.
The REGNET - Cultural Heritage in REGional NETworks project - targets to all of the three areas. The project was introduced under the Action Line 'Access to digital collections of cultural and scientific content' of the European Union IST-Information Society Technologies Programme and 23 partners, cultural organisations (museums, libraries and archives) and IT-industry representatives, from 10 European Union states as well as Bulgaria and Russia are participating.

REGNET will set up a functional network of cultural service centres through Europe which will provide IT-services dedicated to cultural heritage organisations. A technical and legal framework, the REGNET system, for such a service infrastructure will be developed. This will offer services like data entry, search and retrieval, and e-Business. It will be based mainly on integration work using state-of-the-art components. The network will integrate multi-media industries, content providers and service centre operators. Existing cultural infrastructures will be exploited and new infrastructures should be developed where necessary.
The technical infrastructure should allow to set up even low cost service centres. The membership concept of the service centres will generate a critical mass of digital or physical goods contained in Content Provider's organisations.

The four players within the network are the content providers, the service centre operators, the system developers and the end users. The content providers (museums, libraries, archives etc.) will provide access (via wired and wireless communication) to their digital contents, services and products and offer them to their clients (B2C). In return they can use the REGNET facilities for multimedia productions and data base management, or cooperate with other REGNET partners during the creation of data bases, generation of multimedia products or creation of a virtual exhibition (B2B). The service centre operators will generate income by providing the technical infrastructure (software/hardware) to content providers and other partners within the REGNET network. They offer additional IT-services and consultancies. And the system developers are selling the REGNET system to other cultural service centres and content providers. They implement additional components for the REGNET software system (additional 'nodes' like an 'exhibition creator', etc), and will generate income via licence fees for the REGNET system. For the end user the system will offer easy and wide access to cultural heritage data information and the purchase of CH related goods and services at one point, with stress on the production of personalized goods (e.g. CDROM) and services.

The building blocks which constitute the REGNET-System are supporting access to cultural & scientific information as well as to product & service information offered by different organizations. The building blocks are outlined in the figure below. The REGNET-Portal enables entry of remote data, distributed search and e-business functions. The Cultural Heritage Data Management allows the search in distributed metadata repositories connected to data of cultural heritage content. The e-Business Data Management gives access to distributed goods and services catalogues via an e-business system. And the Ontology Checker contains specifications of metadata, terminologies etc. which are used in the e-business and cultural heritage field.

The REGNET Building BlocksFinally the Electronic Publisher allows the production of personalized digital products based on standardized metadata and work flows.
REGNET extends the traditional access facilities to distributed heterogeneous catalogues by integration of product and service catalogues managed by e-business systems. Because of the large REGNET consortium real world tests covering 6 European regions (a dozen states) are possible.
The project will observe and take into account the ongoing and recent work of CEN/ISSS (Electronic Commerce Workshop) but will also look into recent activities like RosettaNet, eCo-Framework, OBI, etc.
REGNET will evaluate a networked organisation model (comparable to the Art Museums Image Consortium/AMICO in the United States) and the integration possibilities of tools and systems for co-operative working

REGNET will also provide a unique facility to meta data definitions for both CH-related data and e-business related data via the search entry in the REGNET - Portal and the REGNET - Ontology subsystem. Here not only meta data related to objects is addressed, but also definitions of work flows, business processes, etc. are included which lead to the concept of Ontology within the Cultural Heritage domain. Within the project a data entry facility using WEB-browsers and adaptable to different needs within different domains (Museums, Library, Archives) will be established. This facility will support existing standards (ICOM/CIDOC, UNIMARC, ISAD(G), etc) and is configurable by the REGNET System user. At the e-Business level REGNET provides the generation of a customised shopping cart systems within the business to consumer (B2C) framework

It will be examined how next generation mobile networks can be exploited to widen the potentiality of WEB services in the field of Cultural Heritage. Appropriate gateway functions and interworking units will be envisaged to interface the REGNET architecture with the UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunication Systems) structure and ensure a seamless provisioning of REGNET services to mobile customers.

Already existing electronic catalogues (OPACS: Online Public Access Catalogues) referring to cultural & scientific objects contained in libraries, museums, archives, and galleries, as well as to goods and services will be used. Where there are no catalogues yet new catalogues will be developed in order to establish a 'virtual union' catalogue of all OPACS and product/service catalogues held locally.

In addition the work includes the outlining of necessary 'supply chains' and the connected business processes and functions to deliver digital and physical goods. All the business transactions on the B2B and B2C level (containing payment features, copyright systems, authentication control, etc) will be guided by a legal framework that will be worked out accordingly. The reorganisation of existing processes and introduction of computerised functions which make transactions for low money goods worth while (e.g. small copyright fees for digital images) is an essential part of the project.

The scenarios outlined below can be considered as a first reference to e-Business processes only.
Business to Consumer (B2C): Business to Business (B2B): Consumer to Consumer (C2C):
business 2 consumer business 2 business consumer 2 consumer


Electronic commerce, notably business to business e-commerce, is booming and world-wide e-commerce sales are expected to grow 40 times between 1998 and 2003 by which time they will become over 15% of all sales. The Internet and e-commerce are also leading to a surge in new company creation. The market for REGNET systems and services can to some extent be reckoned by the number of museums, libraries and archives in Europe. A rough estimation would deliver a potential number of 3.000 (15% of 20.000 museums) museum shops throughout Europe being candidates to be partner of the REGNET network!

The project is a Research and Development project with a Demonstration phase.

Duration: 24 Months
Budget: 5,038 Mio. EURO
Coordinator: AIT Angewandte Informationstechnik Forschungsgesellschaft mbH
Type: Research and Development Project with Demonstration Phase
Contribution: Cost Sharing (48,6% EU - 51,4% partners)
AIT Angewandte Informationstechnik Forschungsgesellschaft mbH (A) TARX nv (B) Zeus Consulting SA (GR)
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (A) Stad Mechelen - Stedelijke Musea Mechelen (B) Systema Informatics Ltd. (GR)
Salzburg Research Forschungs-gesellschaft mbH (A) Stichting Museon (Museum voor het Onderwijs) (NL) Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (GR)
Universität Wien (A) SPACE S.r.l. (I) VALTECH (F)
IMAC Information&Management Consulting e.K (D) Fratelli Alinari I.D.E.A. Spa (I) Terra Incognita Europa Limited (GB)
Stockholms Universitet (S) Consorzio Civita (I) Institute of Computer and Communication Systems (BUL)
Länsmuseet på Gotland (S) Motorola S.p.A. (I) Southern Ural State University (RU)
Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet (S) Ajuntament de Granollers (E)  
Kungl. Vetenskapsakademien, Royal Academy of Science (S) Instituto Andaluz de Tecnología (E)
  EUFunded by the European Commission
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