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MICHAEL and the Italian Culture Portal: A Cooperation Model among National, Regional, and Local Institutions

Under the impulse given by the MINERVA project, the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities started up a wide range of national digitisation initiatives; the main current initiatives are the implementation of the Italian interface of the MICHAEL service and the Italian Culture Portal.
The need to cover the whole territory and involve both national and small cultural institutions led the Ministry to organise the work of both initiatives in a coordinated way and decentralized basis, involving the territorial offices of the Ministry itself, the Italian regions, the universities through their national coordination and the Ministry of Education. All of these institutions were called to find out and produce digital content that will be made available for both services, MICHAEL and the Culture Portal. MICHAEL and the Italian Culture Portal are integrated initiatives since they share the same standards; MICHAEL describes the digital collections, while the Portal the single items. The access point is unique. Both cover all the cultural sectors: libraries, museums, archives, as well as broadcasting (RAI) and audiovisual (Archivio Luce).
The data gathered by MICHAEL highlighted many unknown digital resources, and most of them are being taken into consideration for the Italian Culture Portal.
The integrated approach allowed the Ministry to cover all the cultural fields and the whole national territory, so to give a concrete contribution to the implementation of the European Digital Library since the digital content produced and published are based on open international standards.
The cultural institutions are receiving benefits too: the cooperation at national level allows them to reach wider audiences, promote their work and the access to their collections and digital content.

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