| "Internet trading communities and marketplaces with aggregated and customized catalogs, intermediary services such as auctions and reverse auctions, and information brokerage and syndication networks are all examples of Internet business models that combine or interconnect offerings or services from multiple businesses. The explosive and massively uncoordinated innovation in Internet technology and business models makes it an exciting time."
This statement from one of the world's leading organization working towards an interoperable framework in the world of e-commerce applies also to the field of Cultural Heritage.
A wide range of EU-funded projects has delivered exciting results in the field of digitisation of 'cultural goods' as well as in the development of interoperable systems providing access to distributed and heterogeneous public catalogues residing in museums, libraries, archives, and galleries or similar organisations. But the concept of a 'European Digital Library' cannot be only 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 'reengineer' traditional business processes in the light of globalisation and world wide markets.
The building blocks of the REGNET system consist of:
REGNET - Portal
(access to remote data entry, distributed search, e-business)
REGNET - Cultural Heritage Data Management
REGNET - eBusiness Data Management
(search over distributed meta data repositories connected to stores containing digital content)
(e-commerce system allowing access to distributed product/service catalogues)
REGNET - Ontology (Metadata) Subsystem
(containing the specifications of all metadata needed in the Cultural Heritage domain as well as in the e-business domain; this subsystem also stores specifications of workflows and process related metadata)
REGNET - Electronic Publishing Subsystem
(allowing the production of personalised digital products based on standardised meta data and workflows)
The project's development did cover the following areas :
- Digitization of 2- and 3-dimensional objects using data capturing systems already on the market
- Use of Dublin Core Metadata to enable Cross Domain searches within the 'virtual union' catalogue (generation via an available Metadata Editor or Harvester)
- Use of documentation standards in the different domains (UNIMARC, CIDOC, ISAD(G), ...)
- Use or modification of existing Document Type Definitions (XML-DTDs) to describe objects and collections (eg. AMICO, or CIMI-based) as well as products
- Storage of XML (Extensible Markup Language) structured data in data bases at the content provider's site
- Development of Stylesheets (XSL) for data presentation in online or printed form (eg. dedicated and personalized catalogues)
- Implementation of a B2B-commerce system based on XML-data transfer, following existing and emerging standards as specified by the ebXML community.
- Implementation of a B2C-commerce system including an 'internet auction' system
- Integration of a distributed search and retrieval (S&R) component based on Z39.50 standard or similar methodologies based on XML and http protocol, for accessing distributed Cultural Heritage related catalogues as well as product/Service catalogues in the eBusiness environment.
- Integration of a customer management system based on relational data base management supoorting customer relationships.
- Use of an appropriate integration environment for all the middleware components (B2B, B2C, S&R, RDBMS. Metadata Management, …)
- Usage of Open Software Standards and Software available preferable in the public domain (eg. LINUX)
- Usage of low cost hardware
- Integration of WAP access to the REGNET System
- Definition of Core Processes for REGNET, comprising:
1) access and data entry to distributed catalogues,
2) a shopping cart system,
3) creation of a personalized catalogue based on retrieved data from the 'virtual catalogue' (in printed and electronic form),
4) an auction system (eg. duplicates of posters),
5) a delivery system for physical goods (eg. goods from museum stores)
- Use of XML/EDI (eg: Simple-eCo Elements like: Order, Invoice, Despatch, Report, ...) for exchange of business data (based on ebXML recommendations)
- Definition of the workflow connected with the creation of a electronic publication (eg.: storyboard development, content management, compilation of data, production, delivery) as reference model for electronic publishing
- Definition of appropriate 'business profiles' evolved from different functions and processes (eg: 'content manager') for the involved personnel.