A Stockholm Challenge Award Finalist
Author: Aleksandra Imogen Ivir,
Culturelink WWW Editor and Administrator
Selected for its contribution in the global movement of building a better Information Society for all, in June 2001, the Culturelink WWW Resource Centre Project was announced as one of 15 finalists from among over 90 projects submitted to the Culture and Entertainment category of the Stockholm Challenge Award 2001. In all, a record total of 742 projects participated in the contest, classified in seven categories.
The Final Events and Prize-giving Ceremony of the Stockholm Challenge Award, at which Culturelink was represented, were held in Stockholm, Sweden, on 23-26 September 2001. In the growing category of Culture and Entertainment, two joint winners from Canada were pronounced: Museums & Millennium, a virtual collaboration of twelve museums from different parts of the world, and Historic City Centre - Old Montreal Website, an innovative tool offering multiple ways to organise and disseminate historical and heritage information, including a scientific heritage inventory.
Stockholm Challenge Award
Organized by the City of Stockholm Economic Development Agency and dubbed the 'Nobel Prize for the IT society', the Stockholm Challenge is a unique awards programme for pioneering IT projects world wide. It focuses on the positive effects of today's information society, and the benefit information and communication technology can bring to people and society.
The objective is to attract information technology projects from around the world to participate in a grand exposure of citizen oriented applications. The Challenge mission is to help people share knowledge and experience in the field of applied technology and to learn from the accomplishments of others. The programme wishes to create bonds and networks between people, projects and cities.
Technology itself is not the issue. Creativity and innovation as well as the desire to stimulate and share knowledge are some of the qualities of the Stockholm Challenge participants. The jury, a group of 31 international senior experts, base their evaluation on four basic criteria: innovation, user need, sustainability and transferability. The single most important criterion is how the project benefits people and society.
Culturelink WWW Resource Centre Project
Benefiting from modern technology to develop appropriate means of communication and speed up the flow of information on cultural development and cultural policies among its numerous members, the Culturelink Network has been accessible via the Internet's Gopher service since 1994, while the Culturelink WWW Project was set up with the establishment of the Network's first Home Page in 1996. A major revision of the pages' content and design was undertaken in 1998, and in 2001 the project was advanced into a WWW resource centre project, aiming to develop an information system which will serve as a resource centre, compiling and disseminating information on new concepts, research challenges, trends, experiences and practice in the field of cultural development.
The current information system accessible at http://www.culturelink.org/ thus offers free access from around the world to news about the Culturelink Network and its members, to reports about current and recently concluded research activities, to the Culturelink database system (Cultural Policy Database and Cultural Development Database), to the Network's various publications, including the electronic edition of the Culturelink review and the Culturelink Directory Series, and to announcements of current events and a collection of links to related sites. Complemented and updated on a daily basis, these services represent a unique source of information on UNESCO and the Council of Europe's Member States.
The Culturelink WWW information system compiles and disseminates relevant information to a wide community of professionals and the general public alike. The project is set up in a user-friendly manner, especially taking into account its users' needs and their level of technical equipment. Since its establishment, the number of regular users and visitors to Culturelink's WWW resource centre has been growing steadily. The around 2000 visitors a month currently generate up to 10000 page views.
Culturelink Multimedia Presentation
At the Stockholm Challenge Final Events, the Culturelink WWW Resource Centre Project was promoted at a one-day best practice exhibition open to the public, and through discussions the Network's work was introduced widely at an innovative seminar on the World Cafe day. For the event, a multimedia CD-ROM presentation was prepared, introducing the work of the Culturelink Network and its WWW information services, with a special emphasis on the use of information technology in the dissemination of information and the development of professional cooperation in the field of culture. The audience was informed about:
- the ideas, goals and the organizational model of the Culturelink Network,
- the concept and the implementation of the Culturelink WWW Resource Centre, as well as the dimension and the structure of the user's environment,
- the profile of the users, and access and usage statistics for individual information collections and services of the Resource Centre.
Accompanied with audio and voice recordings, the presentation was prepared in Microsoft PowerPoint format. In addition, a menu gives access to Culturelink documentation, an archived version of the Resource Centre, and utilities required for viewing the CD-ROM contents.