Markus Jobst

(Technische Universität Wien, Institut für Geoinformation und Kartographie, Austria)

An increasing number of digitising- and “3D virtual world” projects for cultural heritage are funded by various authorities at the moment (Austrian Federal Office, EU, etc.). The aim seems to be the creation of easy access to cultural heritage. Generally this purpose has to be supported in order to enable public awareness and thus the possibility for protecting cultural contents. The protection, monitoring and management of cultural sites and traditions needs substantial expense in time, finance and know-how.
One central question accompanies digitising projects for cultural heritage: Is the digitising step also an appropriate one for the sustainable access to cultural heritage? Wouldn´t it be better to invest expenses of digitising in the “analogue” conservation of cultural heritage (by aspects of landscapes, architecture, moveable objects)?
Open Source initiatives may provide a sustainable fundament for accessing digital cultural heritage. This assumption bases on the lasting availability of software, its support with newsgroups and the adaptability of formats and applications.
This contribution aims at the discussion of “sustainability” with Open Source technologies / initiatives. Which factors of Open Source may support sustainable access to cultural heritage, which may not? What can we understand by the notion “sustainable” in this context? Is there a sustainable digital heritage at all?

Aim: The contribution aims at the fundamental observation and categorisation of Open Source for the support of saving digital Cultural Heritage.

Method: Classification of Open Source characteristics depending on a “sustainable focus”. What is the advantage of Open Source for a long-term access and archive?

Result: With the resulting clearification and classification a more precise usage of software and creation of applications within Cultural Heritage management and Cartographic interactivity support should be promoted.

Keywords: open source, digital cultural heritage, sustainable