Mibac, open data for growth and competitiveness
Forum Pa 2012, the public administration policy forum (Rome, 16-19 May), was the launching pad for the communication campaign to encourage museums, libraries, and archives to adhere to the CulturaItalia portal, in order to publish data on Italy’s cultural heritage in Linked Open Data (LOD) format, which makes them interoperable and freely accessible to all, without copyright constraints. This initiative was unveiled during a convention titled “Digital cultural heritage as a common good: the initiatives coordinated by MiBAC to disseminate open data”, which featured the participation of the Secretary General of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities (MiBAC), Antonia Pasqua Recchia, and the Director of the Central Institute for the Union Catalogue of Italian Libraries (ICCU), Rossella Caffo. CulturaItalia’s new license, updated in keeping with Europeana’s Data Exchange Agreement, is a Creative Commons 0 open license for the re-use of data in Linked Open Data format.
The meeting, which focused on MiBAC’s commitment to open data, was enhanced by remarks by Carlo Meghini, director of the Institute for Information Science and Technology of the National Research Council and Europeana staff member; Mario Dal Co, general director of the Agency for Innovation; and Paola Mazzotti of the Internationalization, Culture, Tourism, Trade, and Promotional Activities Service of the Marche regional government, the first public administration to adhere to the new license. Additionally, the participants were able to view Europeana’s video on the launch of the communication campaign for Linked Open Data. The convention, which also focused on illustrating the mission of Europeana, the European digital library that pulls together digitized content from the institutions of the European Union’s member countries, described in detail the advantages of LOD and of the administrative activities implemented so far by MiBAC.
The architect Antonia Pasqua Recchia expressed her full confidence in the opportunities provided by this initiative: «We must make sure –MiBAC’s Secretary General said – that cultural heritage is not only an asset for our country’s economy, but also a driving force behind its technological development. At the moment – she added – we are designing tools to promote our heritage in light of the opportunities provided by Open Data and Europeana. So far we can count on territorial and geographic information systems such as the Atlas of Cultural Heritage, but we also aim to make open and public our data on administrative costs. Our intent – she concluded – is to ensure that this data can be used to spur economic growth and improve Italy’s competitiveness, while respecting the rights and peculiarities of databases».
The director of ICCU and head of CulturaItalia, Rossella Caffo, is on the same wavelength. «By the end of 2012 our contribution to Europeana will amount to almost four million data items. Over one and a half million contents have been sent. By June – she continued – the portal will host a section called MuseiD-Italia, which is a digital library shared with regional administrations and the ISTAT national statistics institutes and dedicated to the masterpieces held in Italy’s 7,500 museums and sites of cultural interest, open to the public and all under the Open Data license. In the meantime, we are currently continuing our efforts to encourage all of our partners to sign the license indicated by Europeana, so that the data made available by users can be fully exploited».