The last few months have seen some fabulous Scottish digital cultural heritage projects emerge and develop. Here’s a quick overview of some of my favourites:
St Kilda Remothe Access centre
St. Kilda has dual UNESCO World Heritage Site status, but is geographically really tricky to get to (66km E of the rest of the Outer Hebrides in the Atlantic Ocean). Encouraging large visitor numbers is neither feasible or desireable, so The St Kilda World Heritage Site Remote Access Centre will be built nr Uig on Lewis, where St Kilda can be viewed on days with favourable conditions! Digital technologies will be key to the Centre achieving its aims. New Media Scotland’s current exhibition at Inspace #Beholder interprets the experience of St Kilda using various new tecnologies, exploring the possibilities of digital technologies to achieve this. A new smartphone app is also being created.
The Scottish Ten
The Scottish Ten (a groundbreaking international 3D scanning project to digitally document Scotland’s five World Heritage Sites and five international ones) team are travelling to China next week to sign contracts with the Chinese government to enable the project to document the Eastern Qing Tombs. Check out the fabulous resources available already: created from using cutting edge technology to create access to and records of places of significant cultural interest. The project proves for me that quality 3D experiences can give better access to some elements of a unique site than can be provided in real life (want to fly over the rooves of the houses of St Kilda to take a look at the roofing? You can with this resource, you couldn’t without a helicopter on St Kilda!) The project is led by ‘The Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation LLP’ – a new collaborative organisation set up by Historic Scotland, Glasgow School of Art and CyArk, so investment in building those relationships cross-discipline and sector really adding value to this project.
Now eighteen months old, Museums & Galleries Scotland <a Remembering Scotland At War’s Online Museum and social network is now well populated and active.
Remembering Scotland At War is a fantastic opportunity to ensure that the memories of war are never forgotten. At the core of Remembering Scotland At War is the creation of over 200 online exhibitions focussed on the themes of World War II and subsequent conflicts. It is both a pioneering online museum and a social network particularly aimed at ‘capturing memories’. It has been developed by Museums Galleries Scotland to showcase and encourage personal accounts from civilians, younger and older veterans, and currently serving military of how conflict has affected them. The fascinating exhibitions provide an insight into the incidents, locations, people and themes of war. Each rich media exhibition has a collection of associated items, including oral histories, diary extracts, newspaper articles, old photographs, archive film, documents, paintings, and photographed objects.
British Newspaper Archive
The next few days sees the online launch of a fabulous data archive owned by the British Library – more than 1 million pages of pre-1900 newspapers will be available at launch, building to 4 million digitised pages over the next 2 years at Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk (the data is hosted in Scotland!). A brilliant way to increase access to a great treasure trove of material that previously needed the microfiche machines locked in libraries to read!
Funding Scotland and Angel Shares Scotland
Although not content projects, these new sites will be essential to ensuring the future of digital cultural content projects A couple of great new Scottish websites to help with fundraising have emerged too – fundingscotland.com provides grants and funding information and opportunities for charities, community groups and businesses around Scotland. Angelshares have launched a Scotland specific website, providing a crowdfunding platform for arts and cultural organisations with a difference – the website enables gift aid donations to be included, and lets projects collect the funds raised even when a target hasn’t been completely reached.